somewhere to be


IMG_4027POSTCARD #165: New Delhi: I’d like it to be a windswept hut made of bamboo on a beach on an island, but we’re looking for a place to rent in South Delhi – a small house or a duplex. Right now I’m being driven around at high speed by the agent looking at houses, buildings, one after another which all seem to be part of the same interconnected vast network of habitations; neighbours pass through your room on the way to somewhere else. Arrive at another street, get out of the car, go inside, there’s a staircase, corridors and empty rooms, nothing here. Stare at the wall… a painted flat surface. Can I see us here? Not impossible, what are the criteria? Searching for the ‘right’ place – try to estimate ceiling heights… windows, doors, floors. Birdsong from a nearby tree enters the empty house in an irregular chord of strangely related notes… walk over to the window. Look at what’s out there; the agent talking about this and that, and all I can think of is what Hipmonkey said: there is no ‘out-there’ out there that’s separate from what’s in ‘here’.

Outside invades inside, I’m back in the agent’s car and we’re off to the next place, slooshing and splooshing through the crowded streets at breakneck speed, talking as we’re going (she does this driving thing for a living), her livelihood is set in this river of noisy, crazy traffic that’s consistently doing unexpected things. The urgency of it all going past too fast… I can’t look, it’s too much, avert my gaze to the side window instead, and see out there, the reflection of myself in the glass shop windows flashing by opposite, focus on the shadowy face looking back at me from one window to the next, somehow staying in the same position – it’s the world that’s rushing by, not me.

Trying (but failing) to understand the Buddhist term: sati-sampajañña, clear comprehension (the absolute clarity of understanding), whilst stumbling over all the indistinct, half-seen, misunderstood truths, and eventually I realize it means the clear comprehension of everything, including the confusion; the mistake, the mix-up, the puzzleheadedness. The fact that I don’t understand this is what’s causing this problem. Don’t ‘do’ anything with it… I see it now. An epiphany, revelation, insight; the experience of total confusion – random things just seem to fit, the recognition that all related parts and everything come together, anyway, according to their circumstances; parallels link parts of the story together with a kind of inevitability.

It’s an all-inclusive world, the ‘self’ comes with the software. I’m playing a role integrated with one whole consciousness – dimensions within dimensions – acting the part; being this person living in these rooms, being that person in those rooms, finding my way through this curious illusion, looking for words to describe that it’s a construct through and through. No way out, I know because I stopped looking for the way out a long time ago. In the 30 years of learning how to get along here in Asian society, I think I’ve let go of that remembered fiction about where I come from – migrants from Europe have experienced this in North America since the 17th Century. Long ago I learned, involuntarily at first, to be at home with other people’s preferences and relinquish my own choices, in time forgetting how I figured out how to be comfortable with it. So when there’s an opportunity to have a place of my own, I return to the old default, surprised to see it’s still there, and how shall I do this? Let’s see, the bed goes here, the table there, and my chair…

‘We are members of a vast cosmic orchestra in which each living instrument is essential to the complementary and harmonious playing of the whole.’ [J. Allen Boone]

————————-

Note: ‘there is no out-there out there…’ sourced in the Hipmonkey site (What the bleep do we know – 3rd video down)
Photo: fishermen’s shelter, Krabi, Thailand (from M’s collection)

17 thoughts on “somewhere to be

  1. Yeah, we need to make sense of everything. Exclude the nonsense. Exclude the possibility there is neither sense nor nonsense. Create order. Deny chaos. Tell ourselves there’s such a thing as place and we have one. Maybe it’s true. If there’s such a thing as ‘truth’.

    • Agree, once you’ve excluded all that, there’s not a lot left to make sense of. Then you see you’ve got to get down to tiny subtle things that are likely to get blown away in the wind any moment. and it’s there, definitely there… now I’ve gone and forgotten what I was talking about, let’s see…

  2. I heard a priest say in order to really believe in God you have to have questioned his existence or doubted it. I believe that holds true for everything. Even the concept of a Bhuddist “nothing”.
    I been circling the drayin of faith and doubt. I’m not sure but they might both go in the same direction. I mean if you have to get the point in life where you ask WTF is the point and your doubt that anything has any meaning or significance that state hopelessness gives your life meaning and I undersrandjng the it seems fitting to think of The God, intelligence, nothingness or what you want to THINK it in as having a sick sense of humor as TVs metaphor can be easily seen as compassion if you look far enough into it.

