The Bee is Me

Repost from old blog, 11/10/2006

Sitting in the car outside the store, waiting for my boyfriend to get directions. I was engrossed in my cellphone, examining it absentmindedly, cleaning the dust out of the crannies, the grease off of the screen, not thinking of anything much.

Then, I thought to look up and out the window. There were some dead flowers sticking out of the ground, and next to those, some still-fresh purple flowers. Beyond these was the glass-enclosed entrance to the store, and I saw a bee trying to get out, its movements labored on this mid-November day. Over and over it bumped into the glass, perhaps futilely trying to reach those purple flowers.

I felt grateful that I had thought to look up and examine what was going on around me, instead of just staring down at my cellphone. The bee behind the glass was a tragic little drama that I got to witness as a result of my (almost randomly occurring) mindfulness, a drama made all the more tragic because – as I now noticed – both sides perpendicular to the glass were completely open. The bee would only have had to fly a foot to the left or several feet to the right and it would have been free. But it just kept doing what it was doing, bumping over and over into that glass, staring at those flowers.

That’s when I understood it. Before I’d noticed the bee, we’d both been in the same place – trapped in our narrow frames of mind, totally focused on the small details, unable to step back and see the big picture and how it would free us, make us able to experience all that the world has to offer.