holo

POSTCARD #258: New Delhi: I perceive the world as a solid tangible thing, I see, hear, smell, taste, touch and in the mind’s eye I believe this to be so. But it’s a hologram – outer and inner, subject/object split as One; all of it is holographic. Therefore, the planet Earth seen from outer space, shining with color, is holographic. If that is so, all neighboring worlds, seen to be dead planets, could be teeming with life and we can’t see it because our sensory mechanisms are not compatible with their operating system, so to speak. In the same way, those other world populations are seeing their holographic extension of themselves, and can’t see our world for the same reason.

An idea for an SF story… the way it is, so clear to me now, waking up after a short snooze on the sofa and the headache almost gone. Birds twittering in the trees outside, they react to the drop in temperature as the heat of the day turns towards cool. Let’s see, it must be around 4 pm, raise the remains of my headache up from the sofa, legs over the side and stand up, feet into slippers: flip, flop, flip… over to the window and look out.

Trees standing around here and there, pointing at the sky and contemplating the situation: if a tree falls in the middle of nowhere, it makes no sound – it’s nowhere so, nobody’s there to hear it. But if you split the word into two parts: ‘now’ and ‘here’, somebody’ll hear the sound of it, because it is ‘now here’, and that’s a time/space location in the hologram which makes it real in this context. You could say, because this is so, I am. You are. We are ‘here’ in our world and out there is just ‘out there’, the abstract realm where: you are what you is, and you is what you am…[Frank Zappa].

There was a time when I wasn’t here, not born yet. The world just going on without that person called ‘me’ in it – there’s an anonymity about this that’s quite liberating. The day before I was born, everything was just going on, birds twittering in the trees as they are doing now, and all the other random events taking place as I was birthed. And all those I was to be connected with, one way or another, arrived from what I’d call the past, dissolving into circumstances of present time as it falls away into the future, encapsulated in the timeless moment we are in, always. Nothing out of place, as I see it now, and here at the open window on the second floor of the house where the treetops are level with the window and higher… birds twittering more and more, as the day turns towards evening.

“The universe lies before you on the floor, in the air, in the mysterious bodies of your dancers, in your mind. From this voyage no one returns poor or weary.” [Agnes de Mille]


Photo source

 

terrestrial ocean

POSTCARD #255: Bangkok: Elevated passageways and corridors in the mind creaking like we’re on an old sailing ship, swaying with wind and air currents, the swell of the sea and the flip of waves at their peak. These lightweight structures hold the sails, huge areas of stretched canvas sailcloth – I can only see a part of the whole. The creak and strain of long hemp ropes, tarry old wood decking and a wide-open sky. Then the pain comes, ringing the urgency bell… see how it triggers all systems in a wild inarticulate way… make way! Allow the alarm to ring and let there be absolutely no resistance, no tightening up, just letting it be there… the worst of it subsides and the emergency mode is switched off. In the Buddhist sense I’m drawing attention to an awareness of Suffering and the cause of suffering, but not just labeling it; ‘the cause’ of Suffering is the 2nd Noble Truth, no, I’m asking, what is this ‘cause’? No labeling from here on.

What is the cause of Suffering and what is the cause of the cause? The desire for it to not be there, the confrontation, the avoidance, resistance… obstructing it, subverting it by any means. Running away from it, wanting things to be different than the way they are in a totally impossible way.

Childlike, I can see my (child) self as a baby, attending to whatever object appears, comes into range, immediately focused, the totality of each thing, as it arises – conscious experience without language.

Flickers of memory like this… food is a wonderful experience, it’s not Food, it’s Wonderful, it’s not ‘wonderful’ – no words for it, it’s a feeling(?). Then, just as easily, the bad, the awful – then the aftermath of the disaster, early childhood systems of understanding the world – but for my (child) self there’s no ‘understanding’, because there are no words in infancy to describe anything. Catastrophic! I am the cause of this hurtful chain of events. How it was then, and how it is now are no different. I am the same ‘me’ as I was then, language acquisition is here now, I’m expanded, filled out, developed and extended into the world but still the same ‘me’ (time can disappear in this kind of investigation), so how can I help protect the ‘me’ that was then, with the ‘myself’ that is now, equipped with adult skills?

