You’re driving home and suddenly other drivers are speeding by, passing on the shoulder, going through red lights. And you know something bad has happened.

You hurry in and turn on the TV. Now you are sure that something’s wrong. Without hearing a word, one glance at the newscasters face tells it all – she is scared to death.

And unexpectedly, you feel an inexplicable exuberance. Suddenly, all of your petty problems that you have been agonizing over all day, all month, all year, are gone. There is just this moment in time, an eerie silence, so pregnant with anticipation. So vital, so crucial, so alive. You are finally living for the first time in years, and in a strange way you become free. A sexual-like climax that sets your soul at rest.

Your mind catches the faint sound of the commentator’s voice, as if she’s far away . . .

” . . . sporadic reports and videos coming in from cell phones across Iran confirm mass casualties and damage with descriptions of nuclear type blasts with customary mushroom clouds. Israel has made no formal statement, but indications are that Israel has not only crippled Iran’s nuclear capabilities, but has effectively destroyed the country. The President is scheduled to . . .”

With your eyes glued to the screen, you back into your chair. Your mind is blank. No thoughts. Only complete attention to the commentator. But her words somehow drift away. Everything is heightened, it’s all so vivid; no spin, no hype. The mind somehow knows intuitively that this is it. And it’s so exciting. You seem to be floating in a surreal ambiance that is almost imaginary.

It’s three o’clock in the morning and you haven’t eaten, still mesmerized, caught in the web of images on the screen.

“We have breaking news. Nuclear blasts have been reported in Israel. This has not been confirmed, however . . .”

You can feel the adrenalin coursing through your veins, the tickle in the pit of your stomach, as your mind becomes overwhelmed by the possibilities, and tries to cope with what is happening.

4:00 am.

“This just in – the first family and members of congress have reportedly left Washington and are on their way to an undisclosed location. We cannot confirm this but indications . . .”

Now the chills begin up and down your spine, the excitement that was so pleasurable just a few hours ago now begins turning to stark terror.

4:45 am.

“We have unconfirmed reports of ballistic missile launches in Kansas. Residents of Ellsworth say that a tremendous noise awakened them and they saw what was believed to be ICBMs lifting from the prairie. . . .May God help us all. . . . I’m sorry.”

The commentator begins sobbing as a cameraman helps her off the set.

You try to call your mom, but all the lines are tied up. Your cat jumps in your lap. You stroke her head. You wait. The TV screen goes blank.

You look around at your things. The bookcase full of memories. The silly glass boot you bought in Arizona. The precious photos, framing a life that passed so swiftly.

You glance out the window. It’s so quiet outside. Nothing moving.

A flash of light. Far away but as bright as the sun. So beautiful. The cat is now sleeping on your lap, purring. . . . It’s so peaceful now.

E. Raymond Rock (anagarika addie) is a meditation teacher at: and author of “A Year to Enlightenment:

His 30 years of meditation experience has taken him across four continents including two stopovers in Thailand where he practiced in the remote northeast forests as an ordained Theravada Buddhist monk.

He lived at Wat Pah Nanachat under Ajahn Chah, at Wat Pah Baan Taad under Ajahn Maha Boowa, and at Wat Pah Daan Wi Weg under Ajahn Tui. He had been a postulant at Shasta Abbey, a Zen Buddhist monastery in northern California under Roshi Kennett; and a Theravada Buddhist anagarika at both Amaravati Monastery in the UK and Bodhinyanarama Monastery in New Zealand, both under Ajahn Sumedho. The author has meditated with the Korean Master Sueng Sahn Sunim; with Bhante Gunaratana at the Bhavana Society in West Virginia; and with the Tibetan Master Trungpa Rinpoche in Boulder, Colorado. He has also practiced at the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, and the Zen Center in San Francisco.

Related Darfur War Articles