Sitting in the zendo or meditation hall, there was a time when, although I was facing the wall and could not see, I knew exactly who had entered the 60-foot-long room and pretty much what frame of mind they were in ... just from the swishing of their robes or the quiet padding of their bare feet. There was a time when I knew within a second when 40 minutes had passed -- the amount of time for a usual zazen or formal meditation period was. There was a time when I could hear/feel the mind of the person ringing the inkin or bell that began and ended meditation periods. And it was somewhere in and around this time period, that I would sometimes wake up in the morning and know for a fact that I would run into someone I knew on that day ... not who, precisely, just someone I knew in a city of 12 million people that was New York. It was against all the odds ... and I was never wrong.
When I first noticed these things, I thought they were pretty unusual. Little snippets of magical stuff that seemed to arise out of doing Zen meditation. It was, in some sense, kool ... and kooler than people who couldn't do such things. It was like a junior-league version of walking on water or something. I wasn't exactly proud of myself, but I wasn't not-proud either.
I never mentioned this stuff. Speaking about it would have been embarrassing or stupid or something. If I could do such things, probably others could as well ... hell, maybe they have even better tales to tell and abilities to flaunt. Anyway, I kept my mouth shut ... and for quite a while just enjoyed the niftiness of it all.
And then, like a pair of broken-in shoes, it all became unremarkable: Didn't I have something more productive to do with my time? I knew what could be done, but there didn't seem much point in doing it. And as the niftiness faded, so did these small abilities. I didn't mind losing them: We had met and enjoyed each others' company and then had gone about our business. Bits and snippets might float to the surface in the present -- I can still recognize people from a distance according to the way they walk ... even without seeing their faces -- but so what? Not dismissively "so what?", just so what?
Losing the magic ... isn't that what magic teaches in the end. Isn't that the magic?
OK, you can walk on water.
Would you like a cookie?