Meditation. I’m sitting on the meditation cushion like a chick in the nest, cheep-cheep… waiting for the return of the Parent Bird (mother, father, both or neither) and, beak totally wide open, like a suitcase lying open on a bed waiting to be packed with things, my (child) self perceiving the Parent Bird visiting the nest (or not visiting), and for me now seated on the cushion too, there’s the acceptance, the wide-open giving-way-to it.

Maybe also in adversity, how much I’d prefer to not do this any more, because the recognition of the familiar forms of interaction between my (child) self and authority figures in the family group are too scary – for a moment I ‘see’ the blocking… but there aren’t any words, it’s something felt.

Simply how it came to be the way it is, but no words. A wetness at the eye, a glimpse of my (child) self receiving conscious experience, and the perception of it has shaped, formed the person I am today – it is the person I am today.

Then the pain comes back, deep stabs of it like bolts of lightning passing through, but the intention to allow space for the pain is still there. As the immensity of it become less and less, acceptance opens more and resistance begins to fall away. I see now the intention to be open and accept the pain, hidden from ordinary wakefulness, buried deeper than the pain can reach.

It’s this that tells me, when all other options are gone, there’s no running away from it now, I have to turn around and go back into the pain… for a split second the pain eases, an extraordinary and out-of-this-world feeling.

Absolutely no escape from the pain… then finding this window I know that’s always here, and everything is swept away like a flood of water finding its way through a landscape, rapidly filling up all the spaces and getting into all the corners… I am a sailing ship on a terrestrial ocean.


 

finding the way out

POSTCARD #254: Bangkok: The story of it is I went downtown to a government hospital to see a well-known anesthesiologist, about the 24/7 headache I’ve had since September 2015, in the hope that, aside from more needles and what-have-you, ablation? I’d discover the right way to switch it off. And to cut a long story short – getting through all the underground labyrinths and corridors, crowds and noise and waiting 5 hours with my headache being as it is, although for the most part, staying with mindful attention – I was finally in a white room with her, dressed in white, and three residents in white too.

Blinking in this dazzling clarity, I was asked all kinds of questions I’d never been asked before. Really it was just one question she was asking me and that was, how far do you want to go with this? Like a fairy godmother, she gave me new, stronger meds, saying try this before getting into these other procedures and treatments. So yes, I went home, took the meds and suddenly the headache got switched off. Hooray!

Wake up next morning and the headache is back. Oh no! Take the new meds and it gets switched off again. Hooray! There have been other times when it has switched off like this, but now there’s definitely a feeling that something else has changed too. I’m feeling more optimistic than I have done for a long time, why?

And I begin to focus and see it’s because of a new kind of acceptance I learned about (indirectly?) from the lady in the white room. She was saying, in so many words, okay I admire you for the effort you’ve gone to in coming to this place, but realize that we’re getting down to worst case scenario levels here; this where we DESTROY THE NERVE and it’s done in two procedures…

But I wasn’t listening, I’d just bounced right out of there thinking maybe I can live without this ‘procedure’. No needles or RFAs (radiofrequency ablation), ‘a minimally invasive procedure.’ There’s this electric needle and it goes in and precisely zaps the nerve. If that doesn’t work then we can put in another needle… but no-no-no, I was running away in my mind, ok, ok, what other options are there?

