random continuity


POSTCARD #103: Delhi: Traffic congestion at the market area and there’s this old black and yellow taxi in front, with red lettering on the back. I take a photo of the misspelling of ‘keep distence’ (distance) and ‘power break’ (brake). It’s this tradition they have here of keeping everyone informed with written messages on moving vehicles [check out Google’s image page: Horn Please]. Also the curious illusion of the ‘OK TATA’ slogan appearing in the back window of the taxi as if it were stuck on with tape. A closer look tells me it’s actually painted on the back of the yellow truck in front, seen through the windscreen of the inside of the taxi. The OK TATA’ slogan is everywhere; OK (ti-kae ठीक in Hindi), keep your distance… that’s close enough.

The car moves slowly through the market area. Delhi streets are compelling, always something going on. My view of the world is a sequence of unrelated events except that the movement of the car seems to link them together in a random continuity of space/time. A curious connectedness that seems to make sense; it’s all of a oneness [not-twoism]. The frame of reference extended so far it’s all-inclusive; everything out there is connected to ‘me’ in here; the truth of separation and the illusion of I/ you/ he/ she/ it, in the place where we appear to be.

Car moves through the crowd and there’s a woman at a bus stop; suddenly she goes into a whole complete turn of the body, graceful extending of the neck and head… completes the movement just as I pass in the car. Can’t think what she’s doing… then afterwards I realize she must have been looking to see if the bus was coming.

The elongated, ambulating long-limbed walk of a man wearing a gathered-up white cotton garment around the legs and jacket on top. Exactly at the moment I see him, he steps down from the high pavement to street level and there’s deep bounce of limbs and musculature – stretchy ligaments taking the strain.

At the traffic lights, a very thin man slows down on his big old bicycle and his naked brown foot reaches down to come to a stop; leather shoe on dusty street… pause, rearrangement of limbs; sitting on bicycle seat, allow for distribution of weight, rest in this new posture and wait for the lights to change.

There’s a deep familiarity about this… coping with human form, weight, corporeality – I know how the man on the bicycle feels. I experience it subjectively; I am a mind/body organism, inseparable part of the whole construct. It’s something mechanized, organic with articulated joints enclosed in a warm pulsating fluidity and the sensation of the breath in nasal cavities.

Seeing the events without the story like screenshots in a sequence; a few gestures and there’s a pause, taking a moment to receive the data… mind decides whether it’s important or not. It’s as if there’s a small seed of wisdom buried deep in the layers of unknowing; lying dormant, waiting for things to evolve and the right conditions to be there in order to wake up.

“What you are basically, deep deep down and far, far in, is simply the fabric and structure of existence itself.” [Alan Watts] (source openobserver.wordpress.com)


2 thoughts on “random continuity

  1. Your description of the connectedness that was felt extending through all the vignettes you observed unfolding around you, even in the absence of their stories, reinforced the dreamlike quality of things. I was struck by the way the “stories” fill in all the cracks between the flickering frames of movement, meld them into something seemingly more “real” than it really is. Everything is baked in the oven of the mind– congealed into a continuous loaf. The mind is expert on constructing lines from points, smoothing the data. These fabrications are a long line of courtiers lined up before that small seed of wisdom, that presence amidst all the unknowing that wonders what is beyond the back of the line, beyond the horizon…


    • Thanks Michael, I’m interested in what you say about ‘that presence amidst all the unknowing that wonders what is beyond the back of the line…’. There’s the recognition that it’s the kind of odd continuity seen in dreams – the mind stitches it all together and connects things that don’t normally connect in the ordinary conscious state. There’s also the idea that seeing it like this, is witnessing something about the world, as it is, without the mind-construct doing what it does. And that’s what’s ‘… beyond the horizon’, as you say.

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