Tuesday, 15 December 2009

No music in my car.

Some time before I found zazen I realised that my thinking was too frantic to be healthy. I was in my car for the daily commute to work and by habit had turned on the CD player to listen to some music as I drove. However, I never did actually listen to that music, not beyond the first few bars. At this particular moment in the car I realised that I was just creating noise in my head and that my thinking was as much a part of that noise as was the music thumping away in the background (usually the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, hence the thumping reference!). I'm also pretty sure that whatever music was playing in the background was also effecting how I felt and thought.

So today, back in my car, leaving work after a busy day, out of that almost forgotten habit I pressed the button on the CD player and on came the Chillis. Within seconds I turned it off realising what I'd done and found myself again, utterly aware of being there, the inside of the car, the dashboard, my hands on the wheel, the sound of the engine, the roadworks all around me, the patterns of the clouds in the sky. This sense of awareness is precious to me now, too precious to allow my thinking or anything else to drown it out.

Yet, it's still such a struggle to keep it. My mind drifts so easily into fantasy, scenarios played out in the workplace, the home, "I should have said (insert clever retort), when he said that. Yes, that would have put him in his place!", thoughts of writing a novel which so quickly morph into giving an acceptance speech for the award I just received for writing the novel I thought just seconds ago about maybe starting, and then the inevitable, "Yes, that would show those bastards, me in the paper with a Booker Prize. Yeah, they'd hate that!"

I suppose this awareness of being is something like the original mind I've been reading about. The real me, beyond thought, ego, emotion. It's not completely like that. Usually it's fleeting, even in zazen, before thoughts and emotions barge back in again, but it's becoming more frequent. Lord knows, I spent decades without it. Lost in thought, nonsense, ego, those things I think are the delusion we hear about in Zen talk. Lost in thought, delusion, aware of being, reality, or a damn sight closer to it than the former.

I find it easier on the zafu because that's why I'm on the zafu. The conditions are created to make it easier for me to be aware of being and not lost in delusion, and the more I spend on the zafu the more prevalent being aware will become in my life. This is what I think will happen. I suppose it's like anything else, the more time you spend doing something, the more natural it will become.

Anyway, I've just run out of heating oil, so I need to head out into the back yard in my pyjamas, in the freezing cold, to fill the oil heater canister. I'm sure it's not going to be hard to be aware out there. It's bloody freezing. "I am just going outside and may be some time."

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