She has her way of practicing; I have mine.

Squirrel Park

As it happened, my friend and I went to New York for Thanksgiving. On our way back, we stopped in Manhattan so she could take a yoga class in the East Village. I wandered around Lower Manhattan for a while before finally settling in on a park bench just shy of 8th and Ave. A to meditate. She has her way of practicing; I have mine.


It was a windy and cold day in New York, and I meditated on the possibility of a motionless core, a center unaffected by the cold, harsh winds of life. The squirrels flitted back and forth across the lawn looking for acorns to stash for winter. After about ten minutes of sitting quietly, I noticed the squirrels grew bolder and began to approach me.

I smiled at them and continued with my meditation, aware as they continued to draw closer. An unnatural fear seized me – what if they were to bite me? But I kept breathing, stayed still, and remained firm with my meditation.

Ten more minutes and I had a squirrel perched on each knee watching me curiously, puffing their cheeks with each breath. They remained almost as quiet and still as I did for another long period of time, the three of us meditating on a cool fall Manhattan day. I could feel the gentle weight of their bodies on my legs, their heartbeat fluttering so much more quickly than mine. I thought they came thinking I had food, but whatever drew them to me, I felt a sense of peace because of their presence. I felt as if the lines we draw between ourselves and the world around us thinned and lightened, as if they blurred and I glimpsed for a few minutes the union of existence.

And then a few Manhattanites came jogging down the path and the squirrels scattered. I continued meditating until my cell phone rang, indicating my friend had finished her class.

Mila (Jacob Stetser)

Mila is a writer, photographer, poet & technologist.

He shares here his thoughts on Buddhism, living compassionately, social media, building community,
& anything else that interests him.

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