somewhere in a former life

IMG_2462POSTCARD #174: Geneva, Switzerland: People, hovering around the exit door on the 18 tram to Carouge, faces look at me incidentally, I sometimes see one I think I know from times gone by in the metallic click over smooth rail joints, and the gentle jigging motion of the tram as it is now, and so it was then, travelling under an assumed identity, peripatetic teacher of English, here and there on trams every day, passing through security, a practiced conversationalist, and into rooms in banks behind closed and thickly felted huge metal soundproofed doors, gold taps in old bathrooms. Are these the same francophone faces now? Not those emerging from soundproofed rooms and stepping into their black tinted screen limos with drivers holding the door, no, just the ordinary folk you see every day now and then but never talk to, maybe a passing gesture, a nod of recognition?

Now I’m back here nearly two decades later. Do I see those same individuals looking at me with a nod of recognition held in a moment paused, seeing me looking at them in the same kind of way… a hesitation almost: hmm, est-ce que je vous connais monsieur ? (do I know you sir?) Look into these eyes for a penetrating instant with the flickering expectation of acquaintanceship… and in the midst of finding maybe I can’t quite recall what it is exactly, realise with some shock that it’s the awareness of – what is it? The nearness of death? Is this what I see looking back at me? Death, the answer to that question about what didn’t happen here? The past tense disappeared; everything I did in the 8 years I lived here was/is unfinished, and cannot and will not ever continue. It died?

I was in a life here. Now I come back from the dead, the Ghost of Christmas Present, not to ungracefully haunt all these innocent bystanders with more foreign talk and raconteur. Not to upset these slightly-known people with faces turned toward me, stepping onto or getting down from the 18 tram to Carouge two decades ago, and even now turned to glance at me a second time with their elegance of wispy threads of golden hair combed carefully over a bronzed skull with large dark brown skin spots, vapourised and paperised faces, traces of soft skin held nicely like curtain folds at the corners, beneath which these old eyes look out like an unfinished sentence… Je m’excuse mesdames et messieurs, I’m not here to disturb you with things that never took place, but to close those thick soundproofed doors that seem to swing open by themselves somewhere in a former life.

Thus there’s always something about the question that’s gently pondered, not posed, but poised, considered…it has to be the right question, forever not quite decided upon; what might it be? The moment spent in contemplation of what form this sort of thing could possibly take is enough to begin to know it… or it begins to be known. A kind of indirect position so carefully arranged; or maybe it was like that as it fell into place, who can tell? Induced then deduced. Words don’t hold meaning for very long, the question gets forgotten about in the end (they usually do), or possibly it’s still there in the detached state, just not functioning as a specific inquiry now, more like a wide-openness that’s waiting for an answer in the same way as there are answers, lying in their own wide-openness waiting to be discovered. A kind of non-verbal alertness, a strange familiarity, a passing recognition that seems to go on opening and opening, and opening; déjà vu revisited. It was always here….

But if, transcending petty ego, all the world is known as life – as only living energy – then how can death arise at all? For one who knows the world like this, as only life, there is no death. In truth, there’s only deathlessness. [Upanishads]


Photo: Watching the sun setting from the room on the 8th floor of the building at Pont-d’Arve, near Carouge


floating mountains

DHPbackPOSTCARD #173: Dhammapala Monastery, Switzerland: I cannot seem to get a good photograph of it – as the sun appears over the mountain and lights up our small valley. Maybe a better photographer than me can try; there is a strange illusion on walks around the monastery. Mountains appear to be travelling through the landscape like great ships. Looking from a position high up on a steep incline, with tree tops near enough so you can follow their trunks down to the forest floor below, then looking up at the mountain top that appears above the tree line, which is still in the same frame of vision – and suddenly it looks like the mountain behind the trees has disconnected itself from the earth below, drifted away from its moorings; a gigantic gravity-free mass of rocky earth and vegetation suspended in the sky. I’m reminded of the floating Hallelujah Mountains in the Avatar movie; based on the Huang Shan mountains in China.

