Sunday, 14 September 2014

Am I Born Again?

...and you were beautiful
innocent young though you were fat and clumsy
too but you were you and you treasured the nosegay - Gerald Stein

This morning my daily meditation took place on a bench under the sun in London Fields. I sat out of the shadows, facing a tree. I closed my eyes and focused my breath. Allowing myself to be present, feeling the bench planks hold my weight.

After twenty minutes of meditation I open my eyes to see a black boy, about ten years old, in a tuxedo suit, holding a leaflet that read "Are You Born Again?"

I sat still in a kind of semi-zen fuzz, the sunlight gathering the day into focus, "this is for you" said Tuxedo Boy, and I took it, and thanked him as he skipped away, happy to have something to offer the world. I was left alone with the leaflet’s question, Are You Born Again?

Well, firstly, I'm not religious, so my usual mind would be to ignore the leaflet and assume someone has told Tuxedo Boy to place the leaflet in front of my closed eyes and wait for them to open on a staged epiphany. But meditation pushes the mind beyond the horizon of assumptions, so I made space for the question... Am I Born Again? 


A few years ago my mum showed me my school report cards from primary school that read “Raymond finds it hard to focus. His reading and writing are below what’s expected of his age. He seems more interested in what’s happening outside the window than what’s in the classroom”.

I still recognise my "outside-the-window-thoughts", and it’s a shame for this to be picked up in a learning environment as a criticism. I was also partly deaf and this wasn’t picked up yet, but the signs weren't sounded out for traditional teachers. The truth is, I was in the wrong place for development because my teachers, instead of assessing their own practise, blamed me for not tuning into their classroom expectations.

When I think about myself as a child in that class, I don’t feel I have out-grown him completely. The person I am today is not “born again” if that means a death of a previous self has occurred. My growth as a person has all been gardened in the same bed of earth. Reading my report card, I feel proud that I was able to express something that is still aligned with my true self. Therefore, I am not "born again", rather, I have been born as I am, and have been taught to stay open to change, growth and transformation.

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