Thursday, April 22, 2021
“There was only going to be
just so many hours
Once we had landed at the dock, my newfound contentment was still very apparent, as I had no real desire to do anything. I clearly was under an island spell. Good think my traveling companion had some idea of what to do next, "Want to go over there and see that tree? It's huge!" To which I replied, "Sure, lesgo!" And no, I wasn't so mellow that I was slurring. As it turns out, I was speaking the lingo for, 'let's go', which I must have picked up by osmosis at the last island.
In what the residents called, Courthouse Square, was apparently one of America's, single, most one of a kind, banyan trees. First of all, it was huge. It stood approx. 60 feet tall and branched our an entire city block.  Wow! As a whole, it was hard to take in its entire physicality. Secondly, the air beneath this fig tree was not only cool and fresh, from the shade of its glossy green leaves, but it was also giving off an unusual sensation. No matter where I stood under it, I was experiencing some sort of effect. The only way I could describe it was, when I held out my hand, 'peace' felt like it was falling into it as gently as snow falling from a night sky on a winter's ever. I wondered to myself, "Is this what heaven felt like?" Such an extraordinary sense of safety and tranquility within its presence. No wonder the Buddha had chosen a tree like this to meditated his way into enlightenment. However, in-spite of its uniqueness, I also understood that this exact tree would not have been perfect for an extensive meditation that day. There were far too many busy bodies under this natural wonder to capture a still photograph, let alone sit still long enough to have the mind transcend into the world of Nirvana.
Now knowing that Maui definitely showed the potential for illumination, I wondered if the island contained yet another noticeable 'presence'. If I could just find it, I would be able to capture the location with my camera, print a tangible impression of it, and fulfill what every artist desires: to express the inexpressible. This would be a souvenir to treasure! So, with a heart full of promise, I was off to explore the rest of the day and hopefully discover another spot of sublime potential.
It didn't take long to realize that the path we were on, Front Street, was going to grab my attention and slow us down in more ways than one. There was everything to indulge in: from restaurants called 'Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.', to jewelry stores with displays full of precious Hawaiian black coral, to art galleries containing the local photographers' seascapes showing humpback whales breaching. The ego had definitely made its presence know, and if memory had served me right, when I resisted temptations in the past, under similar circumstances, some bazaar cosmic interference would occur and stall me even further. So, in order to appease it, I happily devoured some chocolate coated macadamia nuts and bought a plumeria flower for wearing over my ear. Getting past these worldly distractions and on to attaining my next photographic treasure as soon as possible was imperative, because in the short hours that lay ahead, I had a cruise ship destined for Honolulu to catch. They sailed on time, regardless if you're captured in a 'divine' island moment or not.
Finding the picture of peace
was going to be…
Why hadn't I seen this that day in Maui? Well, it was probably for the same reason most of us don't see the peace we're looking for. Many of us have been so conditioned to believe that its the effects of the physical world that affects us – bring us our frustration or our joys. I had quite a few built up perceptions I carried around that island: the Hawaiian magnetism had calmed my nerves, a banyan tree had played a role in the Buddha's enlightenment, a busy street and a sailing schedule had causing me to feel stress, etc... But, the fact of the matter is, those are just outside barriers blocking me from going inward to see the real cause. They were disempowering me from seeing peace in a whole different 'light'. It was 'in' me all along, I just could see it until I let my misperceptions go, then I could see the re-presentation of a moment on the pacific. The Buddha got it, "Peace comes from within. "Do not seek it without."  Guess that's why he's an Awakened One and I'm still asleep. However, thanks to this experience, I'm not a little more awaken too. I'll leave you with my personal thought that played over and over in my head during the processing of this image, "In the middle of it all, I will see through to light."
Black and white image of a sailboat off the shores of Maui, Hawaii
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