POSTCARD 148: Delhi: bare feet on marble floor surface, pad-pad-pad, darkness in the front room, no daylight coming in through the glass patio door. What’s the time? Blinding light of my phone left on the desk: 5.15 am. I know my way by feel, through between furniture, mindful not to stub my toe on chair legs, and unwilling to switch on the light that hurts the eyes. Gentle with the mind/body organism waking up after having been parked, horizontalised in sleep mode for 8 hours. I know where the ceiling fan switch is… ting-ting-ting and I can depend on the laptop screen to illuminate the room – switch on the machine and it’s like a car headlight in the room, I need to turn my head away to avoid the glare.
There’s a pair of prescription sunglasses I use for this harsh brightness. Peer at the screen, scroll down through Word Press Reader and discover: Zen Flash: Tibetan Singing Bowl Meditation: Session 2 (27:30), click on the link. Plug in my ear buds and enter a huge, wonderful landscape of sound, space and far-away things – an entire panorama inside my head. But is that some conversation in the background or people chatting outside the house? Here in New Delhi there’s something going on 24/7. Is there a dog barking in the distance or is that on the sound track too? It seems at first that I need to differentiate, the ting-ting-ting sound is not the sound track, it’s the ceiling fan. At first I feel I have to be able to know what’s happening inside and outside of the listening zone, which is which? Then it doesn’t matter, it’s okay, accept it all as a oneness.
Back to the screen, open iPhoto library, and there’s the pic taken at Khan Market, a popular area; bicycle propped up on its stand in an alleyway. Left in the middle of the road, why? The owner must be somewhere nearby. Tibetan Singing Bowl sounds swirl around this bicycle, empty sack tied on the back, with a box on the front. There’s a presence of the owner – choosing to leave the bicycle in plain sight… he must know that everyone knows it’s his. It’s like the whole world is one large room; domestic life without walls, centuries of open-air living. There’s this quality about India – if you’ve ever been here you’ll know what I’m talking about. It’s not about visiting ancient sites or jaw-dropping experiences that fill you with awe, it can be simply the fragrance of incense, candlewax, ironed cotton clothes; an aura arising from something olfactory, the strange familiarity of cooking smells.
Fragments of people’s lives; a hugeness of ordinary things, a sense of loving-kindness and well being in the millions of every-day events taking place inside homes. Inside my home where we’ve lived for nearly five years, the Tibetan Singing Bowl Meditation track has birdsong, a sound like an aircraft passing overhead, voices outside quietly whispering. I look up to find the music has stopped, sounds from the world enter the room, faint daylight coming in through the glass patio doors. What’s the time? 6.00 am.
I am restless. I am athirst for far-away things.
My soul goes out in a longing to touch the skirt of the dim distance.
O Great Beyond, O the keen call of thy flute!
I forget, I ever forget, that I have no wings to fly,
that I am bound in this spot evermore.
I relate completely to the initial sensation of wanting to understand what is part of the sound track, and what is part of the world outside. The mind wants to say, I’m having this experience, and I don’t want it to be muddied by another. I want it to be pure. We’re always trying to keep our experiences pure, but in doing so we’re never having the experience we’re having. The only way to have the pure experience is to let it all tumble into and through us… to let the resistance to bits and pieces of it fall away…
Amazing what one finds within arm’s reach!
This is it, the answer is right here. Trying to keep our good experiences pure, and avoiding any bad experiences. The energy used in resistance to things we don’t like is not helpful. I like the way you describe opening up to it all: ‘Let it all tumble into and through us… let the resistance to bits and pieces of it fall away…’
We do some things so very alike you and I, even have similar thoughts. 🙂 Oddly reassuring.
Inevitable, maybe… I don’t know how long it’s been, a year or so? And in a sense, working together in this not-so-huge blogosphere?
I see from the ‘following’ list it’s around 2 years in fact…