The invite had been brief but specific. A time and a set of two letters and six numbers written on a card – nothing else, except that the card’s hand-written lettering looked slightly smudged, as though water had been spilled on it. In a world where nothing was accidental, it might be important, or, knowing them, it might be humour . . .
Fortunately, I knew the format of the Ordnance Survey’s map grid system and quickly found the place on the local walker’s map. Surprisingly, it was quite close to where we lived. Knowing the terrain, I put on my walking jacket and strong boots, and left on foot.
There was no-one there when I arrived. I stood on the sunken limestone plateau, hidden from the road by the dense forest, and scanned the level surface which forms an entrance to the local gorge and white water descent – popular, in the Summertime, with canoeists. The limestone here is permanently wet from the spray of the turgid river and makes a treacherous walking surface.
Knowing that time was a relative thing within Don Pedro’s circle, I waited and simply became present to the now, expecting nothing, making no judgements and resisting the mind’s urge to see the present through the lenses of the past – the hardest thing of all.
The first I knew of their arrival was when the golden fur of Pedro the Pomeranian brushed around my ankles. He hadn’t made his usual “Oif” sound, as though respecting my meditative state. I stood deliberately still, feeling for the edge of the now, the point of interaction between expectation and the truth, and letting Don Pedro enter this arena in his own way.
The voice came from behind me.
“Good!” it said, softly. “Strong presence.”
Nothing more. There was an unspoken prompt in the voice behind me that contained the thought that the exercise would be better if I continued to look at the river and just listened. It was such a simple thing, but one we seldom encounter in our lives. I was in a rocky woodland glade, by a fast-flowing river, with a warm and golden animal around my ankles and simply listening to an apparently discarnate, calm voice.
“You see flow pass you?” the voice asked, gently.
I nodded, not wanting to break the spell. I looked at the churning green and white water, boiling its way down the chasm of algae-darkened white rock.
“River like time,” continued the voice. “Flow must be seen in many ways to get whole picture . . .”
I could hear the mirth in his mind before he spoke again. “You could jump in – though cold today!” The chuckle was pure Don Pedro at his most mischievous. “Perhaps Summer we come back?”
I smiled but said nothing. The whole situation had a flow of its own and I did not want to be the one that broke that.
“Cold man in water,” he continued. “What he see?”
I thought about it carefully. I didn’t want to give the same kind of answer I would have given a year ago. I let the inner moment take the words, gently shepherding them before they solidified in my mind, removing all sense of judgement. Even if they emerged sounding naive and stupid, it didn’t matter; they would be nearer to the truth that way.
“He would see the immediate churning, but he would be a part of that. Mostly he would see the high contrast of river bank moving past him – even though it would be himself that was moving, not the bank.”
There was a silence then, as if my very words contained a calibration of how well I was beginning to see the world they lived in – a world now partly shared, after the vivid experience on the forested hilltop.
“So, we only see what changes?” I added, grasping my realisation.
“Yes.” The gruff voice was approving, but said nothing more.
“Infinite unchanging not seen . . . yet.” He just let the words hang in the air.
Then I heard a crack and part of an old branch flew past my right ear to land in the flow of the river. I watched it become part of that liquid medium and be carried past me. There came another crack and a second, identical twig narrowly missed me and landed in the churning waters. Now I could see both the first and the second. These were followed by twigs three and four, at the same intervals, with the first being just visible, now downstream, headed for the white water where the river dropped a man’s height in a hundred metres.
“Marks in the water – just objects superimposed on something much more real . . . time?” I whispered.
It must have been a good response. Pedro uncoiled himself from my sheltered shins and I heard footsteps departing behind me. I knew that it was important to stay silent and aware, to let the encounter end in a way that would digest the experience.
Some time later, I climbed the path back to the narrow road. The experience had raised as many questions as it had answered, but I was smiling . . .
Coffee with Don Pedro is usually published on Thursdays. The previous episodes, some of which are labelled ‘The Beast in the Cafe’ are in the blogs. You can follow the enigmatic trail by clicking on this link.
All images and text ©International copyright, The Silent Eye School of Consciousness, 2015.
Contact details and an outline description are on the other pages of this blog and via the website at www.thesilenteye.co.uk