POSTCARD#304: Chiang Mai : 7am: The sound of a text message wakes me; Jiab arrived in Bangkok. Overnight flight from Delhi – and… what’s this? “Have you ordered a taxi yet?” Hmm? Taxi? What day is it? Oh no! I’m leaving today, not tomorrow… a flash of movement, brush teeth, shower, fling clothes in bag… quick tidy-up of rooms, swallow a headache pill, into taxi and it’s a struggle to stop the rushing and bumping into things in my head, breathe slow and deep and just let the driver take me to the airport.
Okay for time, as long as nothing untoward takes place, like what happened on the way to the airport once, in a taxi stuck in a long line of cars. A very strong smell of something like an omelet… what’s going on? We get to the obstruction, a collision of some sort involving a pickup truck filled to the maximum with trays of eggs… broken eggs everywhere, egg shells floating in puddles of egg all over the road surface. The egg-man in the middle of the sea of raw eggs sitting on the edge of his truck, head in hands.
Reminds me I have my headache to think about, and how best to manage that having swallowed a pill before breakfast – slightly dizzy, just to make things worse. We are at the airport, and embark on the karma of this route; the directional momentum through escalators, corridors, doorways – catch a glimpse of other people in their karmic paths. I enter and exit enclosed airport spaces that contain me in their capacity for a moment then I’m gone. Passing through other portals, and down the narrow tube that brings me to my small seat area, looking out through the window, under the blue dome of sky, pink-white heavenly clouds: at 35,000 feet and this is your captain speaking, we are now descending to Bangkok where the weather is sunny and bright with a temperature of 34° Centigrade and 94° Fahrenheit.
I feel stretched, part of me is 367 miles away, back at the condo in Chiang Mai having breakfast and listening to the birds interrupt the silence. Another part of me is gone with M, to New Zealand. M is my Thai niece now aged 14. She looks like a miniature adult. It was the day before yesterday, I went with her to the airport, we all had lunch, me and M and her mum and after that, I’m in the back seat with M, bags everywhere, a leisurely drive to the airport, laughing and chatting.
Suddenly mummy says something in Thai about a passport, M replies, saying she doesn’t have it! Car swerves across the highway, U-turn at the next opening and we are headed back the way we came. Mummy driving like a mad person, steering with one hand on the wheel, and with the other, calling the teacher who is going with the kids to New Zealand to say sorry M might be a little late.
So we got there, Mummy runs into the house to get the passport and while she’s away, M says to me quietly that they had to leave their house that morning exactly at the auspicious time given them by a ‘holy’ person, and mummy forgot the passport then, because she was too busy with getting the exact time precisely right.
Enough said about that, another wild race back to the airport. Meeting the others and it all ended well, M waved to me at departures, went to New Zealand and took a part of me with her.
It’s the karma of getting there, I’m just mindfully aware of the direction and being propelled through the portals and gateways: this and then that, and the next thing. Some people, burdened with their superstitions for better, for worse need to be blessed by the holy person – and I suppose some would regard the egg-man as an example of someone who should have gone to receive the blessing but he didn’t and there you are.
There are the waves and there is the wind, seen and unseen forces. Everyone has these same elements in their lives, the seen and unseen, karma and free will. [Kuan Yin]
Sine qua non
We love to dream
We have control
We have some
Not all though
Try controlling the thought that you have to control everything and discover karma in getting there?
I’m not sure that everything is karma.
It begins with intention, volition. If one is ‘not sure’ the karmic consequence is uncertain and Buddhists say that could be the best place to be…
I made a big error here. 😳 I intended to write “I’m not sure that everything is not karma.”
Such a tentative way of saying it… I think the ‘uncertain’ description still applies. It’s the best place to be, only here can we learn how the butterfly mind works.
Butterflies need the air like fish need water.
First thing that comes to mind on reading your words is Dependent Origination, do you know this already? It’s an all-inclusive means of understanding the World. https://tricycle.org/magazine/dependent-origination/
Yes, I can see a connection.
I really love reading your blog- it is always so…nourishing, and such a strong but gentle reminder to just be here NOW. Thank you very much!
I like the idea of it being nourishing. The Western monks often use the word ‘wholesome’ in their Dhamma talks. If I’m writing about something ‘unwholesome’, the piece starts to fall apart unless I mask the unwholesome part with something light and funny,
I was just thinking of how many times I have been the egg man. No doubt, there are more times to come, wind and waves, you know. Lovely post, Tiramit.
You are just so absolutely right Karen, thanks for reminding me. There’s a curious strength that arises from knowing the whole thing is subject to being swept away at any time, anywhere. This is why there is a Path we can return to, it’s always there…