POSTCARD #193: NEW DELHI: Watering the plants upstairs on the roof terrace and there’s this small one looking so simple and symmetrical, extraordinary. I take a photo of it and zoom into the wonderful experience of a life form in a different kind of temporality. It’s springtime here and the analogy of everything waking up applies, except that there’s no snow in winter, really no winter, and there never was any time before this, or anywhere in the future when things were or will be asleep. Everything is awake, the sense of an eye like a camera aperture so wide open the edges of it creak with the strain of it trying to open wider. It’s an endless cycle of birth/rebirth, the seed contained in the fruit that falls from the tree and from there another tree grows which creates another seed. No beginning/no end, all forms intertwined with each other to the extent that they are inseparable, bound together in time. The inclination is to think what was it like before this, when things were separate and the mind tries to pull it all apart. What was it like before all this, before the Big Bang?
Another kind of reality. What happened before we came here? We were in another house in New Delhi. It had a roof terrace and seeds were planted in flowerpots there, we carried the pots and everything from there to here and these seeds are now sprouting on this roof terrace. It makes no difference to the plants if they’re moved, so long as they have the same conditions, the cycle continues; seed/ plant/ flower spinning in their own arising and falling away, an enfolding and unfolding sequence of patterns in movement, and I come along, view it from this entry-point in time, called ‘here’.
There’s the urge to create an object that could fill this perceived space, this seemingly incomplete world: the sense of a vacant place we need to fill with something held in high esteem, and that will make it whole… what is it? Christians call it God, Hindus call it Brahman and Buddhists have no name for it, because everything is integrated, nothing exists outside of this – really nothing, not even the word ‘nothing’. Subject/object together in a oneness of contemplation, in conscious experience and the path taken leads us into a realm so fragile and subtle you can never be absolutely sure you’re not just seeing it the way you want it to be, and not really how it actually is. Better not to call it anything, acknowledge its presence, awareness is all-inclusive, mindfulness, take care, and see how that goes.
The sensitivity of the mind, not held by the limitations of the body, always looking for more than what there is, searching beyond the present instance; using one thing as a springboard to get to the next, everything is driven on and on, and present time is not here at all. There’s the sense of a game, an energy, a curiosity – a desire to get involved with ‘it’. The object is the desired state. It belongs to ‘me,’ the act of possessing it requires that there has to be an ‘I’ to whom it belongs. Everything I have, everything I want, all of this is ‘mine.’ Even my enemy is mine. Thus indirectly creating an identity that is always somehow incomplete unfulfilled, searching for the truth in this and unable to see that it’s the searching that maintains the state of being lost. It’s the seeking that causes it to be formed, reformed and transformed: the world is seen, sounds are heard, food is tasted, words are spoken, things are done, but there is no do-er.
“Imagine if all things that are perishable grew still – for if we listen they are saying, “We did not make ourselves; he made us who abides forever” – imagine, then, that they should say this and fall silent, listening to the very voice of him who made them and not to that of his creation; so that we should hear not his word through the tongues of men, nor the voice of angels, nor the clouds’ thunder, nor any symbol, but the very Self which in these things we love, and go beyond ourselves to attain a flash of that eternal wisdom which abides above all things: And imagine if that moment were to go on and on, leaving behind all other sights and sounds but this one vision which ravishes and absorbs and fixes the beholder in joy; so that the rest of eternal life were like that moment of illumination which leaves us breathless: Would this not be what is bidden in the scripture, Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord?” [Saint Augustine]
Lovely post! Great insights. Like this one (double meaning!): “because everything is integrated, nothing exists outside of this – really nothing, not even the word ‘nothing’.”
Gone, gone, gone beyond..
It’s like this, a world of subjectivity, words cannot stretch far enough…
I know.. every attempt to try and describe reality with words is a difficult task. One can only point towards the moon.. 🙂
This is it, language identifies things, describes things, gives them their attributes, characteristics, they become objects situated ‘out there’…
A simple meditation, thoughtfully expressed and gratefully received. Well done.
Thank you Jamie, I am glad it was meaningful for you…
Beautiful photo! It reminds me that spring isn’t far off in my corner of the world. What would it be like to live without a self concept, as a plant does?
Yes, you’re heading towards Spring and we’re heading towards the hot seasom. At the moment it’s a kind of in-between thing. Maybe that’s what the fascination is, the plant appears above ground; a form without a self, the time above ground is quite short, there’s maturity and pollination then the seeds and the cycle continues…
A beautiful picture, Tiramit. A mandala. Telling the story of everything so simply– nothing before or after, just the symmetry of all meanings on display.
Thanks Michael, I’m having to keep it simple in order to get all the details in, with a 700 word limit, including the quote. I think I went slightly over this time. It means that every word counts, less is more, and complex fandangled forms need to say what they’re there to say, easy and flowing on as far as possible…
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