POSTCARD#75: Delhi: We bought an exercise bike from a Japanese lady who was leaving Delhi. It was a surprisingly large heavy thing with horns (NOVA fitness 700u). The delivery guys carried it into the spare room and that’s where it lives now. Jiab called it the jitensha – Japanese for bicycle:じてんしゃ remembering the bicycle she used to have when we lived in Japan. It got stolen – a sad story. So this big jitensha became the reincarnation of the one that was lost long ago. We started a routine of using the exercise bike and ‘jitensha’ became a verb, ‘to jitensha’, as in: are you going to jitensha? Jiab is Thai, and English is an improvisation, she speaks the language like playing a musical instrument. Everything is fun and it is such a lovely onomatopoeic word: ji-ten-sha… jitensha-jitensha-jitensha-jitensha, like the action of pedal crank, spinning chain wheel and everything about our jitensha is metaphorical; cycling through time in the present moment, situated firmly in the here-and-now, and the real sensation of going someplace but there are no wheels.
I get on the jitensha first thing in the morning. It’s the hot season, ceiling fan spinning, sleepy in the darkness and I wake up whizzing through streets and pathways of the mind, wind in my face and my eyes closed. Always downhill, no need to balance or steer or pay attention to where I’m going, there’s only this pleasing familiarity with the bicycle state of mind. Usually a four or five mile jaunt, not too hard, upper body swinging side to side with the pedaling movement, bare feet in pedal straps. Nothing else to do or worry about, thoughts arrive and depart, leaving fragments of things that form into something new, a memory of an event that happened long ago. Ah yes, I remember that… hold it for a moment then let it go. Now this, now that, things of no consequence. Focus on each one as it appears and disappears somewhere in these great landscapes seen rushing by.
Maybe it’s the blood circulation, a pleasing rush, and slight pressure behind the eyes seems to drive the thinking process. The intensity of making things into other things and the world out there is seen from the point of view of ‘me’ in here… the metaphorical self. I am on the receiving end of all this, I am the face in the mirror – look, that’s me. I think, therefore I am… a passing view of self and the hollowness of it all. Let it go and it’s gone, “the closer you look, the more it’s not there”. And then I’m inside a curious extended, freeze-framed thought moment, the all-inclusive presence of it and a sense of immensely distant things. No reference points and nothing left to think about. I’m not aware the thoughts have gone, just know they’re not there anymore. All that remains is the activity of Mind, not familiar with the ‘unthinking’ state and trying to fill the empty space with something, anything. Then that’s seen too, it falls away, and the jitensha spins off towards the horizon…
‘Wherever you go, you carry with you the sense of here and now. This is what distinguishes any present experience from memory. It reveals that space and time are in you and not the other way around. Most people are not acquainted with the sense of their being but only with the knowledge of their doing.’ [Wu Hsin]
The Wu Hsin quote comes from the superaalifragilistic blog/ Behind The Mind: The Lost Writings of Wu Hsin – G R A T I T U D E –