So I was back where I started and it was giving me a headache just thinking about it! Acceptance, looking more carefully into the Buddha’s Third Noble Truth (nirodha); the realization we don’t have to remain stuck in an unsatisfactory state. Finding the way out of Suffering begins when we let go of the craving that feeds it. An easing of the suffering of mind that takes place by seeing it is caused by holding on to… whatever, the longing for impossible things. Yep, what is causing this? To see what it is I need to accept that it’s there, the giving way to it the frank actuality of it. That was an eye-opener. Finding the way out of the Suffering in the mind means seeing the cause for what it is, a complex attachment/ resistance tied up with the suffering itself. Unravel the knot let go of the whole dang thing, and that’s the way out.

What to do? Train the mind to live with the Buddha’s Third Noble Truth, and I’m better equipped to accept the headache being there. Or go and see the lady in the white room and her worst case scenario ‘procedures’.

“… suffering smashes to pieces the complacency of our normal fictions about reality, and forces us to become alive in a special sense—to see carefully, to feel deeply, to touch ourselves and our worlds in ways we have heretofore avoided. It has been said, and truly I think, that suffering is the first grace. In a special sense, suffering is almost a time of rejoicing, for it marks the birth of creative insight. [Ken Wilbur]


 

out of context

airbridgesPOSTCARD #253: Chiang Mai: A short flight to Bangkok to see the needle man for the last attempt to anesthetize the head pain I’ve had for more than a year. Back to Chiang Mai the same day and it feels like it never happened, except for the pain where the needle went in – the scritch-scritch sound when needle point scratched the skull. I’m thinking maybe the pain is gone, walking through a small shopping area the next day, then I’m hit with three distinct stabs in the head. Knees bend, I want to lie down on the ground as if it were a soft bed… it would be so comfortable. No, no I need to find a place to sit. Suddenly a coffee shop appears with tables out in the street, waitress coming over as I sit. I ask for a bottle of water (waitress seems distracted, am I looking weird?), try to look normal while pushing out the capsules from their crackly celluloid enclosures, but what’s normal? It’s at times like these you notice the construct out of context.

Here I am, stabbed in the head and trying to act normal to everyone else in the street. I want to shout out ‘help me!’ but I go with the act. I can knowingly disappear in what is assumed to be the correct reality – an imaginary character in a fictional landscape. Everywhere we look the construct is staring back at us, as clear as clear can be… product marketing intrudes easily, interwoven and embedded for better or worse. And, like something direct from the mother ship itself, “the news” is inside our heads, a filter through which we see our world. The push-and-pull, towards or away from the things I love and hate, or love to hate.

I drink water, the trauma of head pain easing. People here don’t speak, hang out in postures of contemplation with devices, phones, the reflected glow of screens illuminate faces of the user. Maya is a beguiling concealment, agreeable enslavement. Heads tucked in, body crouched over in fetal position… absorption. Then, when it’s time to go, removing oneself from the enchantment, thinking how am I seen? How do I look to my ‘friends’, to all of us; I, you, he, she or it – we, you they? “Me’ as an individual… the world as my duality.

Next thing for me is an appointment to see the nerve-ablation lady 7th March. I expect the witchy neurologists will give me a hard time if I turn this down: radiofrequency ablation procedure (they stick an electric needle in and zap the nerve). Well, putting up with their negative attitude is better than getting zapped. Also, I’ve heard, the nerve grows back after the ablation, or the pain moves somewhere else. What then? Another one of these zap! ablations? zap! And does this zap! go on at intervals zap! for the remaining 10 good years of my life? I’m pretty sure I’ll say thanks but I’ll just see how it goes, go play with your procedures somewhere else, they say neuropathic pain gets more manageable as the years go by….

“The first noble truth of the Buddha is that when we feel suffering, it doesn’t mean that something is wrong. What a relief. Finally somebody told the truth. Suffering is part of life, and we don’t have to feel it’s happening because we personally made the wrong move…” [Pema Chödrön]


 

the time is not here yet

1POSTCARD #252: Chiang Mai: 05.00: When I open my eyes in the morning I don’t remember where I am. The great white neon light of the hotel sign across the way fills my room and takes away memory. I’m here so infrequently, there’s only a sense of the last time I came, an unfinished jigsaw puzzle with some pieces left over but no place where they fit. Or a thought appears in the empty mind like a beautiful small fish, and then it’s gone… where’d it go? Taking everything apart to see where that thought went, but can’t find it.

