Lifetime In 36 Hours
The last you heard of it was when the Chapter I concluded with :
… There was nothing I could add right then to what she was already doing to fill on her want.
” Telescoping our sight on our being does bring much of our life into focus. They reveal the emotion being for us to know all that we are not. It is what we want in it that roots us, and lets it defines us. The want is the error. What is ours is the curiosity, the quest to know. Spot it and resume with the being in quest. Know and move on. There is nothing there to hold on to, nothing in it to claim as yours.”
The distance must have shown on the visage, as she gravely pored over my face for the longest moment with a firmness of resolve.
I picked up the book but soon snoozed over it. I had poured the oblations on the crackling fire within her. The result would arise. Read more here …
Chapter – II
I woke up to call for lunch. Silence through that tête-à-tête with food, the body and its vitality, served well. The train was rushing over land rich in Vedic spirit, Muslim life, British colonialism and Indian revolt. I was still at the window, legs folded, a pillow at my back. She, at the other end, a leg up, half folded, the other on the floor. Simple trapezoidal lenses in a light frame rested easy on the bridge of her nose. I felt, we were friends … a happy sense of togetherness. Priceless, I thought.
” There is an integrated form of grouped impressions behind this sense of being we have of ourselves, as this individual we each are. It appears to us as exclusively ours and extends all over the space our lifetime has covered, the experienced impacts impressed in the vital-mind, shoring up our I-sense. Its roots go fathomlessly deep into time. In effect, it subconsciously limits the content in our interpretation of what we experience to forms of reactive feelings — emotions that end at want or desire. All our animated life is lived as emotion.”
” I do see, above all, in my own instance. But where specifically is the problem with the process ? We do not seem to mind it. Why should we seek to change that ?”
” Because we are allowing what has been in our past to interpret what is happening in the present, now. We are not listening to what is before us, but to impressions from the past.”
” That’s horrible, like a prisoner blinded decades ago … who has no sense of what is in view now, has not connected with the present in a long long time. Horrible ! And he doesn’t even know. Most horrible ! Terrible ! Terrible !”
The reaction seemed a shade hyper. But I could se she has taken it very personally, intimately. She had pierced her heart with the thought of her wasted years, a life futile.
” It’s alright, Pam. The horror of this realisation is invaluable to rise of satya in our vision.”
I was concerned but could relate and empathise. In this country, people didn’t kill themselves with such an enveloping sense of annihilation. They renounced the world and walk away to heal themselves, serve in a temple, live with an ascetic, enter a monastic order, or simply disappear in the wilderness of forests and mountains. This darkness over the spirit was terrible, before the purge.
I could see her body heave ever so softly to her barely audible sniffs. She remained bent over forward for a while, closer to the ground, her head almost between her spaced out knees. It was exceedingly painful for the person with her pride, a life full of achievements and self-belief, I sensed. The universe was sombre just then. The noise of shattering completely clouded the pregnant opportunity for freedom and light to take over.
I was pained. We might know better but invoking that privilege for securing apathy was a greater darkness than all else. I could be as the train, railing forward without a mind to all that its passengers carried in their body, heart and soul. But the truth was that this being that was in me was also everywhere else, in all things and people.
She looked up. I gestured, if she felt better. She nodded. I sat a little more erect, breathing in deep and deeper, throwing out as long as it would. After the third, I let it on a more even course, deep but without the effort, more thin and easy. She straightened up, looked at me and held herself, and thought of using the washroom. Nothing would have worked better, to break the spell.
” Vam …”
The pause seemed significant … the sound of it certainly eased my concern. For a rebound, it was firm and clear. Seemed miraculous to me. I was all ears with abundant expectation. The smile was a consequence.
” Could I go back to truth ? It’s important.”
” How do I regain myself ? My truth ?”
” First, you need to appreciate that the entire thing is a process of allowing ourselves to be charmed but refusing, in our awareness of ourself, to be claimed by anything, any person, any issue, any event, situation or experience, thought, idea or belief. They all are the other, not the stark self we each are. We can live without it all and must check ourself up on that. For a time, at least, we must be and know that being.”
” How about desire and want ? Surely, we are there where they are. Can’t say they are not what I am. They are our truth.”
” Seems like but no … you only have to look at a renunciate like Vivekananda, Ramakrishna, Ramana … we have a whole tradition.”
“ Hmm … so why am I so completely identified with them ?”
“ Because you want to, you want the experience that identity leads you up to, something that answers the call of the starved mind. It gives the feeling then that you are now complete and quenched but only until another time, another occasion of longing.”
“ So why and how should I disrupt it, as it offers to happen ? I am out of it soon enough when it’s done with.”
“ Consider what you just lived through. It is suffering, misery and unhappiness. Besides, the craving is a carryover within you from a long gone past. It’s not, never was, about the object or the experience we ever again crave for, and are poised on having every now and then. The incompleteness is ours, on account of absence of our self in it while the experience happens. Only by restoring our self in our knowledge that the lack can be fulfilled, not by the object of our desire or by more of the same experience.”
I let the insight complete itself : “ I believe, every experience brings out something from within our self. What we desire is that which is within us, which we forget in time and long for again and again. The desire belongs to the past, which our first experience with the object left us impressed with; the same object now before us has more dimensions than the one we hold it in, out of our desire for it.”
I looked away, into the afternoon outside. It was rich and deep, resting in itself, in the distance. Speech must take a pause, a long one I felt. The sheep were there but I wasn’t counting. I knew she was heading towards a circularity, a singularity that she was just not in a position to accept. We never do … because what the dualistic position offers shocks us, mesmerises us blind and enslaves us.
I noticed she felt alone and wished she would break the spell, out of the emotional depths and go on top of her thoughts. A walk in the coach corridor or a splash of water on the face would have served well. I could create a light moment but that would let the opportunity take cover. The rock would then have to be raised uphill at another moment of intensity, which do not come easy for lack of our invitation; the demon of our ignorance would live to be met another day.
Presently I stood up, told Pam I’d walk the corridor and, perhaps, open the door to the coach and spend some time. She nodded, then blurted if I was disappointed. It made me sit back, closer to her. I reached for her palm and held it in mine.
“ I’m sorry, Pam, if you feel that it mattered. Let me tell you that it doesn’t, for one; I am unimportant, if not irrelevant. And besides, I have nothing to be disappointed about. Quite the opposite, without any hyperbole, allow me to say : you are one of the bravest person I have known. You’ve been great, so frank and deliberate. And I’m so glad, grateful, to have known you. Just get on with the task you’ve chosen to deal with and let me know if I could be of any help. I cannot do it for you but you only have to reach out and you’ll find me happily extending whatever strength I am capable of. You are stepping up to attain what I know is of herculean dimensions.”
I sat with her, her palm in my warmth, for long enough while… till her moist eyes were clear again. She nodded, looking me with a togetherness that that was enveloping. I leaned over to hug her ever so slightly. She stayed. Pulling back, I thumped on my knees with vigour before raising myself. I went straight to the coach door and opened it to the gushing wind on my being.