Waking up the sun shines like honey in the window and warms my head, and I feel groggy, and in that moment between coming out of sleep and entering the day I feel a conscious peace.
A noiseless mind.
I bask in it.
On the fringes of my perception I can feel a tidal wave coming toward me.
Like a computer starting up, and revving my awareness in anticipation. Thoughts that push anxieties on me. They arrive at the shore of my silent mind:
“You have to eat, you need protein intake early in the morning to enhance muscle growth.”
“Get money, you lack money, if they, the friends, ask you to have a drink what will you say? You will need an excuse. Get money. Get an excuse.”
“There is a pain. Its located down the side of your arm. You were jamming to hard. That angle you bend your wrist when it glides across the guitar strings. It hurts. Fix it. Find a way to fix the pain. Now.”
My body responds to their demands, my awareness follows their commands and scans the section of my person they refer to, tensing muscles to check. Getting lost in aches and pains. I an injected with the fuel of my one hundred habits, motivating me to move, to enter the day.
But I refuse.
In defiance I roll over and clamber to the cushion in the center of my floor. I learned a weapon recently: to meditate.
I sit still and let the thoughts wash over me, breathing gently, as they stab and stun, as they grip my awareness and drag it all around my body. Alerting me to pains. But every time my mind outwits me I drag it back. Back to my breath.
The needs fall silent.
My thoughts change, from gusting winds to the flow of water.
I remember how Science says we have several types of brainwaves. That Beta waves are the fast and demanding waking waves that occupy our minds when we open our eyes, but when our eyes our closed, the brain creates a different Alpha wave, that changes the flow of thoughts. I realize this change in gears is what just occurred.
I feel satisfaction.
Soon my mind begins to spin a fantasy, a day-dream, and I am drifting through the stratosphere above the earth.
The earth is spinning, and I am floating in the empty space, watching the horizon flow towards me like a waterfall. I choose to go to somewhere I’ve never been. Somewhere languid where the time moves slow.
I awake in India to the beams of the morning sun dancing on my retina. My olive-skinned love climbs on top of me and asks me with her eyes: “what will we eat today?”
“let’s go get some breakfast,” I say.
We rise and walk out to the marketplace, and I put my arm around her waist, and she’s wearing cloths and feathers, and I feel them on my palm. We find a small restaurant filled with locals and we agree that this is a sign of its quality.
We buy some yellow rice and raisins and carry it out into the pouring sun to eat beneath the canopy of a crooked jungle tree, while the local children play.
She lies her head upon my chest and I watch how her shining black river of hair flows down the canyons of her body, and we sit and watch the temple monks come out to sing their mantras to the passing day, and she says: “time is like water.”
Before I can respond my awareness leaves the fantasy and returns to my body, on the floor, as under me my leg goes numb, and I open my eyes, all but one.
Shining through my window is the golden midday sun, the same sun they feel and see in India.
They say you need to meditate calm your mind, because only when your mind is calm can you see how the dust dances in the ray beams of light. They say Illumination is the ability to see the little things, like how nature sings a song we cannot hear.
Every death, every birth, and every struggle are all part of a hidden harmony, and the thinker is one who is trying to understand the symphony. Like the music is trying to understand itself.
I raise my body from the ground, and I make a decision: scrambled eggs, cooked in milk with one slice of bread lightly toasted.
I hold that ideal in mind and journey to the kitchen while on my way I find a song in which to sing and feel my voice resonate through-out my skull. These walls are high and my voice feels large and echoes. I whistle shrill and am impressed: what a great noise.
Then like a stone chained to my heart, an idea begins to drag me down in an ocean of doubt. My thoughts become a labyrinth of endless hallways. I look to see my life: meditation, food, working out, study, practice, sleep, repeat: A series of routines fashioned in the search for self improvement.
I see a higher mind looking down on how I live my life and scorning the pointlessness of all my efforts, like how I would look at insects and pity their ignorance. How an ant scours the earth for food and water as if its efforts mattered, feeling that everything it does means something.
When in reality it means nothing.
Its life only a series of actions which were programmed by its thoughts. Like my life. And I think of death. And the once shining world is now a somber hue, where we all participate in a pointless cycle of suffering and triumph, which will never be resolved until the end.
