POSTCARD #102: Delhi: I’ve forgotten my password… fearing my papers might be stolen, password discovered and, of course this is how the whole paranoia of Identity Theft unfolds, I dreamed up some devious way of encrypting it then forgot how I did that. Now it’s gone… this elusive quality passwords have, they slip away secretly if you’re not holding on to them or buying into the created anxiety scenario that sells the product; insurance to cover the insurance to cover the unforeseen event; an imagined disaster. Rearrange the furniture of the mind; if you’re a Buddhist, having your identity stolen is no big deal because it’s an assumed identity anyway. There never was an actual ‘self’ in here, anatta, selflessness, and spiritual generosity. I’m pretty sure there’ll come a time when banks don’t offer loans to Buddhists anymore; they don’t meet the criteria, don’t have the credentials; that tenacity of clinging to ‘me’ and ‘mine’ is noticeably absent… Buddhists are not a safe bet, at any time they may close the agreement and happily give everything away. Banks don’t like freedom from suffering; enslavement to sensory input keeps them in business.
So I feel reasonably okay about losing my password, what’s gone is gone. It’s my Thai account and they will fix it up for me – I’ll be there in 2 weeks so I’ll be able to explain the situation; go and see the same bank teller lady I’ve been visiting over the years, who will look up when I come to her desk with my queue number ticket and a recognition comes into her face: You’ve forgotten your password again, right? It did bother me at first; aging, memory loss, an inability to retain passwords, and also that she might think it’s all a made-up story… how could anyone forget their password so often? And the real reason for coming to see her again and again is that I’d like it if we could get to know each other better… we can’t go on meeting like this.
But there’s a sadness in her eyes…. it’s been so long now, years pass between our meetings, I go away, forget my password and come back and see her again, she gives me a new password and we observe each other silently. She looks well, but older. It must be this job she does; working in a bank, selling security for finance that may or may not bring wealth or ruin, manipulating a hypothetical danger… unwholesome livelihood, hovering always on the edge of anxiety. Even now I can see the lock-down procedures starting in my head – falling into the trap of believing it’s real. Let it go, let it go.
It’s a death, it’s gone, my password dwells now in the world of lost passwords where there’s no urgency about who is who or what or which object belongs to who or whom and the things we cling to, the clings we thing to, have no adherence, glue dissolves, unsticks – structures collapse, fall… form and formlessness
“… like a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel, never ending or beginning on an ever spinning reel. Like a snowball down a mountain, or a carnival balloon, like a carousel that’s turning, running rings around the moon. Like a clock whose hands are sweeping past the minutes of its face, and the world is like an apple whirling silently in space – like the circles that you find in the windmills of your mind.” [The Windmills of Your Mind, 1968]