Wednesday, February 12, 2003

Today, The Day.

Getting into a rhythm in life. This day is evaporating before my very eyes.
An old man walks up the hill. He catches his breath at the top of my street. Looks me from the corner of his eyes. And I do the same. What does he see?
Some guy sitting at his dining table, tapping away on his computer. Busy, productive, actively pursuing his interests. How far from the truth is that? You tell me.
Where did he go? Probably directly below my apartment by now. Let it go. It was a moment in time. It passed. That is the key to life. Live each moment like it will never come back. For it never will.

Live each moment like it will never come back.
Hmmm… how would that look like in ‘real’ life for me then?
Carpe Diem, they say. Seize the day. Carpe Momentum is what it really is then. That even as I type this, this very moment, on this particular keystroke, is dying even as it is being born. And unless I consciously grasp it, cherish it, celebrate it, I have died to it. It never happened. I lost a part of my life because I was never there while it was happening.
Where was I? Where are all of us as life happens to us in the moment? In the past, in the future? Living in our minds and our soulless bodies mostly. Fighting reality. Projecting and Reminiscing. Never really being.
Feel the essence of this moment. My breath, my fingers flying on the keyboard, a young girl with a red backpack walking down the street, glass of cranberry juice sitting on the table next to me. My Swatch shining back in my peripheral vision. Amazing jazz riff playing in the background. Don’t think about it. Don’t think about the stereo it is playing on, where is it coming from the whole electric, electronic contraption behind it. Just feel it in every molecule of air that wafts slowly from one room to another until it flows into my ears and through them into my body, diffusing into my blood stream. Until I become the music, just like I become this air, this earth and this sky. Look at the tree swaying drunkenly from side to side right in front of me. Dancing in merriment, the leaves can only be described as gay children screaming out their pleasure to be simply alive and in the joyous way of being. Two humming birds just zipped past my window, one in hot pursuit of the other. They all seem to be crying out “spring is here!” The temperature defies that feeling though. It’s at least 20 degrees colder than spring should be.
Rich gravelly voice oozes out from the room, like warm treacle, seeps into my air ducts. This bitter earth she sings.
What good am I? Heaven only knows.
Don’t analyze. This is the joy of being. Never analyze. Simply live today.
Today you’re young, too soon you’re old. While the voice within me cries. I’m sure someone will answer my call. And then this bitter earth may not be so bitter after all.

What else is there to say then? Can’t say it in any more succinct a manner. So, what next? How does this living in the Now manifest into happiness? Into Joy? Don’t you see? It already is. Your mind vanishes. And there is no past. No future. Just the throbbing presence of Now. And what is there to do in the Now? Nothing. Just be in the Now. The doing simply happens while you’re in it. I’m not really sure what that means. What about imagination then? Creativity? Letting your thoughts soar and run rampant with the richness of dreams and visions and theories and fantasies, building this rich kaleidoscope called Life. Your Life. This boys’ life who has grown up to be a man with quirks and kinks, fears and chinks but all in all a pretty good life. If I don’t think about the past and mold my present into a future, how will I really Live it then? Is living in the Now taking away from my creativity? How can I have both? Do I set apart time to go into time again and then return to the Now when I am not traveling in time? Willfully that is? Perhaps that is the answer.

Do what feels good. Some say, indulge each desire and you shall have lived fully. Live in the moment, get everything that you can from it. Never regret not having desires fulfilled but that does not mean stop having desires. Want it so bad that it hurts. But never feel hurt if you don’t get it. You will have learned so much from the experience of giving everything you’ve got to pursue your happiness. That is the Western philosophy. Achieve everything. For everything is in your grasp. For everything can be yours.

And then there is the Eastern theory. Enjoy each moment for it is in that that you are really living, connected to divinity. If there is a God then he is in this moment of Consciousness. That is the only way to reach him. Knowing that, you will realize that everything is already yours. Always was, always will be. The material forms are simply meant to be placemarks of human evolution. The more highly evolved you are the less the need for these material forms you shall have. Eventually you reach a point where the presence, or lack thereof, of these has absolutely no impact on your state of bliss. And at that moment, they simply become toys that you enjoy but can do without at a moment’s notice. There is no sense of pride or possession or feeling of loss or deprivation in the presence or absence of these objects. And when that happens, you have truly reached a state of voluntary desirelesness. Of course, even after such a state is achieved, you live in this world, live every single moment of life. But now only as a witness. There is nowhere to go anymore. Nothing to prove and nobody to report to. You have found yourself in this world and in every world before and beyond.