There’s a simple light-headedness about it, seeing these massive mountains drifting around in the air, I have that gravity-free feeling about everything I was formerly attached to in the mind. This is how it is; maybe all beings tend to be in a permanent state of ‘on hold’ because we’re earth-bound creatures attached by gravity to a spinning planet. Born with the received, deeply built-in default mindset that there is this holding-on thing we have to live with; it cannot be explained, it cannot be questioned – we can’t let go whatever happens. But today this usual uneasiness about letting go has vanished for me… just slipped away, the heavy pull of gravity is absent, missing, I feel released from a tremendous pressure; stepping easily over the snowy mountains of the mind. Leaping over the precipices, this freedom has always been here; I just didn’t notice it before. The mountains are liberated from their roots, groundlessness… it’s like this because everything we see, feel, smell, touch taste and hear is a perception, saññā . Things feel solid and appear to be real but they’re not ‘real’, there’s nothing to prove that there’s anything out there at all.

I came here once and spoke with a man who was experienced in hill walking and had been climbing for some years. He went into these mountains alone and started running and jumping over dangerous ravines to small footholds and making all kinds of joyful leaps but taking crazy risks and he got lost for most of the day. When he found his way back to the monastery he had a major epiphany about it all – realized he’d lost all normal sense of control. Gravity had gone from him for a while. I wondered how many mountain climbers really have a tendency to want to fly that they have to be rational about…

IMG_2441Normally we human beings assume the world ‘out there’ exists just as we perceive it (by way of eye, ear, nose, tongue and physical contact) but if we consider these sense organs, it must become apparent to us that the world ‘out there’ is really dependent on our particular modes of perception. For instance, the human eye limits conditions, by its very structure, the objects we see. It is well known that a bee can see, as a colour, ultraviolet but we have no idea what such a colour looks like nor, of course, can we find any words to describe it. It follows therefore that our sense organs being differently constructed from that of a bee (or any other non-human being), our world “out there” is not necessarily the world as it really is.’ [Phra Khantipalo, ‘Buddhism Explained’ 1965]


Lower photo showing the sun leaving the valley. In the middle of winter there is sunshine on the monastery for only a few hours per day

cold as a presence

IMG_3417POSTCARD #172: Dhammapala Monastery, Switzerland: Breathe out this huge cloud of steamy vapour, such a quantity, it feels like there’s nothing left in my lungs, it’s used up – can’t breathe, quick do the inhale! The cold is a ‘thing’, it enters my nose with every breath, fills my mouth every time I speak, pours into all the tiny cranial cavities and spaces I didn’t even know were there, it becomes an ice-cream headache – mentholated turquoise and pale blue razor-sharp ice edges. Teeth are cold, lips are a rubbery fumbling. It reaches around my face and exposed places, freezes these delicate little hanging earlobes.

Breathe normally, haaa! the cold is a presence, it seems to me, coming from the benign climate of Delhi, here it’s a motionless cold. Even so, there’s this raging inferno inside my head, a blazing coal furnace – I can hear it roar. The meds for my condition only convince me the pain is not happening, but I know it’s there; the wall between ‘it’ and ‘me’ is thin, fragile… hope that wall holds out! I mentally dive into this snow; the frozen everything. But let me get indoors quickly… leave shoes at the door, the monastery is warm, everything is soft and colourful, autmnal faded tangerine/brown robes, the monks seems to float across the carpet. I’m shown to my room, comfortable square pillows, freshly laundered bedding. The shower works, everything is as you’d expect it to be. No internet connection, I’m momentarily devastated… I’ll have to write the old fashioned way, but forgot to take note paper – no notebook to write on. So I rummage around in my wallet for receipts that I can write on the back of, all kinds of blank bus tickets and scraps of paper.

There’s an immediate familiarity with holding the pen, pressed point seems to etch the characters into the surface of the paper, black figures on a white landscape covered in snow; a photographic negative. So, what to write? What I thought it was, wasn’t – so I had to rethink that one. What else can be said? Everything overwhelmed with whiteness, I have to wear dark glasses. The monks don’t seem to feel the cold, shaved heads and smiling faces. They show me pictures of the standing Buddha outside and I notice something strange about one of the pictures; there’s a reflection in the upturned palm of the buddha while the arm is held in shadow.

Some hours later when I manage to get a connection, I write up the notes created in scraps of paper and the picture image used as the header for this blog is the one with the strange reflected light in the palm. Sleep that night and in the morning it is 10 degrees below zero Celsius, but the internet connection is suddenly good enough for a moment so I hit publish… and it goes.

