In my misdirected past, following a painful divorce,
involving and probably harming our five small children,
I sought to fix whatever was wrong with me
through a Quixote-like but inner-directed crusade.
For years I worked successively
through psychology groups and psycho-emotional workshops,
then psychedelics, mind control, meditation, and Zazen,
seeking a quick fix, and later aspiring to become enlightened.
One day in 1973, while mudding in my engineering office,
but reflecting on meditation
I felt something vaguely sacred or holy
subtly touch my heart.
After it faded, to pull myself together,
I walked slowly toward the cigarette machine in the hall.
But then I felt a sudden blush of shame-
imagining cigarette smoke smothering what still felt sacred.
Since I had struggled to quit smoking for over twenty years,
and since I haven't smoked since then,
I remember that very subtle and unusual feeling
as an incredible gift, akin to a rebirth.