My god I have such a sweet high going right now – I am in love with the moon – I want to make love to the moon – it sits and smiles at me, sly grin, knowing wink and twinkle like jack from the jack in the box commercials only much more handsome in a pale, gay, silvery sort of way like a top hat wielding Fred Astaire about to start tap dancing. Such a beautiful vivid imagination you have today, my dear. This music is divine. I find the riffs so seductive and soothing. I want to swim in them like on a turbulent stream in tropical Kerala and I am floating on a huge banana leaf down the river, rowing occasionally, using green, leafy paddles which I am sure are full of amino acids and Vitamin A. And as I paddle down the river, fisherwomen in white and silver dance seductively swaying hips in the shimmering moonlight. Young dark eyed men in thongs and dhotis, that coil seductively against their sinewy muscular legs, hold drums between their heavy thighs and they drum on them with sensual fingers - dhak dhina dhin dhan – dhak dhana dhin dhan like it plays on the stereo and now I am swimming alone, naked but not quite. I writhe and stretch, half-sleepy half aroused consumed by the music and this amazingly dreamy scene that stretches in front of my languid eyes. I flash my lashes lazily and immerse my head into the river and take a deep gulp of that cool refreshing fluid that flows so gracefully and with such natural charm through my fingers and onto my face and eyes and ears. I raise my head, my hair dripping the precious fluid all over the boat and I see myself as I shake my head in slow motion from one side to another– droplets and rivulets splashing here there and everywhere from my brow and chin and lips. And every single hair on my body and head drips with such silken seductiveness that I feel myself getting aroused seeing myself like that. I feel like I am in the movie version of Chemmeen and I am the guy who is powerful and lusty with uncontrollable passion whom the sensual Chemmeen will approach any moment now and kiss deeply on his sensual lips. The kiss that will wake them from this deep sleep and put them into this dream of a lifetime together forever with no beginning or end. Later there will be death and destruction and blood will flow. But at this moment there is the purest of energy and a deep cool longing. This is where it all started. Let’s just keep it here then. Wow!

And the night advances, the bay has grown from the deeper somber gray to this much darker indigo blue waiting to be engulfed by the black night that is about to descend onto this city.

Tuesday, February 11, 2003

Life Times

He really was stumped. If there is nothing to strive for, if mind’s natural state is restlessness, if human suffering is an inevitable part of life and if unconsciousness was the very nature of the major reality, why strive so hard to transcend it? There was no place to go, and even if there was, no experience that could possibly take one there. The vicious cycle of yearning and learning, striving and seeking and reaching a state of frenzied bliss would eventually end in ashes and death, only to begin again right from the beginning, with complete forgetfulness of this earlier cycle. However much he grew and grasped in this life, unless he went all the way, he would begin again right from the very start, making the same mistakes, suffering the same sufferings and learning and then forgetting the same life lessons. They may be in a different body and soul and physical surroundings with different human forms, but they would be there. But then this too was the paradox. If everyone strove for happiness in some way shape or form, material, physical, emotional, psychological or spiritual and everyone eventually collapsed into a heap of dust and bones only to start the same striving again, why worry about it at all? Why despair? Why not move in life with complete acceptance of this truth and live and experience each moment as it presented itself to us, whether it was done consciously or unconsciously? Why even try to control that? Well, practically, because human nature is such that it will attempt to improve on every aspect of its present condition, assuming there is a lack. And this included the feeling of lack in a spiritual dimension. So all striving would always exist to eliminate this feeling of dissatisfaction that there is a life that is better, more comfortable, more secure, more peaceful, more blissful, more free and more of everything that is less right now.