Lovely snowflakes! Each one falls in the appropriate place. [Zen saying]


The header photo is from the Dhammapala collection
~   G   R   A   T   I   T   U   D   E   ~

something lost regained

IMG_2026POSTCARD #171: Zurich airport hotel: Hard to believe that, as I write this, everything in our old house in Delhi is being folded up, layered, packed, sealed into boxes and labeled with a number. When I return, all our possessions will be cubed, diced up, chopped into boxes and stacked on top of each other inside the waiting truck. Larger items will retain some of their shape; a chair will be recognizably ‘chair’, swathed in corrugated cardboard and bubble-wrap. Upside down table will be recognizable by its legs sticking up, wrapped to protect corners but its upside-down-ness, disconcerting… tables shouldn’t be seen like that. A bit strange, but we’ve moved so many times and it’s always like this; as if a surgeon removes a part of the mind/body organism, it’s taken away and never seen again, then strangely a new organ grows in its place, exactly like the old one but different… after that there’s no memory of it happening.

Except, of course, if something is broken or lost during the move and this thing, this object, is mourned and held in the memory for a long time. It must have been something like this that happened to me when we moved from the house in Japan to the new place in Bangkok. I was still working when the movers were boxing up everything and Jiab reminded me that if I wanted to get the bus leaving at 16.40 I could run down the hill and probably get it – if I left right now, She called out as I went that we’d all meet afterwards at the station. So I rushed out the door, ran downstairs and off down the path. Suddenly I remembered something, stopped, turned around and looked up at the house; top floor of a small 2 storey house – I’d stayed there for 3 years, and this would be the last time I’d ever see the house… how could it be so sudden like this? I would never be back here. Tears sprouted from the eyes, what to do? Just look and try to remember it… at the same time, turn my head away, a wrench, something torn – no time, against my will I continue running down the hill, almost as if I’m running away from the house… but focused on getting the 16.40 bus. The last image of the house clear in my mind for a moment then dissolving away and forgotten. Next day I was on the plane to Bangkok and that’s the last time I was ever in Japan.

In Bangkok a few weeks later, I was telling a friend about this, Curtis Cairns – his name was, and sadly I lost track of Curtis in the end… so if you’re reading this Curtis, please get in touch old friend! Anyway I was telling the story about the house to Curtis and he was just listening. When I finished, he nodded and looked at me, felt my loss. Asked me where the house was, and what was the address. It happened he was going to Japan the following week and when he got there, unknown to me, he took a few trains from Tokyo and got on the bus up the hill, walked the last bit and came up to my old house, took a photo of it (before the days of digital images) had the film processed and put the photo of the house in an envelope, stamped it and addressed to me in Thailand. A week later the post came to the house in Bangkok, there’s the slim, letter from Japan, opened it up and pull out the photo of the house, no accompanying note, just the photo. I still have it, pasted in an album – something lost regained.

Our own life is the instrument with which we experiment with truth. [Thich Nhat Hanh]


Photo: The last pic taken of the rooftop in the Delhi house

sailing away

IMG_0798POSTCARD #170: Delhi/Zurich flight: Leaving it all behind, a far and distant shore slipping away… there’s a feeling I could be on an old sailing ship, clouds and air currents like the swell of the sea. Jolts of turbulence like the flip of waves at their peak and passengers have to fasten their seat belts and remain seated. These huge engines, velocity 600 mph, bolted onto a lightweight metal cylindrical structure with wings; sailing across the world in a gigantic wind. In my mind, it’s like this; massive areas of stretched canvas sail cloth filling out. The creak of long hemp ropes, old wood decking – a wide open sky….

Sitting here lost in my screen most of the time, I don’t usually consider passenger jets flying above the clouds 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Active shipping itineraries reaching out around the globe, and down below, train tracks, highways and rivers of traffic. Arterial routes, ring roads, crossings, lights, junctions, and one particular lorry rumbling along a bumpy Indian road containing all our goods and chattels – rattle, bang, crash, in a cloud of dust; our temporary home. We’ve moved so many times it’s as if it were continuously on wheels.

The present moment is forever in transit, on-going, always underway. It goes by itself, I don’t need to do anything. I try not to dwell on the anticipation of things unforeseen, mind showing a disaster movie of it all crashing through the restraints of planning, and there it goes… it’s all coming to pieces in my head because I’m holding on to it too tightly. Let go, let it go, let it all go, and return to the stillness I feel contained here in the interior of this passenger jet, an enclosed bubble of air flashing through time and space… seeing the curvature of the planet sometimes, so wide and all-encompassing it includes absolutely everything – a breath-taking sense of ease, a very long drawn out out-breath, like the never-ending horizon seen from the aircraft window at dawn, cloud layers upon layers below.

