Mind the Heart


The World Teacher…
the Master of the Masters…
works by means
of a meditation
centered in the heart…

Djwahl Khul, 1922

I was taking a friend home
from a class awhile ago.

I enjoy driving Creek Road.
At night it’s like wending
through a dark tunnel
lined by elder oaks.

Close to Ojai
there was
a fawn standing
in the road.

White spotted baby-deer
frightened in the headlights.

We both gasp aloud.
I swerve over.
Punch the flashers.

Pamela cries, “There’s a car coming!”

I turn toward
the oncoming lane.
Honk the horn.
Flick the brights.
Again & again.

The other car does not slow,
and it does not stop.

And it takes the baby.

Pamela says, “They missed it!”
I know that prayer very well.


During crisis my mind
roots in my heart.

I carefully U-turn around.

We can both see the body lying there.

I park on the roadside.
Pamela leaps out.
Scoops the baby
gently, gently
up in her arms.

Carries her to safety.

I open the hatchback.
Pamela tenderly
lays her down.

The baby struggles
a bit in the light.

She is beautiful,
seemingly perfect.

Pamela asks, “What should we do?”

“That will get clear.”

We are both holding her.
Murmuring soothing things.
Trying to pour love into her.

Pamela asks, “Should we take her to a Vet?
I know one in Ojai that will open for us.”

But I am watching & listening
& that doesn’t feel quite right.

“Let’s wait.”

Stroking her fur,
we can feel things
going wrong.

And we can hear crashing in the brush.

Pamela says, “Maybe we should leave her
so her mama can be with her.”

That feels very much right.

A few moments later
the fawn goes very still.

I put my ear to her chest.
Her bright eyes grow dull.

I lift the little body in my arms,
carry her over to the trail,
& lay her in a quiet spot.

My friend & I both
still feel right about that.

I wept after it was over.
I weep as I am writing this.
But while it was happening
I was calm & clear –

minding my heart.

This is the living space
in which we can find
the friendly presence
of loving wisdom.

If we can hold fast
to that great depth,
then it will open for us –

embracing everything
embracing everything.

Guiding us toward helping.
Guarding us from harming.

(Photograph by Pamela Phillips.)

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