POSTCARD #189: DELHI: Early morning in an airport coffee shop space while Jiab is checking-in for her flight to Mumbai. Looking around and up above at this steel glass and tiled environment. Sometimes all I can do is find a quiet place and just sit. Look inwards… it’s an unreal world. There’s this pain in my head, but I have a magic medicine pill that sends the pain away. It’s gone… and a part of my mental functioning gone with it. Where’d it go? I think it went into another room in my head where there’s a party going on all the time day and night. I can hear the music beat throbbing constantly, but can’t recognize the music being played, no worries, the main thing is I can’t feel the pain; besides, it’s more like stress than pain. Sometimes I have no stress at all; sitting alert and mindful like the Buddha. Other times I feel the energy of that stress so strongly it brings attention to the thin membrane separating me from the pain – it could rupture any moment now. Wait and see if it’ll be this time?
Allow all things to pass, continue to sit like the Buddha upright in a chair, quiet and alert to everything that’s going on. A few tables down from me in the coffee shop there’s a teen-aged girl with head and body hunched over her iPhone device all I see is the reflected color glow from the screen on her face. The colour of her eyes sparkle with light that’s continually changing; flashes of blue, pink, and everything goes orange. She is speaking with her friend, loudspeaker on, so she has her hands free to work on the keyboard and smoke her cigarette secretly, and here’s the thing, she’s writing messages on her phone and speaking with her friend and smoking a cigarette, all at the same time. Multi-tasking on social networking FB, twitter, SMS, very noisy texting noise: poo, paw, poo, paw, pee, pay, pay, poo ; digital tones I feel are as sharp as auditory stabs on this frequency that all digital sounds, phone-ring-tones and alerts seem to inhabit.
The voice of her friend at the other end is really LOUD. Must be she’s calling from another party environment similar to the one going on in my head, all kinds of party noises – in fact I can’t tell the difference… what’s happening to me? Is she calling from inside my head? Disregard that thought. She has to shout to be heard: Yeh, I know her, ahna got natheen to say to her, that back-stabbin sawn offa beech. The girl here says something really loud in agreement and they seem to acknowledge this observation as being cool. Maybe I can seek what peace there is in the space surrounding this noise, up to the ceiling structure, the bigger picture, the larger space within which all this is contained, and already the sound of the girl’s phone feels like a tiny diamond or sparkling jewel.
The intrusive lunge of the girlfriend’s voice into my space again brings me back to the way things are; it’s a razor sharp Samurai sword. Language syllables shrill and piercing sound waves suddenly slice my head and upper body into pieces scattered around. The sense of bien-être quivers and gasps in a kind of death. These are the battles fought in the mind.
Jiab comes with her cabin luggage on wheels behind; small oriental, everything compact and a unit of information, we say goodbye at the security line and I make my way back. Out through the crowds and into the car, squeezing through traffic against the flow and wondering why then realizing we are making a sudden U- turn.
The whole landscape is just gone, pieces and parts of objects recognizable from faraway events in history when huge towers tumbled to the ground in seconds, as if all the concrete and steel had turned to dust instantly. The population just can’t figure it out, the psychological effect… it’s too huge. Time to move on from here. Only clouds of dust now, the effect it has on everyone is the same as the metaphor; devastation is all that remains.
If one is a true learner of the Way, one does not search for the faults of the world, but rather speedily applies oneself to attain genuine insight. If one only can see with perfect clarity, then all is completed. [Rinzai]