The room is completely empty. No furniture, no carpet or rug. No pictures, no fixtures, no curtains at the window. Only a diminutive man sitting, his walking staff at his side, framed by beams of sunlight."Master?" I asked quietly. "Do not call me that. I am not a Master""How then should I address you?""I am" he said never opening his eyes.I sat opposite him in the space at what I felt was a respectful distance. I sat quietly. I tried to find myself, center myself. In a single fluid motion the man rose. With measured pace he approached and placed his walking staff behind me. I flinched."Sit up. With your back straight."I stretched until I could feel his staff between my shoulder blades and at the back of my head. "Better. Now tell me why you have come."I sat motionless. I let my mind race desperately through all of my pre-arranged scenarios. I searched all of my pre-recorded explanations, all of my practiced
rationalizations. Each returned an empty hollow resonance. I flushed with a sense of embarrassment."I... I do not know."When I let my head nod forward slightly he allowed the staff to swing in pendulum fashion and tap me gently. "Sit up. Be here."I was here. All of me was right here. From the dull ache of my legs unaccustomed to sitting on a hard floor to my searching everything within my sight for some sign of this man's purpose. The barren room gave up nothing. The sunshine and blue sky beyond offered nothing as well. Suddenly I could hear my own breathing. Then the internal conversation started. Was I breathing correctly? Should it be a 4 count inhale and a 6 count exhale? Were there errands I had to run after this? The grocery list is in my pocket. His walking staff swung again and tapped me gently."Come back tomorrow when you have less time and more to do."Returning to his original place in the room the small man sank into the same seated position. He set his walking staff at this side. He closed his eyes.