auld acquaintance


POSTCARD#295: Bangkok: “Should auld acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind?” The first line of Burns’ song, sung at midnight at the end of the year, could be seen in a Buddhist way – shouldn’t we simply let go of things? Relinquish whatever is held, be it for good reason or otherwise. The Second Noble Truth: suffering is caused by attachment, therefore detach from the object.

The old year is going, the new year waiting behind the curtain. I am another manifestation of awareness, a world of sensory data passes through me at entry points: eye, ear, nose, skin, tongue, and mind. There’s no tangible self here, life looking in through the eyes, as well as out, input/output, and the experience of this room, outside-in space that contains the embodied sensory apparatus I identify as ‘my’ self… and a self slips into view, as if beckoned; flimsy, insubstantial ghostlike being, a temporary presence appearing in an agreed-upon reality.

In another sense, the question: “Should auld acquaintance be forgot? “ helps me to understand there’s nothing to be gained further by fighting with this headache that sometimes stabs me unexpectedly and grumbles in a discontented way the rest of the time. So I live with it, and take the medicine. It means I’m a bit unsteady on my feet, and I forget things not clearly stated in their own place and time – otherwise I’m okay.

Yes, it’s been so long now, I’ve forgotten what it’s like to not have a headache all the time. The medicine does seem to work, or maybe the headache is not as bad as it was. I don’t feel it as much as I did, it’s just always there – I’m aware that my life is not quite the ‘it’ that it was… but thankful for small mercies, as one of my aunties would say.

And surely they would be aware of the need simply to be mindful (although the word mindfulness wasn’t in the collective vocabulary in their day, when paying attention to what was wise), thus being careful not to misjudge the dimensions of a step in going upstairs and thus fall in a heap. It’s like ‘fumbling the ball’ the object leaps free from our grasp inexplicably (how could that have happened?) and you’re in hospital with two broken ribs.

I’ve been there, recovered from it, and have a wary eye open for the next attempt by gravity to bring me down. As long as that level of mindfulness is present, all is well. So I’ll take this opportunity to wish fellow members of the blogosphere, one and all, a Happy New Year 2018.


Photo by Berti Buffy, Shwedagon Burma

17 thoughts on “auld acquaintance

  1. “I’ve been there, recovered from it, and have a wary eye open for the next attempt by gravity to bring me down. As long as that level of mindfulness is present, all is well.”

    Yes – we’re the current generation of gravity-deniers and pain-embracers, dear T.

    May you flourish in the acceptance of “small mercies” (familiar words in my family too) and deepening contentment in 2018.

    Blessings and love ❤

    • Thanks Miriam for these nice words and Happy New Year to You also, and yes, we are those who continue to stride across the planet, all being well and God willing…

  2. HAPPY NEW YEAR! Not an aspicous holiday here with people all getting drunk
    That’s why I stay home with Thomas and do quiet this. It always make me acutely aware of death and loss. Who will still be alive next year. Thus has been an extraordinarily topsy turvy year with Trump and all. On a personal level wuth my letting go of attachments. Feels good, freeing, lighter. But attachment to humans is my weakness. HOPE YOUR NEW YEAR IS HEALTHY, HAPPY AND PEACEFUL!

    • Thanks Ellen and Best Wishes to you for 2018. A topsy turvy year it has been what with Trump creating chaos in the media every single day, I think we’d all agree on that. It must be extraordinarily difficult for some of us to let it go, forget it was ever here and allow peace to come to mind…

  3. Please excuse all the typos above. Not drunk. Don’t drink. Just overwhelmed with closing down the house. You can delete if you want but just let me wish you again a healthy!! Happy New year!! 🎆🎄ellen

    • Thanks again and let’s not be concerned about anything, it’s ‘closing down the house’ in a manner of speaking. Allowing it to come to an end, and refresh, reboot, start over. The opportunity is always there.

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