POSTCARD #128: Delhi: After I finished writing this post I went back through the draft and changed it so much I forgot how it originally started and how it ended. Decided then the best thing to do is accept that this is not the beginning of the story; this is an entry point in a story that goes on and on and obviously it starts with Jiab’s photos of the visit to the coast at Chennai (Madras) South India, and the perfect silhouette of flying seabird upper right.
I came to Madras more than 30 years ago, and now remembering how things were then. I must have been convinced it was of real value at that time but the fact that it was all forgotten about later says that this was mind-created… things appear then disappear. So now I’m returning to the place I set off from but not the beginning – too remote and lost in time. Returning to this as a starting place riding the waves, flip from one journey to the next; it’s all connected. It’s not the destination, it’s the journey to get there – the Path is the goal.
And sometimes in the process of creativity you have to destroy all kinds of things you really like. Deconstruct everything to the point where you still kind of half-remember how to put it together again but usually it ends up as something very different from what you intended and surprisingly, somehow better! Sometimes, though, it can’t be reassembled in any satisfactory form at all, remains as fragments of rememberings and has to be let go of completely.
Mostly it’s thinking about it, thoughts, a function of the mind that synchronizes with the sensory data received and the world and objects appear the way they do. Fortunate or unfortunate, we may find ourselves with the karma/vipaka of received knowledge misinterpreted – maybe adrift on a boat without a sail, depending solely on the happenstance of things. There’s sadness about remembering how things could have been and having to accept they’re gone.
At first I thought how beautiful these little fish are … then I realized they had all been alive just a few hours before this photo was taken. Now they are dead. It’s like this in all fish markets everywhere I’ve been in Asia. People look at, feel, examine the animal they intend to consume, negotiate a fair price and it becomes the evening meal.
I remember my niece M when she was very small, crouching down close to a plastic bucket of water containing a beautiful yellow fish that mommy had bought at the market and she was watching it die as the man whacked it on the head a few times with the wooden handle of something designed for the job. Beautiful fish wrapped it up in plastic and then in a bag, sold! This was part of her education.
It’s difficult for me because I was brought up with fish and meat already chopped up and prepared for display in the supermarket. This is how it is, in the West we choose not to think about that, meanwhile the majority of the world sees the truth; the whole animal, head, tail; fully aware of what they’re doing. Yes in the West we decide not to think about that – even though thinking about all kinds of other really weird stuff from time to time – so we can decide not to think, we can stop thinking when we need to.
This is why I try to give that great turmoil of thoughts a rest for a while… the whole thing. Stop thinking. The state of no thought, no language, no images, a great emptiness for a while; but eventually another thought comes along. I examine that for as long as it takes and let that one go too, then return to the state of no thought. Vipassana meditation, yoniso manasikara: proper, wise, or appropriate attention; skillful, wise, or critical reflection. Purposeful, systematic and methodical thought (please take a look at this link).
But then of course we all continue to eat fish. In UK it’s deep fried in batter with chips (French Fries), pretty basic but tasty. It comes in all forms. I remember walking through a fish market in Yokohama with a friend named Curtis Cairns and Curtis stopped me to look at a whole fish on display, pinkish grey in color, “I think that’s a Grouper’ he said, but I’d need to have them cut off the head, tail and part of the skin, take a slice of it and place it in a polystyrene tray held with Clingfilm with a barcode label and then I could recognize it.”
“… thinking I am this and you are that is what separates you or I from everything and we become something. In that something the ego is and as it is everything isn’t. That dream of thought the ego “knows” is the making of a reality that isn’t but thinks it is. So my ability to walk with one and see the other is what allows me the ability to see love in everything. The love I see is the love or “God” I have. The thought I think is the making of a reflection that wants and lives in need. The thought is an expectation of something to come. That something though isn’t real and what is real is left behind as the thought chases something it needs” [tommyg1231’s Blog “Tell Me Why?”]
Just a note about Curtis Cairns. Hey Curtis I lost you! It’s been years. If you happen to read this, please be in touch…
I often say that when you “see” it in one way you see it in every way. Everything points to “it”. It being the one of everything. The problem we have is the mind wants to know it and in that knowing, “it” is lost to the minute intelligence the brain or thought can comprehend.
