As the group moves through the site, I keep thinking of the people just arrested outside the Forbidden City. They were arrested for meditating. Actually, they were arrested for being members of a group deemed a "cult" by the Chinese government, as most religions have been. ...How odd that people can be arrested for meditating. And yet it's something that Buddhists and Christians and people of other religions and no religions do. This is something else I need to erase from my mind when I breathe deeply and relax into meditation.
Just yesterday I meditated in the shadow of the Great Wall of China, and today I will do so within the walls of the Forbidden City. I will practice with a delicious sense of subversion, knowing that no one can stop me, and in a spirit of solidarity with those just arrested. I do not close my eyes as I usually do, to remain unobtrusive, and yet a young man in military uniform stops talking with his comrades and watches me as I stand away from the group, looking out over the courtyard. Something about me has alerted his attention, but as I am doing nothing that can be deemed inappropriate, he loses interest and begins talking again with his friends.
As my breath slows and my focus of attention shifts from the outer world to the inner world, I can still see everything that surrounds me, but also, at the same time, can see with my inner vision. Never before have I experienced this, to be fully aware of the external world simultaneously, without effort. Perhaps it is this place, I think, this void, that produces a type of heightened perception...
Forever Lily: An Unexpected Mother's Journey to Adoption in China ~ by Beth Nonte Russell, 2007, memoir (China)
Steeped in Chinese culture, Forever Lily is an extraordinary account of a life-changing, wholly unexpected love.