Silent John

Silent John, backsliding after a stint in a Buddhist monastery, lit another cigarette and inhaled deeply. His eyes burned from the smoke, and nothing seemed quite right. The knot in his stomach told him the six White Castles he’d gobbled down were in heated negotiations with his digestive tract, which was accustomed to a strict vegetarian diet. Right now the tract seemed to have all its cards on the table.

“Gonna regret that one,” he thought. He monitored the discomfort with the dispassion of a veteran meditator, acknowledging it but not identifying with it. “TRY not to identify with it,” he thought, acknowledging this second thought as he contemplated the growing ash on his cigarette. Trying itself was a false approach, presuming a goal and a path, not the eternal state of present Being in which the true Self can awaken. “Yeah, whatever. I feel like shit,” he said aloud. The admission lightened his mood a bit and he chuckled, feeling a degree of inner relief after months of privation. He thought back to the events that had led him to the monastery in the first place, and the reasons he’d left three years later.

“Another Pacifico, please,” he said, laying a couple of dollars on the bar.

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