Chiang Mai: 05.00 hrs, phone alarm goes off, ascending ring tones of celestial music and the small window of digital light illuminates the dark room. Too bright, it’s difficut to see how to switch it off. OK, I got it…
Peace and quiet, it’s a Chiang Mai morning. Difficult to wake up because I just arrived from Delhi and there’s a time difference of 1½ hours – neither one thing nor the other and the remains of the dream scattered around. Fragments of a story and the urge to try to put the pieces together and recreate the dream. There’s this built-in curious ‘wanting’ tanha. Maybe I’ll find out what the story is about in the process of looking for the pieces that are lost?
Impossible. The predicament of the dream, the tendency to be wanting something… anything, it doesn’t matter; something to attain, obtain, procure, secure – a mood, a good feeling – the language of consumerism – wanting something, but I can never seem to narrow down the options sufficiently to actually get what I want, and all that’s left is the ‘wanting’ itself. Ungratified desire, just the wanting, hungry and dissatisfied, I feel like I want to get rid of the ‘wanting’ but wanting the ‘wanting’ to stop doesn’t make it stop. It only increases the level of ‘wanting’ and this is my suffering, dukkha….
Slowly moving up through the layers into a more wakeful consciousness, here. Difficult. All the pain meds for backache coming to an end now, very nearly pain-free for the first time in 10 days. Wonderful. So, I think I’m nearly able to pull the body into a meditational posture. Try it and see. Carefully adjusting the pillows and cushions on the bed to get myself sitting upright with folded legs. Aching knees because it’s been a while but it comes allright, settles down, and everything just falls into place again.
Mindfulness. The presence of the body, just quietly sitting here, and the mind slowly moving from sleep to wakefulness. The in-breath and the out-breath seem like incremental steps going higher and higher up a narrow winding stone staircase until it doesn’t go any higher and when I let go of that, the mind eases off into this state of peace. ‘… meditation is not an activity; it’s the cessation of an activity’ [Rupert Spira]. It’s about consciously not doing anything.
Peacefulness and fragments of the dream remain, pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. I’m drawn towards it, still, and inclined to try to put the pieces together again. The peaceful state becomes blissful, nice – if I merge with it, I’ll fall asleep and there’s a reluctance to do that. I’m holding on to it again, I see I’m trying to make it do what I want it to do, even though the blissful state is incidental, subject to change, annican, and I’ll never succeed with it.
It’s the ‘wanting’ thing again. I could ‘modify’ this and get it to be what I want? It would be nice if it were blissful all the time but I recognize something; the bliss can become irritation and sometimes it’s a hell realm and I have to get out of it quick… Heaven/hell, there’s no way of knowing which way it’s going to go, so I need to remove the function that tries to manipulate the pleasant state through greed and wanting.
This helps me to detach from it; let go of the bliss, bye bye… but it’s still there; just feels like it’s happening to someone else; generosity, share it with the world. Can’t find words to express. Leave it at that. I’m really a minimalist, anatta. No God, no ‘self’, no I, you, he, she, it, we, you, they – and the sentence often makes no sense because there’s no subject, no object. No problem, the feeling is too large, no words for it…
“As far as the suns and moons extend their courses and the regions of the sky shine in splendour, there is a thousandfold world system. In each single one of these there are a thousand suns, moons, Meru Mountains, four times a thousand continents and oceans, a thousand heavens of all stages of the realm of sense pleasure, a thousand Brahma worlds. As far as a thousandfold world system reaches in other words [the universe], the Great God is the highest being. But even the Great God is subject to coming-to-be and ceasing-to-be.”[Anguttara-Nikaya X 29]