A Joke

There is a meditator seeking enlightenment who has a particularly bad case of monkey-mind. She hears that there is a technique that, if you do it completely for five minutes, will inevitably lead to instant, complete awakening. She also hears that this technique is inscribed on the inside of a banana peel on a very special banana tree. Her teacher gives her instructions for how to find the banana tree, and she seeks it out.

It is a long walk to the banana grove that contains the magic mindfulness banana tree, and she works up quite an appetite. But eventually she finds the tree, and is relieved. She takes a banana off the tree, sits down in lotus position, unpeels the banana, eats the banana, and reads the instructions from the inside of the banana peel.

“Remember your purpose, and embody it fully in your subjective reality. See your purpose; hear your purpose; feel your purpose. Actively bring up your purpose when you get distracted.”

So she stretches up, settles in, and for five minutes, she remembers her deepest commitment to serving all living beings.

“Wow!” she says. “That was great! I feel so much better now. But I don’t think I have completely awakened.”

So she gets out of lotus, takes down another banana, sits down, unpeels it, eats it, and finds the following instructions:

“Follow your breath. Do not change your breath, but keep bringing back your attention to your breath.”

And so for the next five minutes, she watches all of the sensations associated with breathing at her nostrils, watching the inhale, watching the exhale, watching the playful dance of expansion and contraction associated with life, breath, pneuma, God. When the five minutes ends, she is completely relaxed, completely focused. But she is still plagued by self-conscious awareness, and so she takes down another banana. Printed inside of the peel (in a most beautiful cursive script, it should be noted), she reads:

“Ask yourself the question ‘Who am I?’ repeatedly. Let doubt, ignorance, and not-knowing arise, and let that be okay. Let that be a new kind of knowledge, of wisdom.”

She begins to ask herself this question, and with each utterance, she becomes more and more confused, more and more stupid, more and more empty, and yet she is also calmer, wiser; she embodies the wisdom that is within us all. But at the end of the five minutes, she still has not yet found what she is looking for. And so, with a note of despair, of desperation, of calm necessity, she takes the final banana down and finds:

“Drop all intention to move your body; drop all intention to think; drop all intention to pay attention to anything in particular at all. Be completely open; let go completely. Let go. Let go. Let go.”

And after five minutes, she is not only no longer hungry, but she has no desire at all; she is no longer a self, but God, She, It, This, Now. She laughs, and sees that she always was. And she thinks to herself, “Why didn’t I start with that banana?”

The art in this post was created by Sílvia Bastos, and is licensed under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license. You can support her work on Patreon

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