a glimpse

Most often when I think of a glimpse, I mean a momentary view. But the word can also mean a vague idea, or an inkling. An archaic meaning is a gleam, or a flash or trace of light. All three of these meanings point to the kind of glimpse I speak of here. Sometimes an awareness just tickles at the edge or the margin of my awareness, like the feeling of a word on the tip of my tongue. I don’t know it, I know I know it, the perfume of it is there, and yet…. This can be frustrating, or simply mysterious.

One night a couple of years ago, I was sitting in the hot tub alone, basking in the combination of sumptuous hot water and the cool snap of the midnight autumn air. Nothing changed and everything changed: “Amrita” was set aside, and something huge and impersonal saw through my eyes, noticing everything without comment, without reaction—fully dispassionate. At that moment I understood that these are not, in fact, “my” eyes at all. There is no ownership. These eyes belong to That-that-sees-through.

How long did this last? I don’t really know—thirty seconds, two minutes? It doesn’t matter. Timeless. Life-changing. This is what I mean by a glimpse. A trace of light.

The mind is humorous. It believed that if I returned to the hot tub at just the right time, or in the right attitude, or if the temperatures were just the same, that I could repeat the experience. But there is no repeating a glimpse. The best we can do is be fully present with it, and then with just as much presence, meet the next moment. And then the next. Once the glimpses begin, and we acknowledge them and set them free, they will unexpectedly grace us.

© Skye Blaine, 2011

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