Forum Magazine is proud to present to you our fourth installment of “Editors Write,” this time Forum’s Non-Fiction Editor and Visual Arts Co-Editor, the wonderful Elise Stewart.
This piece was inspired by the prompt “craving.” Please take a look, and always feel free to post your own work in the comments section below, or send it to firstname.lastname@example.org, subject heading “Writing Prompt Wednesday.” Thanks, and enjoy!
“Craving and aversion are the source of your misery. Remain perfectly equanimous.”
I took a 10-day silent meditation course and hoped it would answer all my questions and solve all my woes.
“Scan the body,” asserted the teacher. “You may feel unpleasant, gross sensations; do not react with aversion. You may feel pleasant, subtle sensations; do not react with craving. You will only multiply your misery.”
One night I woke up tapping my knuckles against the wall in my dorm. I wondered if I’d woken anyone else up. I wanted to hug the girl in the dorm next to mine, who I had met right before we entered silence: “Le Chaim,” she said, as we walked up to the meditation hall for the first time. “Le Chaim,” I repeated back, realizing that Chaim now not only came at the end of the course, but book-ended it.
I wanted desperately to hug her when I woke up knocking on the wall. I wanted to hug my mom, and the guy who I had gone on two dates with before I left. I chided myself for craving these hugs. I developed an aversion to the craving. “Do not react. You will only multiply the misery. Do not react.”
I left the night before the end of the course. I told them I needed to be with my family, and that I could not be late. They said they would not allow it–that I was rebelling. I thanked them for the free food, and showed them my keys.
At the cemetery the next morning, I craved my uncle’s presence, and felt an aversion to his absence. Only, I welcomed this misery as a compliment to the joy that also existed within me, in remembering my time with him. “You are allowed to react,” I thought to myself, as they unveiled Chaim’s headstone.