Thursday, January 30, 2003


How does one explain one’s path in life? How does one know there is a story that needs to be told? That people will want to listen to my story? And even if they do, will I want to expose myself to the world? And, at what cost to my soul?

And if I do have something to say, where do I begin? Is there a real beginning? Is there a logical end? When would a personal life story be considered finished? When life is over? When there is nothing more to say? When there is nobody left to listen? When the seeking stops? And where does one begin? Beginning of life? At birth? In the womb? Did I know myself in my mother’s womb? Was I being programmed even then to behavior and reactions and affectations? Or is it when there is some accumulation of events in the memory bank? When I started having dreams and woke up crying because I was stung by a bumblebee in the park? Is it when I become self-conscious, of my body, my looks, my style? Impression Management they call it in business terms. We are taught to project ourselves very carefully. Don’t give yourself away, keep the upper hand in every relationship, only a fool wears his heart on his sleeve. Zip it up baby, we are taught, and perhaps for good reason. Because obviously everybody else is also playing the same game conditioned by similar parental and educational guidance. So, is that the beginning of my life? When I remembered not to cry in front of my father, or not to curse in front of my grandfather, or not to hold hands with girls in kindergarten, or not to emit bodily sounds or not to bathe naked with my girl cousins?

Or is that still really not my life? It is my life ‘situation’ they tell me now in books and philosophies. Your life is happening only NOW. Well, when did this Now start happening then? When was the beginning of awareness? Is analysis of what constitutes my life the beginning then? Or is it when even analysis has no meaning anymore? Awareness comes in every waking moment of life.

So, yes, perhaps that is the beginning of life as they call it. Otherwise it is still ‘My So Called Life’. These and many such questions will be answered in this page-turner. And why would you want to read it? Because there is an essential life-affirming message in this modern day gospel? Because this is a journey through innocence to angst to denial to confusion to frustration to guilt to pleasure and pain to loss to assessment to understanding to introspection to reevaluation and finally to build? Or, because there is a need every now and then for all of us to affirm the positive in creation and acknowledge that rebirth can happen in a lifetime and can be employed to salvage any given life ‘situation’.

Wednesday, January 29, 2003

No I

So, what was happening to him, he wondered. Well, for the first time, in all these months perhaps, he had experienced a clarity while in the experience that had seemed to stay with him for the major part of that day and in fact, through a lot of today as well. This sense of no I. The loss of a true and permanent personal self. What did that mean, really? Well, it began while he was in the car, speeding down a highway, rolling hills and curving roads signifying motion in space and time. And there was the familiar urge to want to know where he was right now. He tried to picture the moment and identify what all he was experiencing. The road, the car, his own hands on the steering wheel, the breath in his body, cars zipping past or being pulled back as he strode ahead in his vehicle. And all through this he also began to become conscious of his own feelings, and his own thoughts and his own identity. He began to point at all the things that he could sense and feel and think about. Quickly they were labeled for what they were ‘My car’, ‘My Body’, ‘My journey’, ‘My thought about work’, ‘My thought about this thought process’, ‘My thought about the thought that I am thinking’, ‘My thought about myself’. Wait a minute, he said to ‘himself’. That is a thought too, right? This ‘myself’ that I feel, is that the ego, which really is just another thought? Perhaps so, but I can see that thought as well, so that Ego thought is also not myself. Well, then what about this witnessing presence that can see all these thoughts including the ego thought? Watch in silence and you will see all these thoughts and feelings and emotions as they are witnessed by this presence. But then, where is that ‘presence’ itself? Is that not a thought, as well? Is there a being that is the ‘witnessing presence’ that is sitting inside this body and accumulating all of these experiences and is that who I really am then?
Close, one would say. But when you come down to it, isn’t that too simply a concept? That there is a ‘presence’ inside that is taking all of this in? Well, what if there is nothing there. Let’s try to look at it from the other side, the man thought to himself. What if there is no presence? What then? Who is ‘experiencing’ in this moment? Let’s call that I something else. Yes, how about No-I? That is as good a name as any, he figured. Well, then this moment is being experienced by No-I. These people who are walking down the streets, the cars rolling by, the chatter in the café, the clackety-clack of his keyboard, are all being felt/sensed/experienced by No-I. And that No-I also sees and feels internal emotions and thoughts. And they are all there as they move through this time and space continuum. Constantly changing within this eternal Now. There’s a thought about tomorrow – that he has to go to the office in San Jose, No-I registered. And here comes another one, this time of the ego’s sense of self: those folks did not even look at me. They were kind of leery and suspicious of what it was that I was writing. Well, then that too went away. This is kind of like being here but not being here. Are these folks seeing and feeling what I am seeing and feeling? Why are they all looking at me so strangely? Am I behaving strangely?

All this was being registered by No-I. But you know what? There was No No-I.

