when words run out


POSTCARD#275: Bangkok: I don’t remember much about the flight except for the continuity of monsoon rain from Delhi and flying through it at 600 mph – between raindrops, then above the rain clouds where it is always blue sky. Descending again into the rain over the edge of Burma and the north of Thailand. From there, a taxi into town. Slow moving traffic, floodwaters  slosh around under the floor of the car alarmingly. I ask the driver if there’s been a lot of rain and he says not much.

But before that, there was a moment sitting on the aircraft when I became startled by the presence of my hands; left hand held in right – one the mirror image of the other. So I search for a pen and write this example of duality down in my notebook, and disturbed further when I see the left hand lying there by itself, fingers curled inwards, as if asleep. To whom does this hand belong? Maybe, in this crowded space, someone sitting behind me left it there, or does it belong to “me”? That edgy feeling.

When words run out, there’s only the silence left behind… raindrops dripping somewhere. Metaphor becomes reality, water finds its own level, everything seeps through the barriers I build to keep it out. Close the door on reality and it comes in through the window. Polarizations, ‘good or bad’, or whatever in a library of reversals, schisms and splits. It’ll be two years in September with this constant headache, and truth be told, part of me is still in denial, inventing reasons why I don’t want to admit the headache is part of me.

The fact is I’m on the run, putting distance between me and the thought I’ll be with it for the rest of my days. “(The) mind’s ear, hearing what it’s feeling, substituting imagination for the lack of investigation” – as HK says, and although time would be better spent with pain management exercises, it’s pain treatment I’m after… seeking the one-size-fits-all drug that sends the pain away.

I stumble over the reluctance to have it in my life. Things seem to get in the way, obstacles created in the mind – at the best of times it’s like this. Rain in Bangkok, the same rain 30 years ago when I arrived. The confusion and bewilderment then and even now, I’ll find myself facing a Thai reality; culturally remote, aware of what I know, but what I don’t know works better. Dismayed by a world I’m unfamiliar with – no kidding, the absolute honesty of it, and somehow that’s it. Done. All of it is seen, the perception of it revealed – no such thing as a headache.

Events have a momentum of their own; it’s Tuesday and I’m lying in a university hospital downtown Bangkok, prepped for the PRF surgery. Communication problems mean I don’t know much about the procedure that’s about to happen; I may or may not be told, it may or may not be painful. One thing I know, the operation will watched by a number of resident doctors, and their question/answer dialogue with the professor who stands over the patient guinea pig with an electric needle – what am I letting myself in for? There is only the capacity to be open to experience and it’s this that defeats fearsome images unfolding in the mind.
Time I wasn’t here…


photo: sculpture at New delhi Airport

24 thoughts on “when words run out

  1. I came across this in my reading this morning just before your post appeared in my inbox: “At every moment where language can’t go, that is your mind” (Bodhidharma) or as you say,”only the capacity to be open to experience.” Thinking of you, Tiramit.

    • Yes, it’s how it is. We learn the hard way, eventually arriving at the place we started off from – where there are no words.
      And still there’s the urge to be far enough away from and to have the time to be able to say what I think it is. But it doesn’t work like that.
      Ah well, so good to hear from you again Karen. I’ll just be glad when Tuesday is over.

  2. Big {{{Hugs}}} Hope this one finally provides the relief you seek.
    (Can’t believe it’s been two years… and certainly can’t imagine having to live with it 24//7… )

    • Yes, two years in September. Most of the time it’s a dull throb in the background, other times it spikes in an urgent way. I know more about it now than I did then, hoping to learn more with the coming treatment

  3. “Time I wasn’t here…”

    Now *that* could a bit of a tall order”.

    I am so hoping this op will be successful and that that perpeual;headache has been banished.

  4. I know you will keep us posted on the experience, whether or not it’s helped, whether or not it hurt, whether or not you were told in words that got through to you, how successful they feel it was. I am hopeful that it brings that much needed relief. Blessings, my friend.

    • Thanks Sunny, I’m not too focused on the outcome, they say it may be 2 or 3 weeks before it has an effect by which time I’ll have forgotten what I came here for. You’re right of course, either way the experience will have been worth it, life goes on…

  5. Your spirituality in the midst of pain is so moving. I hope that your hope for relief will happen. Thanks for liking my library blog—my hope now is that my book will soon be in more libraries, only a secondary hope, of course, for people who are pain free

    • Thanks so much Paula, for a long time I learned to live with the headache then it disappeared after the neurosurgery procedure. I wish you well in promoting your book, Mysterious Builder of Seattle Landmarks, it looks interesting.

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