Modern Ascetic

Modern Ascetic
by charles frisbie
I wake in a clean white square room with hard wood floors. I fold my blanket into neat squares and rectangles, place it in the corner. I drink a glass of room water from the earthenware jug and cup placed nearby. It is lukewarm. I meditate for 90 minutes.
It is morning. There are two small square windows on the same wall. They show a clear blue sky. It is a nice day out. I wash my clothes in a bucket of cold water from the spigot outside. They have turned from sharp white to a formless, frayed gray. Every three days I shave my head. I don’t have to today.
After my clothes are dry I take a walk around the neighborhood and look for food. Sometimes people eating in the park will share their lunches with me. In the winter I have to scavenge from the dumpsters or use money from strangers to buy food.
Today I am lucky. I get half a sandwich and a bag of carrots from workers on their lunch breaks. After I eat I usually take a nap in the park. Then I walk home in mid-afternoon.
I like to meditate in the room from then until late into the night. I never keep track of how long it is. Sometimes while I’m meditating I think I am melting into the floor, or I can feel the edges of my fingers blurring, but it never lasts. Especially if I try to grasp those feelings, or think towards them. That is something I need to work on.
After I am done meditating I like to take a walk and enjoy the silence of the neighborhood. The dark, full houses, the silver moonlight spilling into the streetlights. The cement of the sidewalks is cold and rough on the bottom of my feet. When I get back, before I go to bed, I always fill the pitcher with cold water from the spigot.

0 thoughts on “Modern Ascetic

  1. I absolutely love this piece. It flows really well, even with the simplicity. “I wake in a clean, white square room” “Today I am lucky…” “I think i am melting into the floor…” It’s relative to my everyday day, going through a small routine filled with really nothing which to a lot of people would make me seem either simple-minded or a waste of oxygen, but it’s still “my routine” and I wouldn’t trade it. This piece just brings that out to me. Bravo.

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