Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Retreat journal 2

Was brought back to wakefulness by the ringing of a bell or gong nearby. With eyes still closed, thought it was the signal for snack or maybe late lunch. There was still some ringing in my head when I got up from bed. Realized I was already feeling a bit dizzy from my fasting. Tried to guess from the light outside what time of day it was. Couldn't tell though. Was tempted for a second to turn on my phone and take a peek at the time. Unbelievable how our lives are ruled by clocks and by our concepts of time. Everything we do falling into neat schedules that have been set in advance for weeks, months, and sometimes years. Wondered how this affects the way we experience each moment. Does awareness of each passing second, minute or hour bring a deeper appreciation of what is happening? Or is everything just a desperate effort to fill every moment with some activities or pleasures before things come to an abrupt end? What would it be like to be oblivious of time, and just experience the present as it is?

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Writing has been not only a haven for me these days. It has also become a mode of knowing, of learning some small truths. Sometimes, there's an uncomfortable feeling of finality after having set down words to stand for ideas, emotions, and other mental states. As if everything has been mapped out: thoughts and emotions that can be set aside or forgotten altogether, memories that can be recalled easily and brought back to life when needed, etc. But there's also a feeling that things are moving with the writing. Writing as a mode of knowing shapes reality, even as the universe shapes inner reality. Just thought of that now after reading about "dependent co-arising" in Macy. The "knower" and the known are co-dependent and influence each other. Never looked before at the act of writing in this light.

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