‘Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.’ [John Milton]


This post inspired, in part, by a dialogue with Michael Mark
~   G   r   a   t   i   t   u   d   e   ~


IMG_2371POSTCARD #169: New Delhi: Sitting at a table in the mall, the frothy cup of coffee positioned in its saucer with spoon lying there dutifully present. The splintered present time, persistent headache dulled by meds… ‘comfortably numb’, watching people go by, hearing snatches of conversations, fragments of stories, and I never see them again; actions that will forever remain unfinished. There’s too much happening, I’d like to be content with just the movement of it, like a river rushing by,  the awareness of the thinking process goes on by itself; I’m kinda flying away from it; looking back when something catches the attention and a glance to see what that could be. Not having any inclination to have it be different than what it is – not wishing it were something else. Just being open, a kind of alertness about the sensory function, faces turns here and there, eyes take things in, ears hear the music track drifting in and out. Colours, lights, and things are sort of pink… childlike. It’s a state of awake receptivity, a curiosity about pieces of small events taking place. What’s this? What’s that?

Jiab comes back from having her nails done, arms extended and hands held out with fingers straight and separated from each other because the nail varnish isn’t dry yet; has a startled look, cartoon-like. In my whole life I’ve never had my nails varnished, maybe I should. She holds her bag by the tip of the thumb – doesn’t want to smear the still-wet surfaces. Wants me to take out her things, pull back the chair a bit, she can’t touch anything… open her bag, get her iPad out please, thanks and she’ll have cappuccino, pain chocolat. So I go tell the waiter.

We’re moving house, and I don’t know what to think about it except I suppose I’m glad we’re leaving because the guy next door just bought his son a drum kit: brrrr-kaboom-crash! He practices in the evenings and weekends. But the whole thing is slightly complicated by the fact I’ll not be there when the move takes place; Swissair Flight to Zurich departs 2 o’clock in the morning on Thursday November 19. I return November 30 and by then we’ll be in the new place. Sad to think the birds surrounding the old house will go on chirping in the small twigs of tree branches and I’ll not be there listening near the windows, or lying on the sofa surrounded by the sound of it in the early morning. The sofa will be gone, silhouettes on the walls where pictures used to hang, empty rooms. The whole accumulation of what we were there dismantled and removed. Birdsong enters the empty rooms echoes off the bare walls and cold marble floor.

‘… we are only dust. Our days on earth are like grass; like wildflowers, we bloom and die. The wind blows, and we are gone – as though we had never been here.’ [Psalm 103, 14-16]


worlds inside worlds

IMG_6784POSTCARD #168: New Delhi: There’s a little Assamese girl who lives next door, looks Japanese but speaks an Indo-Tibetan language. I can’t communicate with her well so we sit on the floor and I give her a few small objects including a brightly coloured gift bag. She opens the bag and puts the objects in the bag then closes it. A moment later she opens the bag, looks inside and the objects are still there, worlds inside worlds. Closes the bag and they disappear again. She repeats the action again and again, develops it by opening the bag and bringing the objects out one by one and giving them to me.

This curious thing about internalizing objects; the contents of our houses, the contents of our minds, and the news here is we are moving house. The house agent informed us on Diwali day; fortuitous, they’d say here – the eleventh day of the eleventh month, and the symbol of the doorway contained in the number 11. The passageway opening and repeated (11/11) as if there were two doors, the old door, the new door and we’re moving from one into the other. The event, conceptualised as a moving-into action, brings to mind the common idea that all things are ‘in’… the child in the womb of the mother, we are contained beings, somehow.

We want to hide in the prepositional form ‘in’… language gets lost in the mystery, can only describe it in technical terms; capacity, volume. We are in a traffic jam, we’re in a bad mood – in a good mood. Always there’s this feeling we want to go ‘in’, it’s a spatial metaphor, inner/outer. We seek refuge ‘in’ our spiritual world… we are ‘in’ the middle of the Pacific Ocean, even though surrounded by space. Everything is ‘in’… I’m ‘in’ space. Space is everywhere, I’m sunk in it, space is submerged in me… I cannot escape from it. Mind is contained in consciousness. Consciousness is a spatial thing. Contemplating something directional that isn’t spatial; dimensions extending in a non spatial sense… for a moment, it holds my attention.

