POSTCARD#364: Bangkok: I wake up in the morning with the usual headache, and from the balcony of the next-door house, wind chimes play a perfect chord in the air! I don’t usually hear it so clearly. Movements of the air disturb the chime bars and strike the same groupings of notes over and over. A different arrangement every time – variations on a theme.
The leaves of the trees whispering together, it’s going to rain. Then I remember, this is Songkran, the start of the rainy season. It is overlooked and forgotten that Thailand’s Songkran celebration event has been postponed because of COVID-19. The coming of the rains, of course take place around that time and because we’re all working from home, we don’t notice these changes in the outside world… until they arrive on our doorstep. I see the dark sky out the window, small birds dash around searching for shelter.
I have to get out of bed, bring the headache into the shower, and see how that feels. I slip through the curtains into a pleasant wakefulness, released from the memory of that which I’m held by, usually, and even though I’m not thinking about it right now, I become an extension of the wind-chime’s notes as they gently intrude in consciousness…
The rain will continue, a total downpour, lasting for hours possibly – and it is a novelty for me even though I’ve lived here for decades. I come from the North of Scotland where weather events are not so overwhelmingly generous in such an abundance of plant growth. It amazes me too that the Thais have a composure about these sorts of things, which are seen mindfully and with respect, as phenomena appearing in consciousness.
It’ll be like this for the remains of the day, all night and well into tomorrow when hopefully, the sun will come out again: 36 Centigrade (96.8 Fahrenheit) which is tolerable because of the cool shadows where everything stays wet.
Shower pressurized water massages the headache – lulled it into a relaxed state, mesmerized by sound and sensation. I am a sensitive being these days, on the negative side, there are sharp penetrating light frequencies and high pitched resonances which activate the headache and it can take a long time to recover. So far, so good, step out of the shower and I’m deafened by the downpour on roof and balcony objects. Sensory mechanisms function without my involvement. There’s just an alertness, waiting for things to arrive in consciousness. Seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching and cognitive functioning identifies and directs everything; an all-inclusive experiencing of awareness receiving and transforming itself.
I’ve learned how to see the pain in the context of the First Noble Truth and can abide in the small space that’s neither here nor there, rather than suffer it as something that is ‘wrong with me’ – informed by a created self and stories of past and future created in the mind. Knowing this brings it all to a standstill for a moment… this is how it is, the awareness of it, simply that.
Stories of past and future arise again and the narrative requires me to ‘believe’ in it before it begins. I’m hovering on the brink of what it could be, still contained inside that little space that’s neither here nor there… do I want to get swept away by this story, when I’m quite comfortable being here? It’s telling me I have to engage with it, become it [Bhava]… yes, but I’m also able to stay here in the space where it hasn’t happened yet.
Mindfulness of non-becoming. See how that feels here under the roof, with the deafening sound of it, the here-and-now of it – everything is always in present time. This torrent of raindrops is indescribable… like an incessant, fierce applause that goes on and on. I’m enthralled by it, spellbound maybe… time to get out of here and downstairs for breakfast then I can start the meds for the day. See how that goes.
‘In the space where it hasn’t happened yet’. Deep stuff!
Yes quite enigmatic isn’t it! I don’t remember exactly, but it was editing texts. There were earlier and later drafts of the text. There were inserted passages and before they were copied into the main text there was a space where it hadn’t happened yet…
Definitely a phrase to remember. One of the talks I gave, years ago, was on the difference in that ‘space’ between what could happen and what was not possible…
This is it, Steve. Words create events, without words there’s nothing… a nothing that is so vastly empty of meaning, I sometimes close my eyes and take it as a meditation object
‘Words create events…’ I must think on that!
I’m so glad to read your post, T. Love has been pretty hectic. S is n memory care in hospice, and since it’s technically considered end of life I get to visit any time I want. No pain, no distress, a lot of sleeping. It’s all good. Hope the headache is better, more tolerable. I wonder how life would have unfolded if we’d come to Chiang Mai.
Good to hear from you again. I wonder too how it would have turned out if you had come to Ch’Mai. I suppose S would have been in similar hospice situation except all the nursing staff would be smaller non-confrontation smiling often and usually, Buddhist, greeting you and taking their leave with Anjali, Namaste. Although I’ve heard from others that hospice staff in the West have a special demeanor.
I’m sad you didn’t come
I always enjoy my glimpses into your life and am thankful. Would remove your headache if I could.
Funny isn’t it! I do feel your presence here and there, in these rooms. There are times when I forget I have the headache, this must be when it’s gone or soundproofed by the meds or some other magic.
Thank you Ben I’ll think of you here, next time I write
I am honoured, sir.
Hi Tiramit, long time no blogging for me. I’m sorry you still have the headaches, I’d kind of hoped maybe some new treatment might have sent them on their way.
My husband and I split up last year and I’m off to the Outer Hebrides, to Lewis. My last big adventure! Can’t move till the lockdowns in France and UK are unlocked.
Lovely to read your post.
Sorry about the delay in reply, sometimes get seriously stuck for words. I was over at your site a few weeks ago, suddenly remembering our discussions. Seems so long ago
Sorry to hear things in your life rather abruptly taking a new turn. Even though the last adventure to Lewis and Outer Hebrides sounds fantastic. I always wanted to go. I had a girlfriend many decades ago in Portree and she came from Uig where the ferry leaves to Stornoway?. Also an old friend who lives there Malcom Maclean maybe a politician now. But we never made it. So many things remain as good ideas revisited. Good to hear you’re going – when all this locked-down thing is over. If you can document the trip on your blog it would be very valuable to me. Thanks for coming back to life
I took a lot of photos when I went to Lewis in January to look for a house. I’m putting a few at a time on my photo blog if you’d like a peek! Stay well T xx