Ah well, pull the pillows together in a cushion and settle on top of that in a folded-leg sit. Aware of the breath, focus on nothing in particular. Early morning kitchen noises across in the hotel, clatter of plates, rolling-around-clunking sound of objects as they collide with their surroundings: bump, scrape; a cupboard door squeaks, water sloshing-in-sink noises, cutlery in metal mesh baskets becoming high frequency white noise received over here in the neon glow, seated in a third floor apartment on the other side of the street.

All and everything that occurs here, there and everywhere in the scenarios through life from start to finish pass through me now and the world becomes neutral. Non-intrusive, random thought mechanisms that function at the edge of attention pull me into the gentle whirr and flicker of thinking-about-things.

A far cry indeed from the western automatic-reflex-attached, “thou-shalt-not” society of the late 1940s when I was born, unaware and unschooled in Good Orderly Direction and seemingly by chance (?) narrowly escaped the fierce lock-down of a mortgaged future by means of sacrificed present time, with the simple thought that the thinker has no other form than thoughts… and with that, everything just drifted away from its moorings.

All that resolved itself somehow really very well. Now here in a street in a tourist town in the North of Thailand with a passport and inconsequential luggage… items of thought can pass through freely, fish uncaught – no reason to be holding on to anything at all. The emptiness of the moment is no-self. Nothing here except the operating system; form, feeling, perception, mental processes and consciousness [Link].

In a clamor of sounds, auditory events jump out in perceived grabs of recognition, registered, processed; memory updated. It happens so fast that trying to find words for it are like action-replays in slow motion, and I have to catch up after, as everything has moved on. Pause button; awareness aware of itself, the eye turns inwards, consciousness as a sensory organ, the ghost in the machine, no self. The process itself selects the sound – or the sound selects the process, and there’s no ‘it’.

Sensory mechanisms waiting for things to happen because it’s in their nature to do that, inseparable parts of the world out there/in here. Nothing happens, the time is not here yet. The alertness is all there is, receiving the world and, since we are also the world, so to speak, it’s an all-inclusive enfolding, unfolding, and remaining in the present continuous form, ‘listening’. Suddenly the great neon light is switched off. Blinded for a moment in the absence of it, traces of blue sky out there, birdsong. Without any sound, go quietly (whisper); the time is not here yet…


Photo of a young man named Namo (as in Namo tassa Bhagavato Arahato Samma sambuddhassa), French-speaking Thai/Swiss, who became a monk then left for a career in fashion modeling.

the days are running out

img_0459POSTCARD #247: New Delhi: “The days are running out”, Jiab says, in her improvised, short-cut English, and I imagine the days like small objects with legs, running out through the open door, down the step and escaping into the garden. It’s February already and we’re going back to Thailand on the 18th. Visas to be renewed, stamped, and the hurriedness of getting bags checked in. Then join the queue shuffling through security portals and on to the plane. I have to fast track but still in slo-mo… hard to get my head together; not ready, unwilling and not able.

Am I prepared for another catapulted leap up into the sky? One hundred thousand horsepower velocity, wings over the landscape, look out the window and see the mountains through the clouds down below. I want to go there, climb that mountain. So I go down to where it is and start to climb… but it’s not there; only the steep slope, and sparse vegetation, some rocks – the mountain has disappeared. Is it that mountains seem to disappear, as well as the days spent engaged in activities just start to run out because this is my 70th year in the world?

