POSTCARD #88: Delhi: In a taxi with Jiab heading out to the domestic terminal. The taxi driver said yesterday he was going to pick her up at 2.00pm – future in the past, now it’s 2.30pm and she might miss the plane. No problem, he’s intending to make up the time, he says with foot on the accelerator the whole way. We’re going so fast it’s like we’re on the edge of linear time. Everything is a blur, the “now” I experience at this moment was the future for me when I was in the past… this thought repeats over and over. Driver ignores the built-in audio system that tells us when he’s going over the speed limit; a recorded voice message can be heard in the car, which says, ‘you are going too fast!’ Innovative idea… needless to say we have to listen to this voice repeating: ‘you are going too fast!’ all the way out to the airport. Driver overtaking everything, nearside, offside, hand on the horn, and the penetrating little voice coming unexpectedly: ‘you are going too fast!’
Jiab, with her conditioning in Bangkok traffic, is maybe more used to this kind of thing than me. I’m adhered to the seat, doing my utmost to bond with the structure of the vehicle. It’s like I’m not going through these streets, these streets are going through me. There’s an alertness locked in place you could call mindfulness but it’s more like an urgency, and struggling a bit with the idea that the driver is doing all the wrong things, this shouldn’t be happening. Round a sharp corner and we swerve to avoid a small motorbike coming straight at us on our side of the road; that motorbike guy is doing all the wrong things too. Then there’s a great show of outrage at the traffic lights, because of a man on the back of a motorbike holding a vertical panel of pressboard that’s 5ft x 4ft (see photo) and the motorbike can’t go fast because of wind resistance… pedestrians running about in the traffic risking life and limb – everybody’s doing all the wrong things.
Yeh, well, it’s my perception of this that’s all wrong, of course. The people out there obviously feel they’re doing the right thing, and I’m the one who’s got it wrong. How to see it as they do when gravity seems to disappear at times? Focus on the breath, don’t look in the direction of travel, and I find a small island of calm abiding… ah yes, this is the way it is, extraordinary and exhilarating. Enjoy the show, I’m in a speedboat, everything seems fluid, things merging with other things and entering into everything else. The velocity of this vehicle rushing through the streets washes aside other vehicles as waves do in the sea; everything is like flotsam; how we normally receive experience is so near to universal unity, it’s the same thing.
Taxi arrives at the terminal, I get the bags onto trolley, Jiab jumps out, bye-bye… then I’m into the same taxi, and going back the way we came, same cacophony of noise, same breakneck speed. Get to the house and the whole journey was so quick, there and back again, it was like I’d never left. Give the driver 500 Rupees, and it’s too much I know, but I’m in a state of astonishment. Inside and crash on the sofa for an hour. A text message rouses me; it’s Jiab saying she’s in Ranchi, about 800 miles away.
“According to Vedanta, there are only two symptoms of enlightenment, just two indications that a transformation is taking place within you toward a higher consciousness. The first symptom is that you stop worrying. Things don’t bother you anymore. You become light-hearted and full of joy. The second is that you encounter more and more meaningful coincidences in your life, more and more synchronicities. And this accelerates to the point where you actually experience the miraculous.” [Deepak Chopra, ‘Synchrodestiny: Harnessing the Infinite Power of Coincidence to Create Miracles’]