On a quiet highway drive from Boone to Winston-Salem, North Carolina, my beloved has taken a snooze in the passenger seat, leaving me in the company of myself. Highway driving on a nice sunny day can be tranquility itself. The real adventure, and destination, becomes the unbroken sound of internal silence. Somehow, the combination of the act of driving and the surround sound experience of favorite musical selections, ends up serving as a most accurate compass to silence — the eternal, changeless home. The road ahead becomes an open invitation. The road behind is forgotten, as quickly as it had appeared, suspending the sense of a personal identity operating in finite time and space, separate from everything else. I am one with a network of metal, rubber, leather, wires, musical notes and words…
A sudden downpour comes as a grand surprise. Unceremoniously ripped away from my jaunt in cosmic union, I now confront the daunting challenge of traversing a rain soaked afternoon…inside a speeding contraption of metal, rubber, leather, wires, while a jumble of musical notes and words plays in the background. As my grip on the steering wheel tightens, I become aware of my growing intimacy with the brakes and accelerator. Functions that had become so routine, so second nature, suddenly transform into quasi novel activities. My attention fervently scurries between the flurry of traffic activity behind me, and the wet cement in front rushing towards me. The past and future suddenly take on more significance…they now appear to be real.
In my moment of naked vulnerability, it dawns upon me that I do have a few friends on my side. My windshield wipers seem to have suddenly woken up from hibernation and have instantly gone into action. As my attention continues to be lured by these unassuming heroes, I am awed by the consummate ease with which they handle the incessant hordes of water molecules zooming towards us. Wondering when this titanic battle would find its conclusion, I drive under a bridge, to be greeted by a different reality. The sound of rainfall, pummeling my car and the cement all around me, comes to a sudden halt. The forceful gathering of little water droplets on the windshield suddenly disperses. The silence that I had so quickly retreated from, only to see it replaced by pangs of anxiety, shows itself again as the flawless background of my being. I am awake from my rainfall dream for a second, which is all it takes to taste the delights of the eternal, only to be plunged back, a moment later, into the torrential commotion.
As I continue my drive, I find myself surrendering to the changing events, becoming comfortable with the rain, not caring if and when it ends. I stop engaging in the frivolous activity of jumping in time, to look forward to when the roads might be dry and when the clouds might be replaced by a clear sky. I revel in my silence that has never relied on the swinging pendulum of circumstances. Only playing witness to the endless dance of appearance and disappearance, I ponder a few questions. How many times have I fallen asleep? How many times have I found myself believing in the realness of my dreams? How many times have I forgotten my silence? How many times have I awakened to embrace my silence again, laughing wholeheartedly at my rainfall dreams?