the forever turning


POSTCARD #263: New Delhi: House agent came to the door, saying they are going to demolish the building, and when would be a good time for the architect to come to see the house – it was said like how we decide to delete a message on the phone. We knew about the plan and are prepared, but the emphatic bluntness of it…  what’s gone is gone, the forever turning wheel. “Don’t let the sun go down on me.” My world is tipping over, mind driven by some kind of energy, a curiosity and desire to get involved with it. Words come out grouped in chunks, searching for a connection as if they had a volition of their own.

The characteristic mind reaction when confronted with an immutable truth; when I understood that my PHN headache is a permanent condition. As Jude says, the mind is creative no matter what the stimuli. Imagination let loose like a racehorse, goes careering off then is yanked back unwillingly and all kinds of fearful things arise, created by the struggle. How to have mindfulness so I can catch that creative awareness before I get hijacked by how bad it seems.

World-wide monitoring of events, immediate media coverage, on the spot reporting in a here-and-now performance starring ‘he’ who is about to be demolished: boom, crash, bang! It’s finished before it began, the whole scene gets folded into itself and packed away, gone – like it never happened, no evidence remains. Grab the bags and let’s get out of here. ‘I’ become ‘him’ over there, third person singular, object pronoun, making an escape out the window before the walls cave in. Away in the car through a swirling cloud of masonry brick dust, and onto the long straight road to the airport.

Check-in for the overnight flight to Bangkok and the day after tomorrow I go to see the lady doc down-town in the white room (link to: Finding The Way Out), to discuss, again, the possibility of an electrical zap to the nerve and that’ll be the end of my constant headaches. Comparison with the stand-off in the Korean peninsula… I’d like it if the whole thing could be put on fast-forward so I can get it over and done with, but it hasn’t even started yet. I’m here on the plane and in my mind, are pictures of a house falling down around my ears.

The flight is a directionless experience. Look out the window, total darkness, no sense of moving forward, we could be flying sideways. When I try to think of it, there’s the image of a journey that leads from here to there, the route we take is an elevated highway in the sky, we’re in a long silver night coach with the moon and stars and stewardesses with the drinks trolley. Occasional air turbulence suggests small bumps on an otherwise very smooth road surface – sufficient to tip me over and fall asleep, with not even the sense that we’re going anywhere… just the noise of the engines and hiss of the air.

The present moment is not an absolute. It’s something that we’re [unconsciously] fabricating, and the goal of the practice is to learn how to fabricate it in a new [nirvanic] direction…. The present is here to be used, and the teachings are here to teach us how to use it wisely” [Thanissaro Bhikkhu, “The Use of the Present,” 2016-11-28]


photo by Jiab in the South of Thailand

17 thoughts on “the forever turning

    • Yes, I think I know the feeling. PHN has been as close as a good friend can be 😉 but the time is coming when we have to say goodbye. Can’t believe it’s really going to happen…

  1. Someone I know learned on Tuesday the full extent of the diagnosis: a growth on the colon too large to remove plus colonies established in the liver and lungs. The next day she had digested the information enough to say to me, quite calmly, “So it’s terminal.” Knowing me well she was not surprised at my reply: “Life is terminal.” Then we talked a bit and soon decided what we will do: take each day (moment) as it comes and make the best of every remaining day (second). Of course we (thought we) knew all about living like that already but this this new knowledge has turned up the focus and the brightness.

  2. So sorry for the pain, mental and physical. And so sorry you’re losing your domicile in Delhi, too. It sounded so lovely. Beautiful prose, poetic… ” elevated highway in the sky, we’re in a long silver night coach with the moon and stars and stewardesses…” Great!!

    • Thanks Ellen, it’s a time of change. I feel something major is going to happen that’ll nudge our Path slightly, maybe it’s the injection, maybe it’s my birthday in July and stepping into the seventies. Lots of things, possibilities…

      • Yes, I am right there with you, thinking about similar things. Hard to stay in the present when one fears loss. Each moment is precious with Tom. I try to take a picture of it mentally and try to relish the present but there is always this niggling whisper of loss or pain distracting me. And then there are the moments wasted or unappreciated for a variety of reasons.

      • I don’t know if there’s any comfort to be had in trying to give way to thinking about loss, so that the idea is of giving it away, generosity. And these times when we’re distracted or wasted moments, they don’t amount to anything in the end, do they?

  3. Nice writing: ‘nowness’ is tricky, so is health; nice quote by Ajahn Geoff, too, don’t always agree with him, but certainly do on that one… (FWIW I had a good experience with Sukhumvit Hospital, in case you’re still shopping)… Good luck…

    • Yes, ‘nowness’ has to be a series of images interconnected… well, what isn’t? I recently discovered Samitivej hospital and liked that, after realising Bumrungrat was too huge for me. I may get around to Sukhumvit hospital. And yes Ajahn Geoff, I feel the same, is really tight, and he got it right with that one.

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