    • It’s my understanding of it too, turning everything outside in or inside out – a process that happens by itself. Was it J Campbell who wrote A Hero With A Thousand Faces? A natural process. Faith gets deconstructed to such an extent nobody can remember how to to put it back together again. There’s a new sense of God that arises once the whole thing has come to nothing totally. The only thing is you don’t know sometimes if that falling to pieces thing has got much further to go or not…

      • TV was spell checks way of saying “It’s”
        Totally. I been telling “nothing” or “God” ,what ever you want to THINK it in a name, that I’m missing sonething and I wish you would let me know what it is without having to walk on hot coals to figure it out because I’m past the point of tired, reaching out, giving up…
        I think of this Dude Moses and how most everyone THINKS of him as some holy blessing. I’m not saying what he was or wasn’t but I’m speculating that on his trek leading the Israelites across the desert that at times he must have been like “God, really, Why Me” and he probably wasn’t the best company because I don’t think the conventional appreciation of the word “happy” was part of his resume.
        The way humanity THINKS God and the pseudo reality of God is a total dichotomy. I mean his Son if you believe that story freaking was tortured and hung on Cross. Most of his closest friends were tortured and killed on a cross. Some upside down. I mean you really have to be a masochist f$@k to want to get close to God, nothing, nirvana, enlightenment or what ever way you want to THINK it because if you could see it instead of think it. In order to get “there” what ever you THINK you are has to be destroyed and come on, Living in the dream you think is kind of nice. Who would want to KNOW God if they new before what it would take to get there.

      • at times he must have been like “God, really, Why Me”

        Well, you go hiking up Mount Horeb to chat to a fire god during the aftermath of Santorini blowing the f*** out of multiple Mediterranean civilisations and chances are it’s gonna end in tears.

        Then He tells you that you’ve gotta slaughter Midianites and such because they’re naughty in His eyes, so you go right ahead and genocide the poor b… – leaving a few virgins for Him of course.

        Next thing you know you’ve signed off on a Covenant but didn’t read the fine print that says your people will be mercilessly persecuted by God and man down to the nth generation.

        I guess Egyptian nobles just don’t know how to raise kids they find in bullrushes or they’d know to not play with burning bushes or talk to strange gods.

      • Yeh, well Tommy I had to edit a bit of your comment out because it was a bit too much. Please take care about what you’re saying. I’m sorry you’re having a bad time over this right now and well maybe I’ve been there too… What happens is the mind covers over all the hard really hurtful stuff after you get out the other end and everything gets to be back in balance. For me, ‘God’ is not something I talk about very often. The Buddha didn’t have anything to say about it. There’s the holding-on thing (either to pleasant or unpleasant things) acting like a magnet. So that’s got to be given some ease, a letting-go of unnecessary stuff and in the end it’s discovered that the way to God – if that’s what it is, the Way is by looking inside in the here and now. That’s all. Nothing else.

  3. If you THINK about the idea of a word being offensives. As though a word has done magical power to invoke a spell on someone that creates harm then the idea of THINKING or not thinking God, Buddha, Alah and whatever else you want to think must mean a lot to how you think.

    • I can hear you shouting from here Tommy. Sorry I got you upset about deleting part of your comment. I didn’t say it was offensive, I said it was a bit too much, but you’ll say that’s wordplay and it is, sorry again words are like that. So there’s not much more to be said really, is there?

  4. Even among so many fine posts this one stands out for me.

    Among these paragraphs here this one stands out for me:

    “Trying (but failing) to understand the Buddhist term: sati-sampajañña, clear comprehension (the absolute clarity of understanding), whilst stumbling over all the indistinct, half-seen, misunderstood truths, and eventually I realize it means the clear comprehension of everything, including the confusion; the mistake, the mix-up, the puzzleheadedness. The fact that I don’t understand this is what’s causing this problem. Don’t ‘do’ anything with it… I see it now. An epiphany, revelation, insight; the experience of total confusion – random things just seem to fit, the recognition that all related parts and everything come together, anyway, according to their circumstances; parallels link parts of the story together with a kind of inevitability.”

    Perhaps you even know/guess why.

    • Thanks Ben for reminding me. The whole thing about writing posts in a blog is about describing events after they occur – same with any writing of course – it’s just that the blog medium is so immediate. It provides the writer an opportunity to reflect on how something occurred in the recent past or more distant past with hindsight. So, yes I “know/guess why” there are actions that create situations which lead to circumstances confused and we suffer from that. It’s cause/effect but knowing there is a space before the action takes place where one can step in and consider carefully what the best thing to do might be – mindfulness. In the longer term this careful observing can be cultivated and things are seen as they are.

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