Part of my frustration with OSHA, Raman Maharashi, Buddhist, Christianity or any other sect or religion is they are so hooked on the word as though “thinking” they know the word is a answer when it isn’t, It is the question, the “word” isnt and it’s not till you look at the word and let go of it and as you look inside yourself so that you can see it. You can’t know it, you can only see it. Some people “see” the word from a spontaneous shift in perspective. They somehow find a way to see past the “thought” that thinks it knows. Which is the illusion of “I am”. So letting go of “I am” and seeing what is, which is everything and of course you can’t know everything so you have to have the courage to let go of who you think you are “the ego” to become “what is” which is everything. It’s that surrender of thinking you know that gives you a peace that transcends any understanding the mind can think. It is the death of “I am” in life that Is the awareness or birth that knows you never die. So you have to die before you die to be aware of the eternity with in you.
Thanks TommyG. I think I agree with what you’re saying here. I’m interested in how that which separates you or I from everything means we become something… a reality that isn’t but thinks it is. I’m interested in how this allows your ability to walk with one and see the other, and this allows you to see the love in everything…
Apologies I think I replied to the wrong comment. This is in reply to your comment dated May 15, 2015. I understand what you’re saying about “seeing” it in one way and you see it in every way. And the problem is the ‘it’ becomes reduced to a thought level that can be comprehended. I’m interested in that “surrender of thinking you know that gives you a peace that transcends any understanding the mind can think….”
Am able to steal a rainy dawn alone and just be with birds. No thought and then immediately write the experiences of no thought so thought again.. So renewing to be here now after so long.
Love Jiab’s photos. Perhaps it is better to see how we get the food we eat. Not a total vegetarian yet, I fool.myself to thinking chickens and fish okay. But they are not okay — just not will to give them up yet. Don’t feel good eating them but can’t find adequate substitutes for husband. My petitioning for animal rights a bit hypocritical if I am still eating some of them. One of these days… Love the feel of your post. Glad BP is down and tests results coming in normal. Maybe a temporary respite.
Thanks Ellen. Good to have that time alone and with nature, being with the birds. The silence of no-thought, or a total focus on the nuance of birdsong… for a time. I’m not saying anything about vegetarianism; cutting up vegetables is a bit of a sacrifice really. Vegetables and fruit may not have the obvious characteristics of sentient beings but we may be eating their reproductive organs along with everything else. There’s no way out… let’s face it.
So I feel a bit unkind about saying these things about Jiab’s photos, I just somehow got lost in so many issues in this post.
BP is down and everything is pretty normal apart from body weight. The puzzle is what caused the crisis, sudden rise in BP, palpitations… then it becomes stable. Still more tests to do….
Sorry more tests but good BP is down. Hope all results are good. Re: They too are sentient beings. The Russians have done experiments with electrodes showing they respond to certain people in distinct ways according to person’s behavior to other plants. I just think if people were to see how the food they eat is slaughtered they could not eat meat. I couldn’t. As to a comment above Mooji talks about dying before we die. The death of the ego.
I’ve heard about tests like this on plants, really quite shocking and you have to start thinking what this is all about. Most people pay no attention, because they are dominated by ‘mind’, like watching a movie in the head self-created.
I tried to find the Mooji video about dying before we die and found this ( click the link, it’s about 30 mins). I don’t know if it’s the one you were referring to but it really stopped me in my tracks. Thank you Ellen for leading me here…
That video is very good. Other times Mooji talks of a man who was dying saying he wanted to die before he died. But that is in the middle of a long Satsang and no way to find it. Anyhow this clip is very good. He is having a 7 day silent retreat in Zmar available online, I think I am going to pay to be in real time with it. I expect I will not change radically by participating but every little bit helps. This clip you found is excellent. Glad it hit you on the mark.
I like what you wrote about sometimes in the creative process you have to destroy something you really like. You may have this one thing that is striking, but you can’t fit it with the whole… The whole becomes more important than any one clever piece of it… It reminds me, everything is rendered more beautiful by its placement in the context of a whole, than on it’s own…
Loved the joke from Curtis at the end. About the fish in cellophane. Hilarious! Thank you for the laugh…
Glad the BP is down, though mysteries abound.
This is it, I have an entire library of discarded bits, “this one thing that is striking, but you can’t fit it with the whole…” Sometime I go in there and find something that suggests something I’d been thinking about just that minute and then with a direction in mind, select other discarded bits, delete them from the library and make a new file, build an entirely different story structure around the bits. Sometimes it works; sometimes it ends up back in the library of discarded bits – isn’t it a process of finding the jigsaw piece you’d been looking for?
I’ve got a whole list of appointments with the doc to get through yet, let’s see.
Yeh, Curtis. He was a genius, then one day he disappeared…