Death is the doorway that will bring us home.
A doorway where we are forced to give up our futile hopes, and finally enter that endless peace. The deepest sleep. That is what it means to be free.
And until then none of my self improvement will have me saved, because I will lose it all anyway.
Am I depressed?
Arrah, just forget about it. Nothing really lasts, not even our fears. Although, what unnerves me the most is how my darkest thoughts come with a feeling of certainty: an offer to abandon to the truth.
I enter the kitchen, open the fridge and crack an egg.
This egg was once a chickens baby, and I wonder does a chicken feel pain. Since my brain is more complex, does my mind create a more intense experience of pain? I guess the chicken can feel the pain just the same, but there are different types of pain.
My imagination is vivid, so I can comprehend if I was in a prison, like a fenced off chicken coop. I can get lost in despair, with the idea that I am not free.
I’ve heard that you can remove the walls from around a coop once the hens have been there for several months and they will never cross the boundaries, for the walls are now in their minds. I form a laconic saying in my thoughts:
“The most efficient method of slavery is to have the slave believe that they are free.”
It’s time now to mix the milk and as I do I figure that cooking is like alchemy where you make something that is more than the sum of its parts. I drop bread in the toaster and return to stirring.
Like lead into gold, the bread will be transmuted into toast. The hunger pangs echo through the fibers of my body
I look now to the eggs and milk as the heat transmutes them too. They were once separate, and now they are one formless scrambled mass.
My muscles twitch with want as they smell the feast. I prepare to be fulfilled as I open my gaping mouth to place the matter upon my tongue, and for some reason I think of the underworld gaping wide ready to swallow us all into death.
My sensory apparatus kicks into gear converting the substance and their stored heat energy into electrical signals which rally in my mind. Here my perception instantaneously concludes what these sensations shall be classified as linguistically: “HOT, HOT, EJECT!”
Back into the bowl you go, too hot to enter hell, and while watching the steam rise off the yellow eggs I think maybe that is the secret: To burn so intensely that not even death can digest you. I wish I was that hot. Alas, in time the temperature subsides, and the chasm opens again, this time successful in its consumption of the proteins.
The warm fills my stomach as the fires in hell must rage with joy upon the arrival of new souls. I turn the kettle on and watch the power transform the water into steam. I hear the water scream. Well if the chickens feel pain, why wouldn’t the water?
The noise cuts through my brain sending me down an alleyway of my mind which unveils a memory of someone I long forgot. Someone who made all my jealousy aflame with his stance of shoulders high, and his room filling sunshine laugh. Someone who would make me feel like a rain cloud.
I remember when he asked me: “What do you do?”
“Well me,” I’d stutter, “I have these plans that if I follow I’ll become a man.”
“Well, give me a look,” He’d cheer, “I am a fan of plans, together we could take action, man.”
How I wish I was away.
“Well me…” I hesitate to say what I desire because then it becomes real.
“Go on, you can say,” He nudges.
I give way, and say: “..My plan is to go very deep, to find out what is really worth searching for in this life, you know, to travel far to India, to learn to meditate and know myself.”
“I’ve been”, he says, “to India, it’s a dirty place, and anyway: how will going to India make you a man?”
“It won’t I guess.” I mumble.
“I don’t meditate.” He proclaims.
“Why?” I reply.
“Where is the danger in meditation?”
He doesn’t understand, so I say: “You see, it’s a complicated development, you know. It’s not just physically becoming a man, but also becoming the idea of a man.”
What do I carry in my stomach? dreams or guts.
I look down to the ground and refuse to meet his eyes, my upper neck arches and my chin lowers to my chest as if there is a weight within my mind which soon will drag me down. I do something with my hands so my movements feel as if to say I don’t have time to reply,.
We are always wearing masks.
He has all the qualities that I wish I had myself: An open heart, an honest gaze and willingness to say the things he really feels. He has no fear of ripping off his skin and showing me his naked soul throbbing like an artery. Whereas I… I bury mine in concrete, and I only hear from it by the memories that stir in conversations like this.
“I have to go, you know,” I say.
“Where?” he replies.
