looking out and looking in


IMG_0627POSTCARD 143: Delhi-Bangkok-Chiang Mai flight: The flight from Delhi arrives at Bangkok a bit behind schedule so we have to move along quickly to the transit desk and transfer to the domestic terminal for the next flight to Chiang Mai. In-flight bags on a small trolley, and we’re zooming along on the moving walkways in this celestial structure of steel and glass. As yet, passports are unstamped, les frontaliers, the no-man’s land between country borders. We’re unregistered, no identity, invisible data.

It’s always the journey to get there… after I get to where I think is ‘there’, there’s another ‘there’ to get to, and all of it leads back to ‘here’, an ‘everywhere’ place made up of everywhere else… then it’s extending away again. It can only be the journey itself, not the destination – the Path is the goal, this is where we live. Isolated scenes from parts of the surroundings seen flashing by as we’re soaring along the high speed walkways; smooth as swans gliding on the surface of a lake. Two thousand miles of transportation corridors from Delhi to here, flight corridors connected end-to-end, through which we travel in the sensory cloud of transient ‘now’ consciousness looking out and looking in. There is nowhere that consciousness isn’t present. Consciousness is everywhere, so vast – indeed everywhere is included in consciousness, “And the deep lane insists on the direction”, an extended corridor projected out towards the designated destination where everything in the perspective it creates seems to disappear in a vanishing point.

An incidental episode of familiarity comes along… the déjà vu of cups of coffee taken at these restaurants, bars where they have wifi. Have I been here before? Must be the last time I came through, or was it the time before that? Was I going – or was I coming back, transit to New Delhi? I spoke with some people there, if I happened to meet them now, I wouldn’t remember. No time this time, we’re at immigration, passport stamp thump! through to security, take off my belt, shoes, my watch. Laptops out of bags and put them into the tray together with my phone to go through the X-ray machine.

Just then, the phone rings… reflex movement to reach for it, but it’s too far and the security officer shakes her head… let it go through. Phone ringing happily as it rumbles on its rollers into the machine. I pass through the X-ray, muffled ringtone continues then lovely ascending increased volume as it comes out the other side. I want to pick it up but people are waiting, a bit harrassed; there’s the putting-on-of-the-belt and shoes. Security officials seem unmoved by the tremendous ascending 4D heavenly ringtone, probably happens all the time… eventually I get the phone. Hello?’ It’s M, my Thai niece: Where are you now Toong Ting? I tell her we are boarding the plane in a minute and will be in Chiang Mai in about one hour. Silence for a moment, then she says: I make choc-o-late-cake. Clearly punctuated percussive articulation, she speaks English as a second language. I tell her, oh nice! and try to explain how the phone got X-rayed as she was calling me, but she can’t find anything to say to that… attempting to find a link with something else it could be related to, mind travels away with this information. No time to discuss, we have to go now, bye. Speedwalking through to the Departure gate and they’re boarding just as we get there; processed, find seats, strapped in and ready for take-off… engines roar, climbing again up into higher altitudes.

You hide me in your cloak of Nothingness
Reflect my ghost in your glass of Being
I am nothing, yet appear: transparent dream
Where your eternity briefly trembles [Rumi]

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20 thoughts on “looking out and looking in

  1. What stuck with me as I listened to that on my cell (I happen to really enjoy the ability to use the voice feature on my cell to listen instead of read) is of course the journey is the destination. I kind of wrote about that in my own way in my last blog entry. I find its so easy to see and not know that the the journey is the destination. To actually, though, be aware of it in a conscious realization is something, I believe, is not possible as that “journey” we are looking at is the nothing of non-duality that becomes a reflection in dualiry.
    As I often say the connotation of enlightenment beimg some mystical attainment of Non duality is impossible as you can’t be in a thought of non duality. To me, that is the mind wanting to know the no mind or nothing of non duality. The screen that allows the movie to be shown on. The movie can never know the screen that it is reflected on.
    I believe getting to the point of realizing it isn’t possible to comprehend it is the letting go of the mind that gives us a reprieve from the fear we have of wanting to know. The mind wants to “think” it is but in essence “thinking” itself is duality so how can the cage that creates itself escape itself.
    It can’t, and in the failure of realizing it can’t is what is, letting go.
    I often see that struggle to realize you can’t know and you have to let go of that “wanting” in order to be which as indicative of a book and movie I saw as kid titled “Flowers For Algenon”. His rise to intelligence from the feeble mind he came from and then to know that he Is destined to return to that feeble mind and as he will loose the Awareness he was given is a hurt and live in one moment.