Is it because I learned that the vast abundance of the Buddhist no-self is everywhere, in everything? Looking at a thing and the identity of it being a thing is just gone. Slowly, slowly getting to be okay about that, and okay too about not having to want to know anything more than that. The smallest details of conscious awareness, and a lifetime of sensory input, all arising and passing away, associated somehow with the karma of the circumstances I’m in, without attachment and nothing is held, it just folds in on itself and sent like a letter to someone you love.

No end, no beginning, sometimes I can leave it all in the continuous form of the verb: breathing, eating, sleeping, and living ‘now’ in present-moment-awareness… beginningless, endless, all of the past, all of the future, and no “time” passing. Then it breaks free of that and returns to a beginning (so there has to be an end)… and there lies my reluctance, only ten good years… the days are running out. A story is created in the mind, a few pieces get stitched together, switched around, and let’s say this is how it began; a story inside a story (inside a story) leading back through all the previous moments like this and linked to a lineage of stories interconnected through a great number of former lives in the distant past. And all of that has resulted in this; a twinkling held in forever-present time.

The days are running out, language wakes up – I want, I want, I want to be ‘happy’, and I don’t want to be ‘sad’ – no, no, no. Creating a self where there wasn’t one before, and rushing around, naming things, describing things, creating a photo ID. Sign here please, thump, stamped and there’s a picture of ‘me’. Then other days just come along, as they do, with a light that chases all the shadows away and illuminates everything… this is how all the beginnings are connected up: ‘Once upon a time’… il était une fois, (it was once), ‘and they all lived happily ever after.’

Clouds come by from time to time
To give men a chance to rest
From looking at the moon
[Basho (1644-94)]


Photo: Buddha head at Dhammavinaya Buddhārāma Monastery, Hubli, Karnataka State, India.
~   G   R   A   T   I   T   U   D   E   ~

 

vulnerability

img_0391-1POSTCARD #246: New Delhi: Touch-screen tap, and there’s another photo in our Thai network of the floods in the South near the Malaysian border. A rail track, after the floodwaters have receded, showing how the foundations of the track are swept away. I’m shocked to see something I have always known to be totally flat, become structurally altered – nature as terrorist amidst nature as vulnerability? The way we see the world has to include the fact that it may all be utterly different in a moment. The very small window of experience we have of unity is become widened to include unexpected political change; everything is irredeemably lost… then rebuilt, and the memory of how it used to be after a year, is gone – after a generation there’s no memory of it at all, other than how history has it recorded.

img_0483Even though I’ve been studying Buddhism for 20 years, I’m overcome sometimes with fear, unwilling to let go of things I’m travelling with, fearful that some low-hanging part of the assemblage might drop off, be gone forever. It happens anyway, the hours and days disappear, become lost and appearances arise then fall away. Who I am at any given time, may change according to the context I am in. There is only a semblance of self, choosing to remain as the embedded and reclusive ‘me’, gazing through the windows of eyes and out at the world going past. By default, hidden away in inner landscapes, peopled with characters I choose, and planted with trees, and flowers, and built with homes, and mansions with hundreds of rooms.

“Maybe death’s hour too will send us out new-born
towards undreamed-lands, maybe life’s call to us will never find an end. Courage my heart, take leave and fare thee well.”

[Herman Hesse, Steps (Stufen)]


 

bespoke

img_0102bPOSTCARD #240: Chiang Mai: Getting into a tuk-tuk by way of the acquired skill of folding myself in half to get in then, for me, partially unfolding the upper body in a laid-back posture, knees almost level with shoulders – and I can get home by way of a wormhole in space-time, narrow streets and shortcuts known to tuk-tuk drivers only. Getting out the same way I went in, it’s a tight squeeze but many things are like that for me here. I live in a world tailored to fit a population that’s smaller than me and different in all kinds of ways. In the shopping mall, if I ask for their XL sizes, they show me, say it’s a shirt, something that would fit a ten-year-old boy in Northern Europe. So I get the clothes I need in a special ‘Export’ shop that brings in Cambodian-made garments with their labels removed that’ve first been exported to Australia.

