POSTCARD #25 Delhi: Traffic stops. A great noise of beeping horns and eventually we can see it’s caused by cows crossing the road. Unusual to see cows being herded in the middle of the city – there must be a cowherder at the end of the column driving them, and others to clear the path through the traffic. The cows do seem a little anxious now, hurrying along. Usually they’re relaxed – placid is the word. I see them sometimes, sitting at the side of the road, cars moving around them, or they’re at rest on a traffic roundabout, ruminating, gazing out at the world.
The presence of the bovine mother, with its horns and all its wet-nose, smooth-hide, cowness, creates a kind of out-of-context NOW moment for me, a foreigner in this part of the world – although really, it’s ‘now’ all the time. ‘Now’ is not located anywhere in particular in time or space, it is always ‘now’ – the whole thing is ‘now’. The cow with its long eyelashes and good-looking face, just uncompromisingly ‘there’, is part of the environment and events taking place in the flow of occurrences, always in the present moment. I’m kinda blown-away by the immediate here-and-now reality of traffic flow around a seated cow, like a river moves round the boulders in a stream of tiny moments linked together, a seamless whole; cause becomes effect, what happened before it becomes what happened after that, and out into every available space in the city. It’s everywhere at the same time.
Usually I don’t see it; caught up in the thinking process; watching a movie in my head, driven by the requirements of a constructed ‘me’ and seeing the world in these terms. THINKING ABOUT THINGS so much, I don’t pay attention to the ‘now’ moment, the small period of pause that occurs… that empty space where nothing is happening, just before the next thought arises – a kind of non-event. Focus on it and everything stops shifting around, gradually settles down; time begins to stretch out in a vastness, reaching out over the horizon on all sides. Surrounding traffic is somewhere down below, locked-in, waiting for the cows to pass through.
This lasts as long as it takes for me to forget what I’m doing, attention wanders, and a passing wave of thought spins me off in the thinking process, the automatic default that brings me back to the functioning of the mind-body organism. The “self” getting in the way, feeling it didn’t quite have what it should have had, wanting this, happy with that, glad there are signs of movement at last and the ‘now’ moment is changed to something else. We’re on the road again, the cow obstruction has gone. Revving car engines, horns beep-beep, jostling for space. Car bodies like brightly coloured Lego pieces fit together to create a form, then immediately separate themselves and become a different form; join with other forms and larger constructs fit together with surrounding pieces. Traffic roars, screaming horns, it all begins to spread out, moving as one, then it’s quickly dispersed into separate units, more acceleration, and we’re away like a wave rushing back out to sea. The speed is breathtaking….
‘The human body is not a frozen sculpture fixed in space and time. The human body is a dynamic bundle of energy, information and intelligence that constantly is renewing itself and is in exchange with the larger field of energy, information and intelligence that we call the universe. In fact if we could really see the human body as it is, not through the artifact of sensory experience, you would see it to be much more exciting.’ [Deepak Chopra, ‘The Basics of Quantum Healing’]