You are in bed, just waking up, and worries take a seat before you, plant themselves like a tired, old man right in front of you.

You remind yourself to lift off, rise above it. And when you do, you feel the release, the powerful sense that you are in control of what the mind does, not the other way around. You keep trying to focus on the breath, at least 12 breaths in a row. And in 20 minutes time you can’t establish it. You start over.

It’s only when you actually achieve a 12-breath meditation that you move to the edge of the bed, plant your feet on the floor, and reach for your phone. You tap the camera and take one photo of your just awakened, sleep mussed head. Why? Why do you do this?

The motivation may be to get a sense that you aren’t alone. There is you and there is your phone; you and the images of yourself day-by-day. In fact, this writing is no different. This is a photo in words, a record of where at this moment the mind is.

The mind now, now that we are talking about it, is mildly dissatisfied with what you are doing: explaining as clearly as you can, as you always do, what it is like being you. And you wonder: Could you not be more oblique? Opaque? Poetic? Could you just try sometime and not be you?

And you lift off. You fly away, return, hover above, then land again. And then lift off again — weightless, winged, like a moth.



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Alyson Lie

Alyson Lie


Alyson is a writer, editor, meditator, and dharma practitioner. She lives in Cambridge, MA.