parts of a whole


IMG_0015 (1)POSTCARD #209: CHIANG MAI: Sorry we’re closed for renovations, editorial work and improvements; facilitated and inspired by friends I’ve met here in the blogosphere. I wanted to take things a step further, turn the energy of the posts into a completeness; thinking of a book. I’m trying to see how all the posts could simply become that. I’m happy to go on writing and engaging in dialogue with friends in the comments box, but I’m wondering where does it go from here; just more posts, adding to an ever increasing number of posts, and no objective other than taking things to pieces to see how they fit together as parts of a whole.

WordPress admin page tells me there are 368 posts 815 followers and 4,878 comments. Unbelievable, it just goes on and on, and I’m so grateful to all the friends out there in the blogging world who are reading this, and those who have contributed in the comments box. I’ve been posting since December 2011 and twice a week from then until now, May 2016 – with only one other break when I got ill. A turning point if ever there was one; next thing was the PHN condition; learning to live with a headache that doesn’t go away… but enough said about that.

So having decided to stop blogging for a while, the first thing I notice is it’s hard to do that… hard to stop blogging. I haven’t properly figured it out yet, but I can see there’s an attachment to it, the blogger is driven, every few days, to get that post out. Same as how the potter flings a lump of slithery clay on to the wheel and holds it spinning there with hands and fingers moulding, shaping, forming it into a beautiful hollow object with mouth so open it feels like the whole outside is inside. Like the sculptor hacks and cuts and chips at the block of stone to release the form that got trapped inside there.

That’s the creative itch identified, and I will be adding more posts to the art page, otherwise not blogging for a while and I’m hoping this means I can turn my whole attention to the pain in my head. Why’d I want to do that? Just to be with it, understand it, see why it’s there – why there is a pain in my life, not as a question… more like a statement of fact and it becomes an object of contemplation. Is there a no-self space beyond the pain? (as Karin has said?) Some people would pray and ask a higher power to help them remove the pain or at least help them to see it differently and to guide them. Do I do that? Do Buddhists pray? Or is it all about just noticing sense perceptions with compassion and detachment?

IMG_0015cI’m hoping to make some progress into this and find the energy to work on the book project motivated by the transformation, piece by piece, of the whole blog/book project – working title: ‘Postcards From the Present Moment’. Various people have suggested I should do this, I’m grateful to Ellen of stockdalewolfe.com and Karin at karinfinger.com, this is not an ending, I’ll be back with updates from time to time. As we get near to completion, there’ll be pre-publication news and a new beginning…

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UPPER AND LOWER PHOTOS: CABLES & SINGAGE, CHIANG MAI

60 thoughts on “parts of a whole

      • Thank you for letting me know. I really appreciate it. I am sorry that the Variolinum did not cure the disease entirely, but I hope that maybe you find another path – homeopathy or something else. I deeply believe that we are not meant to exist in constant pain here on Earth.

      • Yes well, it was a very rocky road to start with because of trying to cope and travelling all the time too. Thanks for your good wishes, maybe there’s a chance I’ll find the Path now things have settled down a bit and the perceived urgency of having to find some way to express the mind state has become something more stable.

      • That’s okay, as long as it’s readable no problem. Keep it simple, that’s what I try to do and it’s surprisingly difficult to do that…

  1. I welcome your honest descriptions of what you go through, as you have such a eloquent way of describing the reality you’re facing. Good luck on traveling inwards. And as to your head inquiry, it reminds me of a quote i once heard about a master who was diagnosed with cancer and overcame it. The quote goes something like this: Nothing can stand full examination.

    Think it’s a good idea to collect your work and make a book out of it. So i’ll hop in. And to see your art would be lovely too!

    Take care my dear blogging friend and inspiration!
    Pieter

    • Thanks Pieter, ‘an eloquent way of describing the reality you’re facing’. This is it; I mean the quality of the experience is what it is that’s compelling. And the investigation into self leads nowhere in the end… because there is no self to be found. Similar thought contained in your quote remembered: ‘Nothing can stand full examination.’ Yes, I’m hoping the work required to get it all in shape for the book could lead to a development of this style that up till now, has been focused on such a small range of experiential responses…

      • Love the wisdom you portrait here. If we can just let the words be words, without adding anything and see life for what it is.. the need for clinging to a self evaporates.. great reminders in your comment 🙂

      • Thanks again Pieter for generating thought on this subject. The great linkage of interconnecting and adhesive words identifying feeling, expression, action and as a result sometimes we think the world is something it’s not; the finger pointing to the moon. There’s an ancient deception there too, language allows for every single thing that exists. It’s necessary to try to just acknowledge it’s language, let go of the created self and see what lies beyond. I have a glimpse of this sometimes.

  2. Oh, I know these posts should be a book. Definitely!! As I have told you from a long time ago. I think they will come to order automatically. It won’t be as hard as you think but a challenge nevertheless. BUT, having said that, I am going to miss your posts a lot!! Your posts are my favorite but you must sacrifice for a higher good. They belong in a book people can own. A sort of book of meditation of a sort.

