Bangkok: Falling out of the sky, jet-lagged and inert. A 12-hour flight from London; they gave me an upgrade to business class, nice. More space, better everything and a larger seat. Able to stretch out in the prone position, yes but also a huge selection of videos so I watched movies for 12 hours and no sleep. Now in a state of hypnosis here at the house, lying on the sofa in another time zone. Early morning in Bangkok and I’m watching the FOX channel. There’s only one English language channel on TV in this place so it simplifies things: NCIS, Bones, The Bridge and others. The stories merge into one all-inclusive narrative, a complex and improbable plot. Good-looking actors in expensive cosmetics play characters that migrate from other crime series into this one, the central story, all roads lead to one end, catching the bad guy, variations on a crime scene theme. The pace of it is intense, camera shots hold for about 3 seconds then change. Background audio has a percussive, mechanical sound then it’ll switch to something calm; a picture of domestic reality, beautiful interior, elegant lighting, lovely fabrics – I wish I had a room like that. Slow piano notes played meaningfully, like steps taken through the memory of something that happened once. I’m lulled into acceptance; the way it unfolds is the way it is. I become the story.
I could switch off the TV but there’s a reluctance; a pleasing attachment, something that appears more difficult to let go of than it is. Resisting the emptiness, the deep knowing there’s nothing there that triggers the reaction to fill the empty space with a self-construct, or an image, a movie celebrity, a child’s doll, the sphinx, the totem pole, dependency on a perceived creator. I mute the sound, allow the engagement with it, following the story as it transforms, watching the present moment until it changes – how did that happen? I didn’t notice it take place, only after it occurred. There’s the sense of something applied. Consciousness seems like an unconnected series of screenshots, a random sequence of events; things without substance appear and fade away. Rest in this fictional state… it’s just the way things are. Mindfulness is at the base of it all, in every way. Sleep shuts off the system; down through the layers, comfort, familiar surroundings. Crash out on the sofa in flickering TV light…
‘Like fish that cannot see the water they swim in, we do not notice the medium we dwell within. Unaware that our stories are stories, we experience them as the world.’ [David Loy, The World is Made of Stories]