Accept it then. Life is suffering. Human nature is to strive to transcend this suffering. No man is ‘better’ than another man, each tries to alleviate this pain in his own way – some have been doing it for longer and so have reached the finer strands of this striving. All intentions are to ultimately go beyond the thinnest strand of Maya until that dissolves into the vast openness of eternity. Where there is no human labels of time, space and concepts created by thought and conditioned consciousness. All that is there is pure Being, with no beginning, no end and no thing. Rejoice, then, that this Groundhog Day that we find ourselves in will repeat for many many many many and many more lifetimes, each time we, and others around us, will forget. But eventually the spell will break and the bonds will evaporate and there will be perfect freedom. It just will not be in your lifetime. So, live, laugh and love a little.

"Happiness comes of the capacity to feel deeply, to enjoy simply, to think freely, to risk, to be needed."

--Storm Jameson, writer

There Where?

So then there was another moment in time and this time it was a moment on a plane. This time there was more clarity and perhaps more presence. This time he did not try too hard. He felt he had written and spoken and thought too many words. He had to accept that this process of self-inquiry ultimately reached a place where no amount of grasping with the spoken, said or thought out concept could help any further. Perhaps he had reached the end of the ladder, the support that he had achieved from the teachings and the readings and the meditations had finally placed him on the top rung of the ladder in the first stage of his spiritual journey. And now it was up to him to make that leap of faith from this top rung into what at this point seemed like oblivion beyond the thick fog of the unknown. He had been told that it was liberating to make that leap and that he would surely reach the other side, even if he did free fall into the deep abyss of fear and loneliness for a bit. But he would never be able to experience what it was like to be truly liberated until he jumped himself. And nobody could take him there and he couldn’t take anyone there with him. It was like the last time he had sky-dived, tandem, supported by another. There was no fear, he felt secure that he would be ‘shown’ the amazing sights from the sky by a ‘professional’. But for him to really feel the rush, live the thrill and experience the amazement, he’d have to do it alone, once again, on his own. So, too no Guru or Swami would take him there with them. He had to reach the end alone.

Now he was stumped. He thought about his life and his comforts and his needs and wants and all that he loved and held so close to his heart. Parents, siblings, relatives, lovers, friends, teachers, colleagues, pets, sex, drugs, alcohol, creativity, intellect, intelligence, culture, education, knowledge, wisdom, theories, philosophies, concepts and judgments, desires and dislikes, hopes and fears. All the forms and thoughts and other time and space bound entities and their attributes. And all the ‘tools’ that he had used thus far to get a clearer understanding of what distinguished the ‘real’ from the impermanent. Meditation and satsang and yoga and prayer and mindfulness and states of no-mind and absolute knowledge, truth and bliss. Ultimately, none of these really mattered much. Ultimately, when it comes down to it, there was no ‘there’ there. And that was the paradox. To get there one had to leave everything behind and put into disciplined practice what one had read, or learned or heard. The there, itself could never be reached, though, because, there was already here. There was everywhere and he was already there. So, there was no ladder and there was no top rung and there was no fog to jump into. There had never been there and there was never needed, nor to be found. All was infinite existence and all forms and shapes were simply building and fading in this infiniteness. But that could not be conceptualized, nor experienced with the instruments of cognition and perception that he possessed. Well, then what?

Monday, February 10, 2003

Sweet Inspiration: A Cafe

The man sat there and simply watched and allowed the experience to wash over him. There were several sources of stimulation: traffic on the streets, people walking on the sidewalk right in front of him, chatter of patrons inside the coffee shop, violins dancing in some classical piece playing on the stereo, the sight of his own hands as they tapped away on his laptop, brown fingers contrasting against the bright blue cuffs of his dress shirt. A golden tram was rumbling past, making the kind of music that simply erupts in a moment without warning or expectation. Two men with goatees, in their late thirties, walked past the picture windows, swinging their arms as if in accord with the mysterious melody of the outside world.

The café itself was full of sweet aromas of cakes and coffee. The interior was colored yellow with green and mustard chairs, festive without striving to be dramatic. Bold colors definitely, dark blues and gold and greens. A poker game in the background proceeded with harmless and good-natured outbursts of laughs and groans as the men deluded themselves as being winners or losers. A spiky haired young man walked by, giving the man the stare, frown and roll of the eye. He was obviously parading his plumage and considered the attention, or perceived attention, from the older man sitting by himself at the window, worth acknowledging only with a semi exasperated roll of the eyes.

