Spring-cleaning the Self and Shelves

I’m off to meditate.

Ten days of peace and harmony being put through one of those old clothes-wringers. The manually operated ones that have to be stopped every now and then, just to rest the tired arms of the operator, before he or she starts again, slowly turning those handles while the cogs creak and the clothes squeak. It’s sadistic.

So you get a couple of moments where the cool air courses through every fibre, and then it starts again, that slow wringing out. I’d much prefer the dry cycle on my washing machine, no human intervention apart from flipping on a switch and turning a couple of knobs. Sure, it pauses, but just to cool off, but when it goes… it goes and then everything is wrung through. Dry as the Sahara in summer.

Speaking of the weather I’m glad the rains are here. But it also means I’ll have to dust down the book shelves and turn out my cupboards, putting in little dehumidifiers just so that the mould stays away. Which makes me wonder how much I’ve collected since I last sat down to meditate. And I’m not talking about those daily sittings, the fifteen minutes or half hour breaks in between the insanity of a Mumbai day. It’s those 10 or 30 days of silence, of observation, of introspective emptiness and realising rather sagely how much refuse one has accumulated and the passage one has to take, the rocky road one has to travel towards getting rid of it.

But its not all bad. There are incredible moments as well. Moments of understanding and of revelation… of everything arising to pass away. The good and the bad, the nice and the not so…

Anicca.

I used to be a regular at meditation centres… the quintessential dhamma bum. It’s a rite of passage. You’re born. You go to school. Then get a job. Work sixteen hour days. Make money. Party hard. Quit that job. Shave your head, grab your bowl and sit in contemplative silence. It’s enlightening. I’ve done that.

But its been five years since I last took time out to meditate and in the interim, I’ve changed, collecting so much mould and lichen, I need airing, a firm brushing… a sloughing off.

And my washing machine is on the blink.

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