It does require extra effort to see how to fit, and you just can’t take things for granted – size is not the only thing that’s different here, of course, it’s the way people think. The Thai worldview is culturally tight (there are important exceptions) compared to what has become for me a shape-shifting global opinion. I’m a foreign resident so I’m the one who needs to fit in with the host culture. How to get the mind to change? Buddhist practice, and I’ve learned how to literally put myself in the shoes of a different cultural background, tight fit though it may be, and I’m so used to doing it now, after thirty years of trial and error, it mostly works okay. Sometimes there’s a part of me that automatically resists, but there’s also the learned behavior of… hold that thought, how can I get around to intelligently accepting this? Not just making the best of it, but developing the ability to change.

And, the fact is, this awareness of the cultural norm, a sensitive subject for most of us, also the custom-built, bespoke, consumer preferences and attitudes that go with it, not to say politics – all this is something I gave no attention to when I lived in my own part of the world, thirty something years ago. In those days I never even considered the cultural parameters within which people like me stumble along, unaware of the rest of the world and blind to anything outside of received perception, based on received knowledge, behavior and the frequency of breakdowns over this incomplete knowledge, questioning and “what’s the bigger picture?” So there comes the inevitable cut-off point.

When I was a kid, I had no opportunity to see how the world view in any given society is tailored to fit it’s own people in every conceivable way; philosophical, political, ideological belief systems, language, the way we think and behave, every single thing. Not completely unresponsive to change though. Thailand is a culture that has managed to prevent the take-over by a Right Wing political presence (currently the resistance against business tycoon Thaksin Shinawatra’s family), over the years since 1973, through the continued upsurge of public feeling.

Simple, we have to open our eyes, look and see the devils are built-in to the system of democracy. Thailand’s effort, easily achieved some would say, in a small country with a predominantly Buddhist population. Not so in the USA in all its vast diversity where, by some strange unexpected turn of events, Donald Trump, a real estate mogul/gangster is in the white house, “the fox is in the henhouse, the cows are in the corn”*, and everything is going to shift around now to accommodate this new circumstance. Public opinion shaped by CNN coverage of fearful disasters that’ll soon control, and then gradually withdraw the formerly expansive embrace of American generosity and welcoming.

This is the world wake-up call! Lessons learned. Four years for the electorate to find a strong candidate and really get the complacent, sleeping democrat population out there to vote. Nothing is impossible.

tuk-tuk-bangkok1

“For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn’t understand growth, it would look like complete destruction.” [Cynthia Occelli]

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*Steve Earle, from the song: Christmas in Washington
Lower photo source: Combo Asia Tours

 

fortuitous solstice

img_0302POSTCARD #238: Chiang Mai: I got to the airport too quickly, no Bangkok traffic on the route out of the city, so I had to wait for the check-in staff to arrive at the desk. I must have been the first passenger. Okay, good, more than enough time to make it to the departure gate. Stop for a Starbucks Cappuccino on the way, check my emails, and then it’s an amble rather than a walk. A very long, straight corridor, reaching so far, the end of it truly is a vanishing point; it disappears into nothing. As you get nearer, the vanishing point slowly becomes visible; there’s a yellow sign pointing to a left turn. You make that turn and finally arrive in the busy departure area sticking right out into the large open runway, seen through huge windows on either side. I see the flat horizon line all around and a few aircraft standing at different gates. Various things happening, aircraft service vehicles, passengers’ luggage being loaded.

So I stroll along to gate 54 and there’s my plane, Thai Smile Air, bound for Chiang Mai. Interesting, take a photo of it because, no reason, that’s what you do these days. Examine the photo; zoom in to see the opening where the luggage belt enters the aircraft. It really is so much like the body of a bird, plumage shifted to allow her little chicks to sneak under that soft belly and warmth of the nest. The surprise came when I noticed the red bag going up the belt was mine – the first to go up, because I was the first to check in. Was it really mine? (See photo), I had to enlarge the pic as far as it would go to identify the white ribbon around the handle, the purple Thai priority label and small white sticker from inspection scan at the entry to the airport.