The moving-into is a transformational event, a rebirth. Everything is deconstructed, taken apart, the pieces are wrapped in paper, packed in boxes, placed in the removals van, taken out at the new house, removed from the box, unwrapped from the paper and things are reconstructed in their new setting. Something is forgotten, something new is acquired. The completeness of it evolves over time and becomes the new context within which we engage and interact, like actors on a stage. The story will come to an end some day and we will have to pack and move on again. I can see it coming but that seems like a long way off right now.

“The moment you start talking you create a verbal universe, a universe of words, ideas, concepts and abstractions, interwoven and interdependent, most wonderfully generating, supporting and explaining each other, and yet all without essence or substance, mere creations of the mind. Words create words, Reality is Silent.” [Nisargadatta Maharaj]


Photo: The monk practices mindfulness by meditating in a dangerous situation seated on the peak of a rock, knowing that if his concentration moves from the present time in this precarious position he may fall.
Thanks to Garrett S for his inspiring post: The Philosophy of Metaphors as a Means to Define Spatial Consciousness. Also thanks to Lou at Zen Flash for the Nisargadatta quote here.
~   G   R   A   T   I   T   U   D   E   ~

diwali 11/11

fireworks-1245636POSTCARD #167: New Delhi: There’s this colossal BOOM… so loud it sets off a car alarm down the street. The glass, brick and concrete of the buildings resonate like a huge drum. Startled, is not the word – it’s the nearest thing to jumping out of your skin I’ve ever experienced – automatic response. Confusion in time… what happened first? Was it before it happened that it seemed like I saw, in the darkness of mind-space, this amazing bright sky-blue colour appearing behind bars of intense black, parts of the structure that had been holding the immense blue, falling away in pieces, collapsing, and more and more of this lovely sky-blue colour is revealed.

HAPPY DIWALI EVERYBODY! I’m up on the roof terrace watching the fireworks display, another explosion of sound and light blows me away for an instant, takes time to recover… then there’s another one.  It’s too loud for me, having this PHN condition, sensitive to sound and light, so I go downstairs where it’s less smoky. Even so, some very loud explosions as I start up the laptop to write this post.

Driving to see the doc yesterday and there were people everywhere cleaning doorways with water and brooms. I read about it later. Before Diwali night, people clean, renovate, and decorate their homes and offices. An important turning point, and that’s enough for me to feel something of its significance. Diwali is celebrated by Hindus, Jains, and Sikhs and some Buddhists to mark historical events, the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil, hope over despair. The main festival night of Diwali coincides with the darkest, new moon night of the Hindu Lunisolar month Kartika.

Another interesting thing about Diwali this year is that it falls on November 11 (11/11), a significant number for many people. The perception is that throughout our lives, external forces guide and protect us, commonly represented by guardian angels. The number 11 is a ‘master’ number; two ones in conjunction are thought to symbolize a doorway opening to new opportunities. This number represents creativity, and presents itself to innovative individuals as an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of self and purpose.

‘You’re not living until it doesn’t matter a tinker’s damn to you whether you live or die. At that point you live. When you’re ready to lose your life, you live it.’  [Anthony de Mello]


Note: Excerpts from an earlier post: ‘synonyms for startled’ included here

the way things are

IMG_2231bPOSTCARD #166: New Delhi: In the office they’re saying, he’s been here all morning but he’s gone now – you just missed him, as if that helps, and there’s this gesture that seems to indicate the empty space where he was; the empty room, desk, chair. I’m held by that space, I want him to be here, but he’s not. Somebody is making a call in the background but can’t get through right now so he must be at that somewhere-else place but he’s on a motorbike so maybe he’s on his way back here. Nothing extraordinary, it’s just that this motorbike guy is the one who signs the rental documents and we can’t go any further until he comes.

There’s the Indian head movement; an affirmative shake of the head that indicates a yes-I’m-sure, but deep inside that affirmation there’s a no-I’m-not-sure. I’m captivated by the swaying head gesture and want him to do it again. So I repeat the question that requires his answer and there it is; a headshake that is a vertical nod and a horizontal shake from side to side. It seems it could go either way… Yes, so have a seat, relax, see how things go.

I can’t sit down, too many possibilities, step outside and stand in the doorway. Look out across the busy road and up and down the street, all these faces turn around, eyes looking directly at me. It’s a kind of flicker of awareness all along my field of vision. More faces turning towards me like windows opening. People, mostly men, standing in doorways like me, maybe also waiting for the outcome of a possible event, and not doing anything right now, leaning on walls, interested in the white guy just entered their surroundings…

For a while I get the look, investigated, then the faces begin to turn away and we all fall into this state of just being where we are. Heads all swivel around at the same time if there’s a loud noise… something that gets our attention for a moment. The ‘self’ always receiving data, taking in, responding, rejecting, avoiding things unpleasant. Looking for something pleasing, heads swivel back to where we were before, front facing, the default position; has anything changed since the last time I was here? Nope it’s pretty much the same as it was.