    Well, I officially wish you the best and admire you for doing this despite your constant companion of pain. Thank you for the mention. One step at a time. Remember there is nothing wrong with having it organizedorganized in the easiest way as just diary form if you find the task of organizing by categories of subject matter too onerous for your physical state. It will be good either way. It will be exciting.

    • I really like how you speak with authority, yes it’ll turn out just right, and be as you expect it to be. I’m imagining all these posts and paragraphs slotting into position and doing what they’re told because it’s all been written already, no major rewrites, and they just have to know where they are in the sequence. Done. I’ll be back writing here soon, but I imagine there’ll be some change after knocking this book into order, maybe it’s an opportunity to let go of this tight form and expand into larger chunks of time. Time to let go of all that and have it be found in the book instead…

    • Now that’s an interesting observation, it must be true yes because they’re both simply images that have an impact. Thanks Ellen, I hadn’t noticed it before. Maybe now I’m seeing it that way I’ll be able to understand what’s going on; what it is exactly and why that image has the meaning it does…

    • Ha! yes, yes, yes… patiently going around to see what needs to be done is exciting could be more like stalking; listening for any sound, watching for the slightest movement, sniffing the air, alertness…

    • There’s just no getting away from it Mel, we have to work inside the frames of reference. So I’m off to retrain this crazy acrobat with words, thanks for your good wishes…

  3. It is hard to stop. I did so for eleven months and dearly missed my WordPress connections. What I learned, however, is that a break can be (and is) restorative. And the journey can always continue, simply along a parallel or different path. Enjoy your respite and may it be healing.

    • Thank you Eric for the word ‘restorative’. There needs to be enough space I feel, horizons broadened. Then coming back, of course and finding all your friends are still there and returning to the WordPress frame where everything you need is exactly where you left it (hopefully)…

  4. It’s hard to step back from blogging and interacting online, especially when one has chronic health issues that may restrict normal activities. But stepping back and taking a break (or even cessation altogether) is a good thing in my view.
    I’ve been trying to do it for nearly a year 🙂

    Writing is very cathartic and maybe a book will be the obvious choice for someone as articulate as yourself, Tiramit.

    Whatever you do, taking a break from the usual routine might be a good way to change the way your react to your chronic pain. i’m still hoping you may fully recover some time in the near future.

    Wishing you well in your future endeavours and hoping you still drop in to the blogasphere from time to time to keep us, your followers, updated. 🙂

    • Thanks Vicki. Yes taking a break from it, I have to un-hitch from the always moving train of blog posts, conversations between travellers on the journey. Helpful for many reasons but it’s time to step back from the urgency, into more easeful surroundings. I’m looking for a quiet place where the pain that’s always demanding attention gets what it properly needs rather than just the immediate resolution to current problem and getting on with life.
      As you say, even cessation altogether; good to be able to contemplate this reality today here on a Chiang Mai morning before the sun gets up. A wider space is what’s needed too, room enough to see the whole picture, a letting-go, of course no matter how many times it’s said.
      Thanks for your good wishes Vicki and I hope all is well where you are…

  5. I stopped blogging for many months when my sister was dying, and it took a while to restart. It was hard to stop – I was very attached to it. But you have a new project Tiramit – your book, and that will take the place of the blogging, and as you say, give you time to pay attention to your pain. This is an ending and at the same time a new beginning. Good for you! You could always post just a few words to let us know how it’s going. We’ll miss you!

    • Thanks Jude, I understand now you’ve been through a lot recently. Once you’ve decided to stop doing it there’s the joyful feeling of freedom of not having to be active in networking all the time. And the empty space in my long day that pulls me towards meditation again; I haven’t been able to find an opening into it these last couple of years. It could be a new beginning in all kinds of ways. I’ll be posting from time to time. Hoping all is well with you…

      • I’m going in for a colonoscopy after a simple screen test came back positive. The test result could mean a variety of things, worst being bowel cancer, but the doc said 70% of people who go through this process have nothing wrong. I feel as fit as a flea, so fingers crossed all will be fine. I won’t know till June 3rd. I refuse to worry. Must stay in the now!
        Really hope this break does you good Tiramit. Enjoy, and I’ll look forward to a little update in the future. Hugs! 🙆🙋🙎

      • Sorry for the late reply, I’m back in the Delhi house. You’ll have had the colonoscopy by this time and must have some idea of the result. If that turns out to be not as good as it could have been, I hope it proves to be a condition that’s manageable – being realistic and not allowing the mind to galloping off as it does. Staying in the now, as you say; allowing each day to dawn and the doing of things is done as they come along for attention, one by one, each by each… washing dishes with mindfulness, as Thich Nhat Hanh has said so many times.
        I’ve been busy with the first chapter of the book which is something that requires extra work because it sets the tone for the whole publication. I’ve also organized the posts in proper chronological order for the whole of 2012. Strange being away from WordPress, but I expect I’ll get used to it…