    • The tendency always is to see beyond present circumstances, as you say, the mind wants to “think” it, and that’s not it. So we end up seeking the indirect approach – still gets nowhere, because of the seeking, but it’s likely we happen upon an empty space that is observable. It’s not anything, can be an incidental awareness of one’s surroundings. Without directing anything, begin to see there are examples of the empty space naturally occurring. This could be an indication. “Much like The Wizard of Oz and how the Tin Man, The Scarecrow, The Lion and Dorothy all found the answers to their problems in their journey, so do we in our journey. The path of our life is the destination. We are where we need to be.”
      In the early days I used to go to Buddhist retreats and often I’d be listening to a talk that was suddenly insightful, all the pieces seemed to fit and just as quickly, the whole thing gets forgotten as soon as I move out of that place. I asked one of the monks about this and he said it’s not forgotten, it remains or has had an effect in the deeper ‘knowing’. Ok, so I have to take his word for it because for me there’s no conscious memory of it – and in those days I did have that sense of trust. Since that time, I’m aware of the insight/forgetting thing happening and thinking more and more there’s a cumulative thing going on, a kind of development.
      Nice idea to use voice recognition, I must try it. I’m interested in “Flowers For Algenon” and see it’s available on Kindle, so I’m thinking I’ll download it. Thanks for your input…

      • That’s interesting to me that you mentioned having brief epiphanies of awareness that fade into the soup of duality. I have been in a almost tortuous cycle of that although it’s not inspired in a conventional sense. Part of me wants to see it as a beacon of spiritual growth even though it is quite literally killing me.
        I know this sounds bizarre or maybe ego driven but what you said about the Monk telling you it is not forgotten but put in the bank of our consciousness for a “deeper knowing”, that is exactly what was communicated to me not long ago after one of these “Flowers For Algenon” moments. As I was in one of these recent periods of clarity and this wealth of awareness was surrounding me I knew from past experience that the confidence of being in this light of awareness was not going to last and although I use the term “asked” it wasn’t spoken but it was in a non verbal way. A communication or dialogue you know is real but it isn’t tangible in a auditory sense.well in this period of “light” I could see it starting to fade and as it did I didn’t have fear of losing it but more a sadness of seeing it dim and in that communication with something more then me it “said” the same thing as what the monk said to you. I think of trying to explain that communication with out words and what I see know is it is more about how words seem to give the mind a sense of knowing but in awareness knowing is before the word so the feelings we experience in awarenes are not born from the word of it, the peace or knowledge is before the word and the word or expression thought wants to take credit for it so in essence that is why we know before we think we know and words are meaningless.
        I could use words for a lifetime and still not come close to pointing at what it is Im trying to explain.

      • Words snatch at things, pin them down and try to get them to resemble other things that have already been identified in the software memory files of Mind. Any ‘new’ experience is subject to being assimilated, placed in a context and the actuality of it is filtered, obscured, cloaked. As you say, ‘words seem to give the mind a sense of knowing but in awareness knowing is before the word.’ Conscious experience is perceived in an instant, framed in language as soon as we start to describe it (to ourselves, even) and the luminosity begins to fade immediately… contemplating the small window that appears, due to the time lapse between ‘knowing’ and knowing we know.

      • What I “saw” when the light started to fade, was that even though I won’t see the path to follow in mind as I see it so clearly in the light. It’s okay because everything is going the way it is suppose too. When I saw so clearly this last time, it made me cry at how beautiful it is. It reminds now as I look back at it in a fog of thought to have faith without knowing.

  2. I’d have told M the security guards saw her words inside the phone waiting to get out. But I’m a terrible tease.

    There is nowhere that consciousness isn’t present. Consciousness is everywhere, so vast – indeed everywhere is included in consciousness

    And everything you do sends a quiver right through Indra’s Net.
    Or is it Indra’s Net quivering you?

    • Who’s to say… it’s all of a quiver. M falls into this thoughtfull hypnosis nowadays, immersed in possibilities, becomes deaf, dumb and blind… I wake her gently.

  3. I forgot the check your whereabouts when eden was away. She flew on the 15th from Chiang Mai to Bangkok to Paris to NYC – a long day 🙂 You overlapped in Chaing Mai for a few hours, it seems. She really loved Thailand and wants to return again asap – heart touched by the land, the people, the food – oh yes, the food, she said! Thank you for your captures of real time flow. ring ring!

    • Thanks Marga, ships that pass in the night, a near/close encounter or something that reminds us of the actuality of our electronic thought world? I feel the same way as Eden about Chiang Mai, let me know next time she’s around, I’ll be there again in early October. Always either coming or going…

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