The man sat and perhaps even smiled to himself. His fingers seemed to keep tapping on the laptop. And as if in immediate compensation to the moment just passed, another young man walked by the picture window and offered a quick, self-conscious smile as he darted away, never to be seen again.

Never to be seen again. What did that mean?, the man begin to muse. This moment, this moment. Its gone before it is even fully grasped. And yet, I hold on, hoping to build my sense of self in this, no wait that, no, no, well, it’s gone way back now. But whereas then, I was confused, now I’m exasperated and I can already see myself going back home in despair and total frustration if I cannot keep track of my identity simply because the moments are passing by me too quickly.

Which is it then? Happy, sad, upset, angry, frustrated or something else? Or all of them? Or, none of them? And does it really matter then? That I yearn to define myself based on a mindstream that is already much too stale to be even worth acknowledging?

The man stopped again. His cell-phone stared at him, a reminder that nobody from his group had shown up to this meeting. But in effect, that had been his unstated expectation anyway. When he had called this group together, he was simply feeling euphoria and a sense of wonder at what had transpired all day yesterday. And in that moment of enthrallment he had reached out to what he hoped would be like-minded folks, who would understand, ‘get-it’ and want to know more about his experience. Of course, he realized that this could simply not be explained to them or anyone else. Because the moment he did try to, it would lose its very essence, for the very idea of an event such as becoming “The Now” cannot be experienced outside of the Now. To talk about the Now is to lose the Now. Unless, of course, it is talk about the Now in the Now and as the Now.

Let me do my thing

This music this moment this time. This life this beauty this breeze. This tree this place this world. This me this you this simple plan.

So, he sat there and began writing. He wrote without memory, without thought without plan or structure. There was no agenda and no anxiety. All that really mattered was that he was recording this moment in time in all its uncrafted beauty. Why had this suddenly become such an urgent need in his life, he wondered, as his fingers continued to fly on the keyboard. This had never happened before and that was the joy of it all. Whereas he would earlier have lost a moment by invariably not being in it, ignoring it, comparing it with the past or waiting for it to change into the future. There was impatience and reminiscing, but no witnessing nor participating. Not always, but often. And that seemed to have become transformed into this wondrous delight, this call from within to simply witness and record and celebrate and appreciate. There was no urgency in this, he could write anytime, anywhere and without any posturing. It was as spontaneous as breathing. Well perhaps that was an exaggeration but it came close. Obsession seemed to have shifted from the body and mind into the heart. That was it! His focus had shifted from living instinctively and intellectually into living intuitively, then.

One day perhaps this too would pass and he would switch to a different state of being. Although he wondered what could possibly be more satisfying than this, and then stopped. Don’t compare and don’t anticipate. That had pretty much been the modus operandi in his life these past thirty five years and it was finally time to simply shed that shell that had encased his presence.

Lovers and corny music. Deepak Chopra singing with Demi Moore. She still sounds kind of sexy, he sounds like a total dork. There! I just did it! I found someone to laugh at. What are they talking about, he wondered? Something about love and losing power and how she loves herself and she loves him and she loves him and she loves herself. Yikes. It all comes to a full circle. Love the voice of the woman in the background – middle-easternish. But Deepak sounds really corny, he grimaced. You’ve always been connected to me? Concealed in me? REVEALED in me? Okay, that’s it. He picked up his belongings and started moving them around busily. Closing books and capping pens and fiddling with the mouse. But somehow he still couldn’t bring himself to stop recording his life. It seemed to have a life of its own. How, he wondered, if he even did manage to create a concept for a book from all these ramblings, would anyone be able to edit this stuff and find anything that makes sense? Wasn’t his problem, he thought, brushing aside another mind-generated useless worry about something that was nowhere in the nearness of time in happening. Time, that other word that was so the key to unhappiness.

But more on that later. He stretched and scratched and yawned. Swaying involuntarily and almost irritably at the music. Irritated by his irrational joyousness he guessed.