Watching the inbreath, the outbreath, there’s an alertness about the sensory function, the simple curiosity about sounds and things happening – an awake receptivity that stretches to include the next moment: the response to that seems to arrive before it happens and there’s a glimpse of the construct. Attention blows like the wind this way, and that way, filled with the activity of being.

I hear a text message on a phone somewhere near and somebody comes along to say he’s coming back from that somewhere-else place. But I’m concerned because sometimes the somewhere-else place slips away and becomes the ‘here’, the point of origin we come back to and go away from and the going-away becomes the coming-back and he has gone becomes he has been. But not wanting to get into that, things are stretched enough as they are; he’ll be here soon, In the meantime, staying with the way things are.

‘No writing on the solitary, meditative dimensions of life can say anything that has not already been said better by the wind in the pine trees.’ [Thomas Merton]


somewhere to be

IMG_4027POSTCARD #165: New Delhi: I’d like it to be a windswept hut made of bamboo on a beach on an island, but we’re looking for a place to rent in South Delhi – a small house or a duplex. Right now I’m being driven around at high speed by the agent looking at houses, buildings, one after another which all seem to be part of the same interconnected vast network of habitations; neighbours pass through your room on the way to somewhere else. Arrive at another street, get out of the car, go inside, there’s a staircase, corridors and empty rooms, nothing here. Stare at the wall… a painted flat surface. Can I see us here? Not impossible, what are the criteria? Searching for the ‘right’ place – try to estimate ceiling heights… windows, doors, floors. Birdsong from a nearby tree enters the empty house in an irregular chord of strangely related notes… walk over to the window. Look at what’s out there; the agent talking about this and that, and all I can think of is what Hipmonkey said: there is no ‘out-there’ out there that’s separate from what’s in ‘here’.

Outside invades inside, I’m back in the agent’s car and we’re off to the next place, slooshing and splooshing through the crowded streets at breakneck speed, talking as we’re going (she does this driving thing for a living), her livelihood is set in this river of noisy, crazy traffic that’s consistently doing unexpected things. The urgency of it all going past too fast… I can’t look, it’s too much, avert my gaze to the side window instead, and see out there, the reflection of myself in the glass shop windows flashing by opposite, focus on the shadowy face looking back at me from one window to the next, somehow staying in the same position – it’s the world that’s rushing by, not me.

Trying (but failing) to understand the Buddhist term: sati-sampajañña, clear comprehension (the absolute clarity of understanding), whilst stumbling over all the indistinct, half-seen, misunderstood truths, and eventually I realize it means the clear comprehension of everything, including the confusion; the mistake, the mix-up, the puzzleheadedness. The fact that I don’t understand this is what’s causing this problem. Don’t ‘do’ anything with it… I see it now. An epiphany, revelation, insight; the experience of total confusion – random things just seem to fit, the recognition that all related parts and everything come together, anyway, according to their circumstances; parallels link parts of the story together with a kind of inevitability.

It’s an all-inclusive world, the ‘self’ comes with the software. I’m playing a role integrated with one whole consciousness – dimensions within dimensions – acting the part; being this person living in these rooms, being that person in those rooms, finding my way through this curious illusion, looking for words to describe that it’s a construct through and through. No way out, I know because I stopped looking for the way out a long time ago. In the 30 years of learning how to get along here in Asian society, I think I’ve let go of that remembered fiction about where I come from – migrants from Europe have experienced this in North America since the 17th Century. Long ago I learned, involuntarily at first, to be at home with other people’s preferences and relinquish my own choices, in time forgetting how I figured out how to be comfortable with it. So when there’s an opportunity to have a place of my own, I return to the old default, surprised to see it’s still there, and how shall I do this? Let’s see, the bed goes here, the table there, and my chair…

‘We are members of a vast cosmic orchestra in which each living instrument is essential to the complementary and harmonious playing of the whole.’ [J. Allen Boone]


Note: ‘there is no out-there out there…’ sourced in the Hipmonkey site (What the bleep do we know – 3rd video down)
Photo: fishermen’s shelter, Krabi, Thailand (from M’s collection)