The Secret Contemplative

Sandra and Maya had been together a number of years.

Alongside the good times, (and there had been good times,) things had been rocky as well.

Their two sets of friends didn’t get along, which caused discomfort and arguments.

And then they split for a while, nasty things were said, reactive stuff – and then they got back together, they’d try again.

But it didn’t work out.

Sandra moved out of their flat, she liked to lead, which, for Maya, meant another awful end – because she couldn’t afford the rent by herself.

So Maya lost her partner and her home – the leaving of which was so difficult, the space held their memories after all.

The moving day was the worst and she sunk into what she called ‘a very dark place, so dark, zero hope – nothing.’

The nastiness between them started again mainly by text.

And there was terrible pain when she saw photos of Sandra on holiday enjoying herself with someone else.

Maya’s friends told her she was well out of it. They said she’d disappeared in the relationship, stopped being herself in Sandra’s thrall.

‘We’ve got Maya back!’ they said.

But Maya couldn’t hear these things. She knew only that she wasn’t with Sandra anymore, so nothing could be right.

She laid a brutal template on her life, which said: ‘With Sandra good, without Sandra bad.’

So no day could be happy, no relationship fun, no evening peaceful.

And how she cried – sometimes gasping for breath and with energy for nothing.

Until climbing a hill one miserable day, she reached the top. And as the sun set on the horizon, something changed.

Maya knew everything was well here and now.

It was the last thing she expected…’totally the last thing!’

But in an instant, she stopped judging her world by her old template. It was as if her comparisons dissolved, her old template melted.

When I saw her shortly after, I knew from her demeanour something had changed; but never imagined what.

‘It was lasted for about thirty six hours,’ she said. ‘Unbe-fuckin-lievable.’

Maya isn’t a nun. She would never call herself a contemplative. She may not even know the word.

But on that hill, she’d lived the contemplative experience profoundly. Beholding her world without judgement, without comparison, she somehow engaged with another reality.

And in the best possible way, though time has passed, she has never recovered from that experience.

Life has its challenges, it always does. New questions are always asked of us. But it is different for her now, so different.

She is the secret contemplative, (so secretive even she doesn’t know) who on some ordinary hill in Kent, had an extraordinary experience, found her templates dissolving –

and a present that appeared only good.

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