Causes and Conditions

I’M STANDING AT THE BUS STOP. It’s a public holiday, the bus times are Horaires Vacances (holiday schedule). Some buses are cancelled and I can’t be sure of anything. Heavy urban traffic situation, heat, noise and it’s been a day of struggling to be calm. Try to remember everything is as it should be. I’m just having to deal with this contracted mind, right now, that’s all. I’m tightly focussed on something very much ‘held’. I need to ease back from that. It’s the ‘letting-go’ thing again.

On the other side of the road there’s a noticeboard with the holiday schedule times displayed. I’ll have to go and take a look, but the constant flow of traffic means it’s difficult to get across; everything seems charged with the energy of: get out-of-the-way please? I manage to get over eventually and studying the bus times on the schedule and, at the same time, watching for the possibility of the bus coming on the other side; I have to be ready to make a dash back across the road to catch it. Causes and conditions by themselves; things seem unattached and random. ‘I am a construct; a body/mind existing within time and space. On some level prior to this, I selected elements that resulted in this problematic sense of self; this calamitous world I now experience.’1

A huge lorry pulls in next to me, squeal of brakes, hiss of decompression and it blocks out the view of the street entirely. I’m suddenly in deep shadow. The driver climbs down from the cab, holding an ice cream cone in his teeth so that his hands are free to hold the various handles and negotiate the steps down to street level. He takes ice cream cone out of teeth in order to speak. ‘Bonjour monsieur,’ holds ice cream cone in one hand and unfolds a piece of paper with the fingers of the other hand; difficult to do this and keep the ice cream cone upright, but completely calm. He studies the paper and reads out a company address.

Mr Ice-Cream man wants to know where such-and-such a place is and I can’t hear clearly because of the noise of car horns behind the lorry, and drivers shouting about him blocking the road. But Mr Ice-Cream man remains completely okay about that, looks at me politely with arched eyebrow as I tell him that he needs to go to zone industrielle and how to get to the road that leads in that direction. ‘Merci monsieur’, he says and climbs back up, ice-cream cone held again in teeth; gears wrench into place and lorry lumbers off, followed by a long convoy of harassed cars who’ve probably been following him for some time through these narrow streets.

After he’s gone, I get back across the road to wait for the bus at my stop. It still hasn’t come and I’m worried now that it could have passed behind Mr Ice-Cream Man’s huge lorry when I was talking with him – hmmm, this is not good… or maybe I didn’t read the schedule correctly? I should go back over and read it again, but if I do that, what’ll happen if the bus arrives over here and I’m over there and not able to get back to this side in time? Deep breath. The entanglement of anticipation; the actively ‘waiting-for-things-to-happen’ mode. I’ll stay on this side. After a few moments the bus comes round the corner, I’m reassured; a wonderful system that has it’s contingency plan monitoring function built-in.

Double doors hiss open, cool air-conditioning, I enter into the familiar world of ‘being taken’ and join the passengers facing the direction of travel: ‘We are going THIS WAY’. Bus moves off into the town. I’m seated, looking at the back of people’s heads and beyond that to the back of the driver’s head and the view of the street out front. I can see where we are going and I can turn around, look out the back window and see where we are coming from. The whole outside world is coming in through these large windows, passing through the inside and out again; it feels like there really is no bus.

I wonder if Mr Ice-Cream man found his way allright and where he is now ….


… Ramakrishna came out of his trance and acknowledged that if the world is an illusion of our senses then we ourselves are part of that same illusion…. The mind is a construct of the mind and therefore does not truly exist.’ [Peter Harvey, Wikipedia, (talk) 22:36, 30 November 2011 (UTC)]

1[Link to: David Bingham, Conscious TV]

Bus Image: detail from a photo by Louk Vreeswijk

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