      • Since we retired I’ve written two books. It’s easy to get lost in writing. I wasn’t blogging back then. Being away from WordPress you may be missing contact from your blogging friends, but we’re all still here ready for when you return🙆. The dreaded ‘oscopy’ is next Friday!
        Keep well Tiramit😘

      • Hi Jude and thanks for that voice from blogging friends that reminds me of the connection that’s out there. I’m okay, headache every day but sometimes it’s not there at all. I’ve got the first section of the book completed as first draft. I’ll have to go through it all again to get the layouts properly alligned. Anyway you must know how this works if you authored two books. And I’d like to now more about that experience, if you have time. Please write to me at: dhammafootsteps@gmail.com
        I suppose the dreaded ‘oscopy’ is occupying your whole attention. I assume you mean the test, and not the operation. The test is easy, you get an anesthetic that makes you only partly conscious and the odd thing is that when you wake up you don’t remember anything that happened. The dreaded result is maybe also hard to not ponder over… worst case scenarios turning over in the mind. This is where it’s necessry to actively let go of that tendency to create stories, to proliferate endlessly. Watch the breathing, clear the mind and look for the panorama of empty space all around. Do it often. Return to it again and again.

      • Thank you Tiramit, and you’re right about the ‘oscopy’. The mind is like an untrained dog that, unless kept on a tight leash, dashes off to places that are not good for it. This experience has been an incredibly good lesson for me, and has made me focus on Mindfulness and become much more aware of how

      • Hey Jude, great observation, ‘the mind is like an untrained dog’ and it visits places that are just not good for it. I remember a long time ago sitting on a bench somewhere in Paris and an old lady came along slowly with her equally old dog. The leash tugged and the lady stopped, slowly turned to her dog who had found something to eat lying in the stony gravel. There was an awful crunch and the woman said ‘incroyable’, and pulled the dog away. It was like a haiku.

      • Some dogs’ leads I’ve noticed are extendable. The owner can press a button and the dog can tear off for about 30 yards. The button on my mind appears to allow the same freedom at times! Need to keep finger on button!

      • Yes the mind is like that, years of it running away with things and you could say generations – always the mind seeks favourable circumstances to do as it pleases. There’s also the suffering side of it of course; it’s running away simply for the sake of running away and underneath all of it is the constant seeking for things, craving for experience …

      • I somehow pressed a key on my tablet and sent my last message unfinished!! I was trying to say how I have been made aware of how undisciplined my mind can be. I have also suddenly become more aware of my breathing too! The ‘oscopy’ is just the test as you said. Here in France they also do an endoscopy at the same time and it’s all done under a general anaesthetic. Never had one before! No operation unless they find something untoward. They say nine out of ten people who have a positive result from the screening test end up with nothing wrong. Hope I’ll be one of the nine! Thanks so much for your thoughts Tiramit. I’ll write to your Gmail re books 😘

      • Yes, I’ve had that happen to me many times. It’s only when you consciously keep the mind in check that it becomes obvious how much it likes to wander, to strays off the known routes and poke its nose around in stuff. Could be it’s something to do with creativity, searching, searching and never finding.
        It’s good to have conciousness of the breath, Thich Nhat Hanh has a lot to say about subtle differences in quality of breath seen in all kinds of daily activities.
        About the test, I hope the result places you in the nine out of ten…

  6. Will be thinking of you, T, and looking forward to the book. Has been a real joy passing these virtual notes back and forth and sharing a few moments, and I have been having a harder time keeping up the blogging connections myself of late. Your writing is uniquely you– something very good about that. I don’t know if Buddhists pray or not but I think we all are called to place a fundamental trust in the paths that carry us, and I hope you find peace and healing in that. Change is good…

    Peace
    Michael

    • Thanks for these good wishes Michael, I shall miss these small windows that open for us to see through. I can find that place you describe, bound together with the fundamental trust in the paths that carry us. I’ve learned so much from our discussions and the interchange with other friends over the 4 years I’ve been here. Now I’m near to breaking through what I’d thought was truth into an absolute Truth, beyond mind. I see it sometimes as a huge inexpressible light at the edge of vision between the constant bouts of head pain. It may not be a mysterious inaccessible place, could be it’s here already and my elaborate wordage is spinning off by itself. I’m grateful Michael, take care, I’ll be in touch…

    • Thanks Kimberly, things are okay here in Delhi. It’s a more suitable place to do writing and editing work – an old house with thick walls and high ceilings with spinning ceiling fans, cool, nice and a quiet neighbourhood; a small park with trees. Many doctor’s appointments to see to, yoga classes to be scheduled, and that’s how it’s looking here so far.

  7. I have been away and have come back.
    May you feel restored and nourished in this transitory phase T!
    I look forward to your return when it is time.
    Val xo

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