A good thing is soon snatched up

Take it from this Arrow Street antique dealer: good things might come to they who wait, but good things never last. In the used goods business, where one person’s trash is another person’s treasure, it’s best to grab your treasure while it’s hot.


I personally think time is the most precious collectible around, being as it is both priceless and irreplaceable. One person’s waste of time is another person’s time well spent, and the older I get, the more quickly time gets snatched up. For all the time I’ve spent trying to save time, things have come out a wash: whether wasted or hoarded, seconds pass like so many beads of quicksilver, sparkling and ungraspable. The more you chase time, the faster it flows.

This morning dawned foggy but promised to be partly sunny, so I did something I’ve been meaning to do for months: I made the two hour drive down to Boston to attend the mid-morning long sitting at the Cambridge Zen Center. Yes, spending two and a half precious hours staring at a Dharma room floor might be most folks’ definition of Time Wasted, but in my mind it was (and always is) time well spent. When you consider the amount of time most of us spend rushing and worrying through our lives and through our days, spending an hour here and there simply stopping isn’t such a bad idea. For me, doing formal meditation practice at the Zen Center is one way of consciously slowing the pace of my life: a time to re-connect with body and breath in a setting purposely set aside for such practice.


The other perk to practicing at the Cambridge Zen Center is, well, Cambridge. Once Sunday’s mid-morning practice session is over at 11:30, there’s still plenty of time to head down to Harvard Square and soak in the sensory overload that is the Big City. Traveling to Boston or Cambridge from humble little Keene is always a treat for the senses: in the course of an afternoon, I can see more colorful people and overhear more accents and languages than I could during a month or more here in New Hampshire. Moving from the intentional silence of the Zen Center, where even the rumble of passing trucks and the wail of city sirens don’t disturb the prevailing serenity, to the hubbub of Harvard Square is like jumping from the refrigerator straight into the fire. During walking meditation in the Zen Center’s Dharma room, I meticulously heeded the angle and arch of every step. Walking among the huddled masses in Harvard Square, I had to keep on my toes to avoid getting run over by the teeming throngs.

Since the afternoon was overcast and I was more intent on watching and listening than I was on shutter-bugging, I didn’t take many pictures. However, one particular diptych says something about the dizzying array of options that greet you when you come down from the hills of New Hampshire to hit the streets of the Big City. No sooner had I left the tranquility of the Zen Center and then “pahked my cah neah Hahvahd Yahd,” I was bombarded by this pair of signs: the first promising sex from one side of the street…

Sex Every Night!

…and the second asserting from the other side of the street the unreliability of earthly pleasures.


I’ll leave it to you to decide who wins the debate between Carrie Bradshaw and Mary Baker Eddy. As for me, I later discovered that I probably had wasted the morning meditating, since it would have been much easier for me to have bought Peace of Mind from a gumball machine rather than trying to earn it on a meditation mat and cushion.

Peace of Mind

Forget about Sex Every Night…it’s Peace of Mind that’s a precious commodity in Cambridge these days: get it while it’s hot.