Meditation and the promised land. Bliss. Infinite knowledge. Freedom from the world. Reality. Teaching meditation with a mission. I only believed in the part that was about me. Save myself--please. Save the world—sure, why not. I made new friends. These with short hair and a clock that said when to do it and for how long. Lock step like soldiers we took the big dive inside, shuddering when the shit came out, sighing when we dropped into the cosmic waters. Still me. Though there was something else there. Whatever. Not this. Not that. But there. The pain didn’t go away. But something there. Almost a true believer I was. Thoughts changing. My mind tried to put everything into a single, grand framework. Headache after headache for a mind that was still a long way from realizing that it was not part of the show. Especially after graduate school where the mind was everything. Teaching school again. Meanwhile, family tragedy and more pain. In the midst of all that, I became an advanced meditator with new friends inviting me to sit farther out on the limb. Got married. Still on board the 3:10 to nirvana. The world was becoming more distant but not fast enough. In one dark moment, I thought I was meditating in order to die. But . . . there was Kabul and the big gig. Meditating the dust off my mental floorboards, some started coming loose. Something started drifting up from the emptiness. I had already left, it said. Friends, family, the world. Sure. Why not? Just saying the long goodbye . . .