POSTCARD #41: Chiang Mai: Awake with the sound of birdsong and the first signs of daylight. A kinship with all beings. We breathe the same air, experience the same kind of heart beat – the tastes, the smells, light, sound, body sensations and consciousness. Suddenly a thought arrives, a memory of something that happened a long time ago; not important, like an aspect of another thought that got overlooked somehow – now seen in a different way, simple and easy to be with. I’m sitting on the edge of the bed, bare feet on cold floor; not completely awake, contemplating the start of the day and it takes a moment to notice this thought is still here. I have the feeling that I understand more about it now than ever before. Quickly! Get up, search around for a pen, I’ll have to write it down in my notebook before I forget.
In the next few minutes, the thought seems to expand, occupies my whole attention. It’s as if I’m seeing it all for the first time. Even as I’m going around doing early morning things, the thought remains – like a stationary object. A feeling of meaningfulness, a sense of amazement with the functioning of the mind; watching to see what it’ll do next, where’ll it’ll go after this. What’s it like? Getting to know it, like a child understands a thing directly. Got keys, wallet and down in the elevator, still thinking about it. Out on the street and walk to the main road. Aware of mind phenomena and looking at that thought in particular; the fragility of non-grasping and allowing things to be un-held. Where did it come from, where was it before it arrived here? Somewhere in The Great Space, fragments of it dispersed in actions not yet taken… am I creating the thought by noticing it?
A tuktuk stops, I get in, we accelerate along the road; wind in the face, noise all around. The present moment is an accumulation of pieced-together thought-items; bits of language imagery from environmental-input and memories of past-time brought into present-time, projected into future-time. Time is a human measurement: applied time. Reminds me of something I read in a book written by somebody wise, saying that TIME is just God’s way of preventing everything happening in the same instant. In one microsecond, the entire history of the world, up to the present and off into the future… watch it as it flies past.
Pause for a moment. Traffic lights at the intersection and everything stops; a curious extended, stretched-out moment – just the circumstance itself. It takes a conscious effort to get it started again. Is conscious awareness moving from one moment to the next? If so, is this the next moment yet? Are all the fragments of the next moment combined sufficiently in the endless stream of things so that I can now say definitively, THIS IS THE NEXT MOMENT? And all of a sudden it’s the past again. There’s only one moment, always has been. One long moment that includes immensely distant things. A single passing thought lasts a thousand years. Its parts so remotely scattered, a great ocean of nothingness invades the space between things. No easily seen reference points, objects get forgotten about eventually and all that remains is the idea that, a long time ago, I think I was searching for something but I can’t really remember. Anyway, I was never able to find it – still distracted sometimes by the idea that I might stumble upon it by chance one day, but otherwise at peace with everything the way it is.
‘The fact that we can never “fully know” reality is not a sign of the limitation of our knowledge, but the sign that reality itself is “incomplete,” open, an actualization of the underlying virtual process of Becoming.’ [Slavoj Žižek]