New Delhi: 05.00 hours. Jiab’s got a cold, she’s been coughing all night, I’m sitting in the front room, hunched over an electric fire, feeling the heat and staring at the glowing bars, I have to blink, even the surface of the eyeball feels hot. It triggers a childhood memory about sitting at the fireside during the long winters in Scotland. Not as cold here, I have to take Jiab to the doctor at 10.30. And considering now, Ajahn Chah’s expression: mai neh (Thai), ‘not sure’, uncertainty: and how, at this time of year in Scotland, ‘uncertainty’ means that if the heating should fail, we’ll all be in sub-zero conditions. Things are just that bit more vital in these circumstances, closer to the edge. Mindfulness is a requirement.
And it feels like I’m just filling in time here, pondering over some future event. It arrives in present time, finds I’m not here, still thinking about it in its future context, far away in a hypothetical state beyond the ‘now’ where all the other schemes, plans and things are left undone. I have a mind to put an end to this, abandon all of it. Half-formed entities without reality that I’ve cherished for years, give them their liberty, let them escape; knowingly release the attachment to all them. Let them go.
Light is coming up. There’s a curious bird perched on the branch outside the window, lively and alert. I’d like to go nearer to see it, but it’s too cold over there so I watch it from my place by the heater. At the point where the eye and the object meet, phassa, a conscious sensory event takes place; a moment of contact between the subjective state and the outer world. It mirrors a similar moment of cognition in the inner being. This basic truth holds my attention for a while and when I look again the bird has flown away.