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October 2018, vol 14 no 3

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Maeve O'Sullivan


There is a young man outside the building behind the one we sit in. He has plugged in an amplifier, a microphone and a CD-player and is practising songs with a guitar, karaoke-style. His voice is out of tune and heavily-accented. My mean self-wishes he didn’t feel the need to use an amp as he belts out The Hills of Donegal, Dirty Old Town and The Bog Down in the Valley O. My compassionate self-wonders if he has taken refuge from some awful regime where singing and playing guitar are at best a luxury, at worst outlawed. My mean self yearns for him to take his amateur hour inside – the whole kit and caboodle – as we sit in meditation practice, trying to hear our thoughts arising, and the silence after they dissolve. My compassionate self tells me that, like us, this man wants to be happy. He is just engaging in creative self-expression, as I am when I set these words down here. Perhaps we could use his songs as supports, not distractions, and simply surrender to the present.

the music of this being:
its noisy syllables
sounding a mantra