The grinding of a landscaper’s wood chipper conjures images of horror movies in Carl’s mind as he attempts to do a morning meditation.

Everyone who meditates can appreciate how distraction seeps in to destroy the moment. Enjoy the story.

A Meditation Lost

Bob Gillen

Carl sits in the center of his living room in the early morning hours. Sun streams in through the east-facing patio sliders. He feels the warmth on his bare feet. Enjoys the light splashing over the floor and furniture. Appreciates the early silence.

He closes his eyes, takes five slow breaths. Inhale. Exhale. Carl breathes in the vanilla-scented candle burning at his side.

Becoming aware of his body, he starts at the head, the eyes, the jaw and neck. He feels tension there. Always tension in the jaw. He tries to release it. Not happening. Not yet.

Carl extends his awareness down through his torso. He pauses to acknowledge his heart. His constant companion. He calls on his heart for an attitude of openness and gratitude. He directs his awareness down until he can sense his feet planted firmly on the floor. More deep breaths. A feeling of warmth and openness quivers within him.

A loud droning pulls him out of the moment. From the upstairs condo unit a vacuum cleaner starts up. Grinding, sliding back and forth, back and forth. He tries to acknowledge the sound, be aware without judgement, without distraction. But he feels warmth and openness seeping out of him. 

Carl hangs in, calls on loving kindness, until the vacuum motor finally turns off. Silence again. He focuses on his breath once more. Inhale. Exhale.

Moments later another whining noise jolts him, this one off in the distance, yet stronger, louder, than the vacuum cleaner. The sound of a landscaper’s chain saw. Tree trimers. A wood chipper joins the noise. Chattering as the machine grinds leaves and branches.

Carl struggles to envision a peaceful place. A walk on a deserted beach. His feet nestled in the warm sand. A gentle breeze caressing his face. Anything to move his mind beyond the wood chipper sound. He focuses on his breath. Inhale. Exhale. 

Carl’s mind wanders. The chipper’s grinding conjures up images of horror movies. Victims tossed into chippers. Piercing screams. Bodies torn apart. Blood spraying everywhere.

Carl opens his eyes. One long deep breath. So much for meditating today.