Bottom of the Ninth

So, then what of this life? Once this paradox is revealed and higher states of bliss are experienced through meditation, music, creativity, sex and drugs, and the futility of striving for perfection from an already perfect state is understood? Knowing that all my striving in this life will eventually lead me to a state whereby I will perhaps have wiped off some of the dust from The Shining, somewhat like revealing patches of blue sky through dark ominous clouds, and then it will be time to roll over and die. Would the knowledge of a future improved life, perhaps a clearer understanding from the very start, perhaps be the incentive needed to carry on playing the game? It would be like if one knows that the last innings of the World Series Final game will not be resolved, but the players are still required to play their hearts and souls out. That the 9th would automatically ease into the 1st again with a complete memory erasure of what had happened. The same players would have forgotten the battle from just a few moments ago and will begin anew, eager and inspired. Perhaps some, as the innings progressed, would realize that there is more to this ‘game’ than meets the eye – that the grander scheme of things will only be fully revealed to them at the very end. This was guaranteed to give no satisfaction to those who played hard, if they did not know what they were trying to win. It would perhaps make not much of a difference to those players who didn’t care what the outcome was, as long as they played the game. And then there were others who had so believed that this game was the only game that was every to be played by them and so had put all their fears and worries and hopes and desires into the outcomes of each of the innings. Interesting how it was that all were playing the same game, all having made huge assumptions about a satisfying end result, and all had somehow down the road forgotten that this was just ‘A’ game. That there would be other games, again and again. That there was no perfect game – that all games were perfect and there was no superior satisfaction from transcending the game. The ultimate bliss was when the game revealed itself to be no –thing and the player realized that it had never really been played all along – that it was just a figment of his imagination.

No Thing

Of humor, then. Where does humor go when spirituality transforms ones lifestyle? He thought about situations that one finds humorous and they mostly involve making fun of people. Their habits, quirks, lifestyles, relationships, interactions, fears, peeves and rants. Human beings are the source of all mirth and comedy intentional or otherwise. And once one starts seeing every human being as not just the outer body, mind and emotional being but also as a spiritually divine soul, then it is hard to really find comedy in their behavior. Because, this witnessing was transforming him beyond the mind. It had officially given him writer’s block.

What of it then? How could he possibly care at this point? Wasn’t this tranquility and peace of mind what everybody yearns for? Could it be that he was simply not prepared to accept enlightenment? Did he feel his tasks in this competitive, get it done, world were not yet complete? He had much more to say, fight for and win! He was Rajasic dammit, he had passion and high energy. He wanted it back, the tantrums, self-righteousness, anger, one-upmaniship. How would he charm the pants off of lovers now that he had no witty, dennis-miller-is-a-cream-puff-compared-to-me banter left for them? He wouldn’t survive a day in Manhattan anymore. Even San Francisco was sometimes too harsh and judgmental for him now.

Perhaps this will pass and soon. Perhaps a balance is indeed required. Hell, that’s why one goes to retreats and meditation sanghas right? Just like going to the gym or the bars. Unleash and unload the particular personality needs and then come home afresh. Work out, get drunk and get meditated but ALWAYS return to one's reality. And what would that be for him? If indeed there was no gym, no bar, no office, no clinic, no charity, no vacation spot, no gadgets to operate in? Not even a sangha or a temple or a retreat? What then? What would his life be like? What could he possibly write about, think about, talk about? What could he feel? If there were no internal or external triggers and stimulants? Would the source of creativity vanish without sight for him, then?

Living Hell

Unconsciousness is a product of living life based on extrapolations of the past. It is a combination of not seeing, not feeling, not perceiving, not being. It is a product of thinking, imagining, reminiscing, forecasting, judging and often coming up with a solution out of a fixed set of outcomes. This is a moment. I am buying coffee. I will ask for a grande coffee, room for milk. I will pay the guy behind the counter 1 dollar and 55 cents, leave 20 cents in his tip jar, pocket the quarter, thank him with blank, unseeing eyes, head on over the cream counter, dump some coffee out, pour some whole milk, stir, sip, close the lid, wipe the counter, pocket a napkin and walk out. Now, that is indeed a moment that has happened in my life many, many, many times in the past. There is nothing unique about it. In fact, it’s a completely predictable moment. It’s happened before, it’ll happen again and again and again. There is no need to change it, no need to analyze it or think about it. Very true. But there is a need to experience it as what each such incident is. Different than any other and happening in a very unique time-space-consciousness continuum. I have only to drop my mind, find the truth of the moment and experience the joy in that moment. It will happen, because it is there. The uniqueness of this moment can never be reproduced, bastardized, predicted or duplicated. Never. Know this. Realize this. Don’t think about it nor question or analyze nor glorify it. This is the way life is supposed to happen. The birds and the trees and the fish and the dogs don’t question it. They live it with full acceptance. Babies and the madmen don’t question it – they too live with full acceptance of the situation. But then one starts accumulating knowledge, ideas, theories and compulsive ways of needing to explain everything. That is when the magic begins to disappear from life. There is then the need to neatly file and compile every instance as it surfaces. To find the reason behind every situation. That is when the mind takes me over, and I resort to unconscious behavior. That is when the past and the future assign me my identity. That is when I die to my life. And that is what is sorrow. That is what is hell.


Trees are what I notice the most now. The varying shades of greens and the movement from one end to another, a sway that is unpretentious. It's simply there. The branches seem to hold on to the leaves in weary affection. They’ve been supporting the wild ones for so long, and listening to the grumblings of the roots from the underground. They remind me of grandparents, parents and children. A kind of damned if you do damned if you don’t way of life for them branches. Maybe that is really why it is called a family tree. Yes, of course it is, I guess I only realized it now - duh!

So, yes, trees. And flavors of food. Every morsel somehow seems to exude multiple flavors. I can taste on every square millimeter of my tongue as they explode. It is definitely a fantastic sensation.