Yes, it was mine, bearing all the characteristics that defines it as ‘my’ bag. I notice how that’s a whole thing in itself, of course, the action of searching for your bag among other bags coming along the luggage belt and reaching the point of seeing it, the identification – the familiarity of that whole event, the taking-place of it . The difference now is, I see it in this unexpected context. There’s the coming together, the re-cognition of parts that were separate before I saw how they became form – unknown until I see it now.

A curious returning to the observer effect in physics. Ground zero, everything spreads out from here. The coming together was preceded by the slow amble along the corridor and pause for a moment in a place we normally ignore in the rush to get to the gate. Taking the photo of the plane for no reason other than there was plenty of time to do it. And this action coincided exactly with the movement of the luggage handlers placing my bag on the belt.

A fortuitous crossing of paths, you could say, an event occurs that has no name until I make it so, I decide it is mine, it becomes something, and “curiouser and curiouser” (said Alice) that this should occur on the Winter Solstice (21 December 2016) identified as Christmas Day in the Fourth Century AD by Roman Emperor Constantine.

Having seen it like this, the memory disappears totally in the one-hour flight to Chiang Mai. Quick to get out of the plane and waiting at the luggage belt for the bag to arrive, waiting and waiting… all the other passengers get their bags and leave. Has mine been lost? A moment of panic, then it comes along the belt, the last one out because it was the first to go in.

“I looked in temples, churches and mosques. But I found the Divine within my heart.” [Rumi]
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Rumi quote from Anka Hoerster’s site and her post: Time with the Divine 4
~   G   R   A   T   I   T   U   D   E   ~

clash

img_0164POSTCARD #236: Bangkok: The impact of arriving deletes the memory of how I got here. Random thoughts hop from one thing to the next, no connection, doing it for its own sake – processed, passport stamped, thump, and through to arrivals. Welcome to the Kingdom. TV monitors show news readers wearing black, the backdrop is a curtain-fold with grey wreathes and shades of black in respect for the late King. Taxi drivers wear black jackets – well, yes this is the cold season, but everyone, everywhere wears black. Everything is extraordinarily formal and sad.

Traffic comes to a standstill. I’m in a yellow-green taxi looking out the window; a clash of pink, red, blue and white-like-peppermint taxis on all sides – I see them in rear-view mirror, on the left, the right, and all around. Bizarre vehicles like four-legged creatures standing in silence, looking at each other sideways, waiting to see who makes the first move. Green light is go, urgency of speed and slices of landscape pass through the car. Scraps of thinking and bits of another journey recalled, brought into present time.

A pause, window opens in the mind… a fascination with the remembered moment; an event or an accumulation of events … just makes sense, by itself. Yes, I remember now, thinking the Bali people look like characters from the Hobbit; beings who exist on a smaller scale than the rest of us, and live in a smaller world – small houses, small everything. There’s a hint of comedy and laughter in Indonesia… hmmm, but not here, not now that the Thai King is gone.

Impossible to not be affected by the scale of bereavement and absolute reality of death as far as the eye can see. Public mourning for one year… there’s a lesson to be learned here in this small country.

“…We are concerned with our daily life, not some exotic, fanciful religious concept but actual daily life of conflict, the confusion we live in, the uncertainty, the search for security. We have been through all that, it is part of our life. And also death is part of our life, though we may not acknowledge that fact. We may try to avoid it, slur over it, or only be concerned at the last minute, as most people are. So we should together enquire into the nature, into that extraordinary fact, as life is an extraordinary fact, we ought to consider that also.” [J. Krishnamurti, The Beauty of Death as Part of Life Fourth Public Talk at Brockwood Park September 1982]
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