Introducing Sri

I left for the YMCA just after six am as I do most mornings to swim laps. I slipped into my swimsuit, put my long brown hair in a pony tail, then put on my gear. I donned a bright pink swim cap, goggles, and a timer that slipped over my index finger. With the timer, I had previously used a lap counter timer which I would tap after I had gone down and back to count as one full lap. I made the mistake and ordered just a counter that ran until you pushed the button again to stop it. But are there really any accidents?

So, once in the pool, I just let it run as I swam back and forth and back and forth in slow breast strokes. Breathe. Stroke. Stroke. Blow out breath under water. Breathe again. Touch the wall, change direction, then continue.

I began to think about my lucid dream a few nights ago where I found myself in a place where I could create my reality. I thought to myself, “When I go back there, I need a guide, someone to talk to who can help me sort all this out.” I swam back and forth in the pool a few more laps, and then imagined I was swimming in a lagoon, with a glistening sandy bottom sparkling like tiny jewels. The sun was warm and bright against my skin. Just then I imagined a dolphin swim by me.

I then imagined I was sitting on a big flat rock at the edge of the water and drying off in the sun and breeze. I was still wearing my swim suit. My goggles and swim cap were gone. I looked around and saw a golden wild cat sitting there sunning himself nearby. I say golden, because he had a golden glow to him, that emanated from what appeared to be inside him. I say wild, because he didn’t look tame, such as curling up on my lap for a nap kind of cat. He stood up, stared at me with large blue eyes, the deep color of the sky on a clear day, stretched, and laid back down.

I was curious who or what this cat was. I asked him, “What are you?”

He sat up, looked at me, and simply said with his mind, “I am that.”

I thought that was a strange way to define yourself. I was hoping for something else, like I am a cat from the mystical island of Mu, a sentry for the gods and goddesses. Something glamorous. Something with mystique. I was hoping for a guide.

He dampened a paw with his tongue then washed the top of his head with that paw. Then he said again, “I am that.”

I was beginning to wonder if he would be like one of those parrots that appear all clever to speak yet have a limited vocabulary. But then he spoke again. “What were you expecting?”

I thought, “Maybe a lion, a dragon, a unicorn, a fairy, or even a mermaid? A cat seems so, um, ordinary.”

The cat paused washing his head and looked at me and said, “I could be in any form, because form does not exist. You imagined me as a cat.”

“Whoa,” I thought. “Form does not exist? What do you mean by that?”

He stopped washing his head and laid back down. The cat sighed. “Look,” he said. “You think you are right now swimming in a pool inside a building. And yet you are here with me now, sitting in the sun. You can feel the sun and can taste the salt spray. I could have come in any form. I could have been that dragon if you wished.”

Immediately he transformed into a towering twenty foot tall green dragon with bright red eyes like rubies. His size blocked much of the sky and sun, putting me into a deep shade. Just his front foot alone was the size of a dinner platter.

“Maybe not that,” I thought. “You’re so big and intimidating looking. Rather than me thinking of you as a guide, I’d be forever thinking about if you’d want me for lunch. I’ll stick with the image of a cat, thank you.”

He laughed, which came out sounding like a cross between a meow and a purr. He then shrank back down into the form of the golden cat sitting before me.

“So what is your name?”I asked. “I don’t want to just call you Cat. That would be so uncultured.”

“I don’t need a name. Names are meaningless. I just AM.”

I felt some sense of deep wisdom coming in those words, even though I was far from understanding them as of yet. It felt like I was speaking to someone ancient, someone wise. I thought of the Indian gurus and guides and how some had the preface Sri (pronounced Shree) before their name as a sign of their position.

“May I call you Sri?” It’s more of a title and not a name. I really don’t want to call you Cat.”

He yawned, curling a pink tongue as his whiskers and ears went back momentarily. Then he said, “If you must. Sri will be acceptable.”

I knew by this time that it was about time for me to get out of the pool. I imagined saying my goodbye to Sri and diving back into the clear blue lagoon waters. Then I checked my watch. Fifty minutes had transpired. I pulled myself out of the pool.

The adventure continues.

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