POSTCARD #168: New Delhi: There’s a little Assamese girl who lives next door, looks Japanese but speaks an Indo-Tibetan language. I can’t communicate with her well so we sit on the floor and I give her a few small objects including a brightly coloured gift bag. She opens the bag and puts the objects in the bag then closes it. A moment later she opens the bag, looks inside and the objects are still there, worlds inside worlds. Closes the bag and they disappear again. She repeats the action again and again, develops it by opening the bag and bringing the objects out one by one and giving them to me.
This curious thing about internalizing objects; the contents of our houses, the contents of our minds, and the news here is we are moving house. The house agent informed us on Diwali day; fortuitous, they’d say here – the eleventh day of the eleventh month, and the symbol of the doorway contained in the number 11. The passageway opening and repeated (11/11) as if there were two doors, the old door, the new door and we’re moving from one into the other. The event, conceptualised as a moving-into action, brings to mind the common idea that all things are ‘in’… the child in the womb of the mother, we are contained beings, somehow.
We want to hide in the prepositional form ‘in’… language gets lost in the mystery, can only describe it in technical terms; capacity, volume. We are in a traffic jam, we’re in a bad mood – in a good mood. Always there’s this feeling we want to go ‘in’, it’s a spatial metaphor, inner/outer. We seek refuge ‘in’ our spiritual world… we are ‘in’ the middle of the Pacific Ocean, even though surrounded by space. Everything is ‘in’… I’m ‘in’ space. Space is everywhere, I’m sunk in it, space is submerged in me… I cannot escape from it. Mind is contained in consciousness. Consciousness is a spatial thing. Contemplating something directional that isn’t spatial; dimensions extending in a non spatial sense… for a moment, it holds my attention.
The moving-into is a transformational event, a rebirth. Everything is deconstructed, taken apart, the pieces are wrapped in paper, packed in boxes, placed in the removals van, taken out at the new house, removed from the box, unwrapped from the paper and things are reconstructed in their new setting. Something is forgotten, something new is acquired. The completeness of it evolves over time and becomes the new context within which we engage and interact, like actors on a stage. The story will come to an end some day and we will have to pack and move on again. I can see it coming but that seems like a long way off right now.
“The moment you start talking you create a verbal universe, a universe of words, ideas, concepts and abstractions, interwoven and interdependent, most wonderfully generating, supporting and explaining each other, and yet all without essence or substance, mere creations of the mind. Words create words, Reality is Silent.” [Nisargadatta Maharaj]