Today I spent a lovely winter afternoon wandering the Art Institute of Chicago with my husband. In the Alsdorf Galleries, there is an impressive sculpture of the Buddha seated in meditation from India, c. 12th century. Along with many other people, I spent some time studying the piece, reading about its history and listening to my audio guide reveal an unseen story. I marveled at the Buddha’s size, condition, and gentle expression and thought about its journey to Chicago’s art wonderland.
As we meandered all over the museum, I passed the sculpture several times, the last just as the gallery was about to close and was nearly empty. I stopped to take a photo and felt more connected and inspired by the Buddha than my previous visits. It struck me that in meditation it is hard to allow thoughts, ideas, details and crowds to fall away. And then, occasionally, if I wait long enough, there are quiet moments bursting with stillness, inspiration, love, connection and maybe even peace. It has been several weeks since my last meditation session, but today, watching the Buddha diligently seated in meditation, juxtaposed against the surrounding chaos, a little bit of tranquility found me.