The Teacher’s Connection by T.D. Edge
Sunlight flickered through the rippling leaves of the trees bordering the river. William tried to open its mute wisdom with his mind but couldn’t probe past the lively, quickly dying shards of light.
The Teacher had had a breakthrough: a point when everything and nothing fused together in his being, when he not only believed we all come from the same source, he knew it.
Here, in lush green Hampshire, the beautiful lawns, trees, river, wild flowers, all seemed to caress the yellow brick house and sky-dappled glass conservatories, no separation existing between nature and the meditation spaces, the private rooms, even the refectory.
Although born in a Delhi slum, the Teacher had died here, twenty-four years ago and, while he taught that the concept of ‘soul’ mostly served only as an excuse for people to not keep trying to connect to higher understanding, surely something of his spiritual resonance still bound this place together.
William closed his eyes, sighed and once again fought the battle that the Teacher had so wisely highlighted as the fundamental dichotomy of the human will: should I push on or just try something else?
He smiled at himself as he once more turned his back on the effort to penetrate nature, to seek the mind behind it. The lushness of the lawn he crossed toward the house buoyed his unscarred feet. Egyptian hemp curtains flapped in the warm summer breeze at the open entrance to the reading conservatory. He breathed deeply on the dark-green air from the potted plants as he walked over the warm, earth-brown tiles toward the refectory.
Inside the large, airy room, the aroma of spices and cooking oils made his stomach rumble: another easy diversion from the battle. He stood in line with other non-following followers, pleased enough to be eating macrobiotic brown rice and vegetables, aware nonetheless of the rebellious desire for steak and fries that whispered in his stomach’s ear after five days at the retreat.
Once again, he noticed all the grey hair, the spectacles and nondescript faces. That and the quiet surroundings reminded him of his father’s care home.
He took his tray to the thick wood tables, looking around for people he knew a little, deciding he should make the effort to communicate for once, not just hide in a book.
At the end of a table, on her own, someone new, obvious by her gaze flicking constantly from her plate to the other people, hoping but also dreading someone more experienced in here would sit with her. He nearly didn’t, for her large green, curious eyes, long black hair and the challenge of her youth triggered his habit of not wanting to try. But this time, perhaps the frustration of the mocking silver on the river steered him to the bench opposite her.
“Do you mind if I join you?” he said.
“No, please do.”
Her accent was middle-class, educated, expressive. She wore a blue silk shirt, small silver studs in her ears; freckled hands not quite relaxed at the sides of her plate.
“I’m Bill,” he said, sitting.
“Rebecca — Becca, actually.”
She blushed, probably thinking she talked too fast. He noticed she’d put knife and fork together on her plate, only half the food eaten.
“Just arrived?” he said.
“God, is it that obvious? I feel like my first day at boarding school, sort of clumsy and stupid.”
“What was boarding school like?”
She held his gaze for the first time. “You really want to know?”
‘Til Death Do Us Party
Call for Help
What Pavel Found
The Girl in the Glass Case
The Teacher’s Connection
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