POSTCARD#72: Delhi: In the dream I’m dreaming I’ve woken up… views of a room I know, bright daylight comes in through windows, the familiarity of furniture. A puzzled alertness, open my eyes and I’m looking at the ceiling fan… it wobbles slightly as it spins. Looking at the plain white painted ceiling, the dustiness of places that are never touched. Where am I? Stranded on the sofa… recovery from the afternoon nap. Don’t remember falling asleep. The quality of light coming in tells me we’re past the maximum temperature of the day +40oC (+104oF) and easing away from the oppressive heat. Children call from the street, it must be late afternoon maybe 3.30pm or thereabouts. All around me is the clutter of an activity that took place just before I fell asleep: a pen, scattered notes and books on the floor next to me, the remains of a cup of oolong tea. Everything held, objects quietly wait in their silence – if a tree falls in the forest…
How can I know if reality is really ‘real’? I’m in my room creating my world; everyone else is in their room creating their world and we’re all co-creating the idea of being in a room together in one shared reality. Language names things, creates attributes; diverse patterns are matched together in one huge continuity that includes all the characteristics of what we created in our individual rooms and the consensus view is that this is it… reality. Then something happens, maybe we just wake up to it, maybe a major event occurs and suddenly we see that our reality is a construct.
Reminds me of the flight over here, 4½ hours from Bangkok, and nothing to do but watch the movie. Each seat has its own individual screen and after a while I want to get up to walk around. Take off the headset and stand up from my seat, surprised how dark it is with all the window shades drawn. Also, strangely, it’s completely quiet, except of course for the hiss of air pressure and hmmm of the engines. All the passengers locked into watching their own small personal movies, reflected glow of videos create pools of flickering colour on their faces as I pass. Their headsets plugged into their audio channel and meanwhile, in the cabin all around them there’s no sound at all. It’s dark, colourless, inhospitable.
Mindfulness, I’m between two realities; the ignored environment of the aircraft and the accumulated video distraction. As I’m going along the aisle, a passenger opens his mouth and out comes this large uninhibited yawn, howling like a dog – deafened by the headset, immersed in the samsara of his movie, can’t hear himself and nobody else can hear him either. Approximately 300 people on this aircraft, inert and hypnotized, layered in illusion. Let’s pretend we’re not here. But why bother? We’re not here anyway. Are we anywhere that could be called ‘here’? A long tube with wings and pointy end, somewhere high above the highest mountain in airless space and hurtling along at 500 mph?
Conscious experience, subject/object, not-twoism. A connectedness on every level – origin unknown. Any belief in an external creator is not relevant, a figure of speech, the metaphor, speculative conjecture. Anything beyond the present state of consciousness must be so different from what’s happening here and now, none of the rules apply. I’m in awe – I simply don’t know.
I get up from the sofa and walk along the passageway to take a shower. Hot air, and the experience of containment in a body with four limbs, a head at the top, feet down there, appearing one at a time: flip-flop-flip in soft slippers. It looks like a long way down. Ooo! Vertigo…
‘We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience.’ [Pierre Teilhard de Chardin]