A homeless man entered the temple’s grounds and began digging through garbage by hand. I looked onward with suspicion. He looked downward and felt eyes burning: sensing his onlooker without a direct line of sight. I looked away.
He disappeared for some time, skulking behind the wat, after which we crossed paths and had a meeting of the eyes. Guilt ridden, I glanced ahead. I did not want to shame this man, but oddly enough, I felt he was unable to be shamed. In fact, I believe I felt more shame than he. Who was doing the shaming?
I haven’t the right to judge this man. And yet, irrational thoughts run through my mind. Could he be hostile? Would he seek to take “revenge” upon me by harming X? . . . attachment, the mother of irrational thinking.
I’ve been meaning to examine myself with certain questions but I haven’t had the chance. Too busy chasing things with X. Not that I blame her. I’m just as guilty, if not more, as a leader. But I definitely seem to lean that way around her. I know I need to be alone, but I often fear for her safety, even moreso after past events.
These questions I seek to ask . . . they must be precise. They must be calculated. They must lead where I want to go. And where is that? Well, that’s the big question — isn’t it.
All I know is I don’t want to be stuck within the narrow confines of the conditioned mind. I don’t want to be trapped in worry and illusions and falsehoods. I don’t want to waste my time and the truth is I’m almost always wasting my time. Whenever I’m not writing I’m wasting my time. This is the only way I know how to discover the truth.
Being alone is of the upmost importance. But I am attached, and so I worry. I don’t know if I can not worry while being attached, though I suspect it can be lessened over time. The truth is I want to go where no man has gone before. Not necessarily in destination, but in route. And it just so happens this is the only way to do such a thing.
The monks come out to sweep. Does this keep one sane, feeling like he’s upholding his duties? It leads nowhere, which makes me think it’s done for its own sake. Surely, things need to be swept, things need to be kept in order. There’s a practicality. And I suppose without lofty expectations, sweeping can be as meditative as anything. Perhaps they just seek to live. But does this lead to truth? To peace of mind? I doubt it.
I wanted to ask why I’ve been avoiding writing as much as I intended. And no doubt I’ve already answered this question, at least in part. But there’s a specific idea that’s entered my mind, and that’s one of not wanting to leave the metaphorical ranch. Not wanting to venture off into the jungle, alone. But . . . I know this is my true desire, underneath the minds lies and shameless gluttony.
The other questions I sought to ask seem to have disappeared. When I write and become meditative, I become peaceful and seem to drop all the striving — all the need to get somewhere.
The temple I sit outside has become loud. The monks sweep, cars come and go, people are near and far: and yet I am mostly unbothered by this. Partly because I have no right to complain, as a guest. But I do find myself to be in somewhat of a noise-dampened bubble in this state. It’s certainly peaceful, and it makes me wonder if this state could be cultivated permanently, when not writing.
Actually, I know it’s possible. 100%. I suppose what I’m really trying to ask is, is it possible for me: here, and now — today? Again, my gut says yes: but only when alone. I can’t put my finger on exactly why. It’s not as easy of an answer as “socialization is bad”. Indeed, it is limiting — but why?
The answer that intuitively comes is that some kind of “mind-share” takes place. Perhaps when there is attachment, we become the other. I feel that when I’m alone, certain worldly traits and sensibilities fade away. Remnants remain, but they’re transcended.
I pause and feel a sense of satisfaction. This exploration has proved fruitful.
A longer pause, and I’ve been stripped out of my bubble. Aware again to the sights and sounds around me. Aware of the eyes that lay upon on me. Vulnerable. And so the urge to return arises.