“There is this thing, you know, that if I do my plan will be one step closer to being done. Of course it is a matter of time, this window I cannot risk to miss. So I must go.”
“Look” his tone eases, “I was always on edge. I was always chasing my plan. You see I always felt that the world was moving through my hands like water. But now I know that it is I who is moving through the water of the world.”
“What do you mean?” I ask him, my fluster stilled and focus gained.
He snaps “I can’t explain, you know, time restraints, I have things to do. I must go.”
“Goodbye wee man” He loudly interrupts as he leaves the room. How that bastard plays with me. And I feel rage. It is a memory inside the jar or rage, that shakes like someone tied to burning stakes with everything to live for.
The memory carries with it fury which cuts through my mind and I become a Navy Seal at war dodging bullets fired by my hate, my injured pride cascades and adrenaline sears me into focus. I pierce my palms with my clenched fingernails, and smash them into table salt in an attempt to override the wave of fire in my brain.
My jaw feels tight and my teeth are locked as the dialogue replays.
I shudder as my mind lifts me again out of this heavy body like a rising god ascending through the atmosphere into the orbit of the whirling world, where I float endlessly alone with ageless stars, and I feel peace again while I watch the world with her wounds colored grey bleeding life, after life, after life.
I diagnose earth on its sadness and its scars as a fucked up place of endless pain.
A silent peace takes over me as I drift across the ancient face of our world, and soon my heart breaks to see her sit alone in the black as her smile follows the sun. This is when I see she is everything like me: half in shadow, half in light, and spinning round forever.
Her skin is the canvas of my destiny, and I am a coward, who wishes I was away, when all I’ll ever need is right beneath my feet, sleeping like a tired heart.
I swim down through her misty clouds until I reach her dying flesh and place my hand upon her skin and dig. I claw past all my shallow moods and lack of focus and throw them over my shoulder to die in the barren waste. I wrestle with stones in the quarry of my pride and smash them with the hammer of my will.
I sever the bonds of my living dreams trapped beneath the heavy weight of my doubt and I watch them breathe the air they have never tasted.
Then I falter.
The mud in my hands is moving.
The soil is alive with crawling maggots moving as a liquid wave that slips through my fingers, waiting for me to give up and fade so they can consume my body, my soul and the world I never saved. All my disgust grips and twists my stomach, and I sharply heave, and the fluid burns my throat.
My skin becomes as alive as my eyes, and I feel them all squirming across my flesh, tasting me with a thousand tongues, and instead of saying I wish I was away I say:
The only way past, is through.
I pick up a fistful of the sickly creatures and place them in my mouth. I chew until their rubber bodies form a paste which leaks out of my lips. I feel the tears in my eyes as I swallow. My gullet seals and I compose myself as I reach for another handful.
My hand presses against the motionless and wet earth. I fall to my knees relieved and retch, alone. They are gone. I then hear a hiss causing me to turn around.
There in the dark mud sits a tiny egg guarded by a tiny snake who is hissing at me and defending all he has. I understand and walk away to climb up through the valley carved with my own hands. As I reach the surface I look out upon the muddy fields breathing in its earthy loveliness.
A warm rain falls around me so heavy that it washes away the top layer of soil. I see a group of tiny green shoots unveiled, racing for the sun as the earth breathes in the water, and I, her little snake meander through her skin.
The boiling water changes tone and becomes deeper as it reaches its apex. The kettle clicks dragging me back to the moment. I pace across my kitchen floor and pour the water into a large mug. The aroma of coffee seeps through my mind, bringing me of fields of coffee beans in Latin America that I have never seen.
I see locals working fields on the bending hills. They are ashes and dust bound together by something I don’t understand. They are a part of nature’s song, where every chord can bring sorrow or bring joy. They are like me.
I tame the coffee’s heat with milk and gulp it back with several big mouthfuls. The caffeine kicks my mind into gear and reminds me of my coming day. Leaving my daydreams behind me I walk to the front door and enter the river of time.
“Stream of consciousness is a story writing technique where the author writes what a character experiences moment by moment as close to real life as possible. This means that the boundaries between the outside world and the characters thoughts and day dreams are ignored. The above story was a piece I wrote some time ago detailing just how much can happen in a simple and routine morning.”