himalayan flight.

himalayan flight.
malcolm reid

Monday, March 27, 2017

they see the problem.

there are mornings when opening my eyes is a big work, a hard task, and hardly seems a reasonable option. i may have been in my bed all night, but in samadhi from early morning.

the space opens, the kundalini rises and i find myself, my more expanded, my more perfect self in samadhi for hours then. i may be lying under blankets or propped up against the head-board with a pleasant stream of thoughts gurgling like a distant stream of clear mountain water. closer than that, deep but all-pervasive, is a sun to warm the world, a centre for the loving arts, a song that brings us all together: 'sat chitt anand', absolute bliss consciousness.

there comes a time, perhaps at seven or eight or even nine o'clock, when i think to myself: 'geez, man, open yer eyes, get yer pants on, drink a coffee, join the living.' there inevitably comes a time when i think to myself: 'get a grip, get with the program,' and i'll take a peek. but, like the classic late-winter groundhog, i crawl back into my hole and i hear voices announcing the news: "not yet. not yet." it's just so beautiful in there, so pure and free.

a few years ago i visited dr. katz, the lovely and earnest wakefield optometrist whose office is sandwiched between the actual sandwich shop and the dollar store. i just thought maybe i needed some glasss. but, after more extensive testing than i expected, and rather than simply benefit from selling me a pair of specs, she sent me to a specialist. what ensued was a full year of tests, test after test, by different eye-specialists, in gatineau, hull, ottawa and back to gatineau. they could see the problem, but they were baffled. they shook their heads and ran me through more tests. they could see the problem, but they didn't know why. finally, i asked that last guy for a prognosis. "well," he began, "you may go blind all of a sudden, gradually or not at all." "but isn't that just like life?," i said, and we both laughed. they could all see the problem, but they didn't know why.

there are mornings when opening my eyes is a big work, a hard task, and hardly seems a reasonable option. i may have been in my bed all night, but in samadhi from early morning.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Excerpts from my book: Unprotected Sects.

Silence 2, circa 1985.

In the middle of a busy day in New Delhi, I realized I had lost my shoulder-bag. Having also been in the gold and silver market that day in Chandni-Chowk, the bag not only had thousands of dollars in it, along with about one-hundred thousand rupees, it was full of gems and jewellery and, oh yeah, my passport too. Basically I was screwed, completely irrevocably screwed.

In my mind, there was no doubt I’d left the bag in the last scooter-rickshaw I had been in. But, trying to find it was like looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack and I knew it. I tried, of course. Eventually, however, close to tears, I retreated to my usual room at the 'Gandhi Guest House', sat down on the bed and put my head in my hands.

Perhaps as a last resort or out of desperation, I just sat still, silent. It wasn't meditation exactly, at least not formally. I was just sitting. And I kept on sitting for quite a while. I didn’t often feel as though meditation was very good on those business trips. Of course I knew one shouldn't label any specific meditation as good or less good, but that one, that one, while just sitting and not meditating, that one took me somewhere kinda special.

I had been to that place before, a place that’s not a place, a place that’s not anything and, gratefully, certainly not where I had been. I was quite conscious, very alert, but I had no problem, no bag was missing, my life as I knew it was not ending because it had not begun. There was a kind of bliss and a kind of freedom.

Then, strangely, from out of that space of un-struck sound, a thought occurred to me. I recalled briefly being at the 'Western Union' office in the 'Imperial Hotel.' My next thought was that I had had my bag after that. Nevertheless, I slid off my bed, with virtually no hope, and shuffled listlessly down the street to the hotel.

As I walked into the 'Western Union' office, there was a large crowd around a bag, my bag, all staring down at it. I immediately realized that they thought it might be a bomb, although in that case you gotta wonder why they were all crowding around it. I also realized the police would descend upon the scene within another few minutes. I wound my way through the crowd, grabbed the bag and quickly left the building.

I was elated, relieved, thanked the creative intelligence, my lucky stars and any deity I could think of for that thought, which came from out of silence.

“Silence and solitude is in the mind. One may be in the thick of the world and maintain serenity of mind. Such a one is in solitude." Ramana Maharshi.

Excerpts from my book: Unprotected Sects.

Silence 1.

In her book, 'How To Be Alone,' Scottish author, Sarah Maitland, writes: "I got fascinated by silence, by what happens to the human spirit, to identity and personality when the talking stops, when you press the off button, when you venture out into that enormous emptiness. I was interested in silence as a lost cultural phenomenon, as a thing of beauty and as a space that had been explored and used over and over again by different individuals, for different reasons and with wildly differing results. I began to use my own life as a sort of laboratory to test some ideas and to find out what it felt like. Almost to my surprise, I found I loved silence. It suited me. I got greedy for more."

"We have arrived," Maitland continues, "in the relatively prosperous developed world, at a cultural moment which values autonomy, personal freedom, fulfillment and human rights, and above all individualism, more highly than they have ever been valued before in human history. At the same time these autonomous, free, self-fulfilling individuals are terrified of being alone."

In his book, 'The Notebook,' acclaimed novelist, screenwriter and producer, Nicholas Sparks, wrote: “We sit silently and watch the world around us. This has taken a lifetime to learn. It seems only the old are able to sit next to one another and not say anything and still feel content. The young, brash and impatient, must always break the silence. It is a waste, for silence is pure. Silence is holy. It draws people together because only those who are comfortable with each other can sit without speaking. This is the great paradox."

Baba Hari Das is an Indian monk who has not spoken since 1952 and has lived in the west since 1970. Known simply as Babaji, he founded the Mount Madonna Center in Santa Cruz, California. He writes on a small black-board hanging around his neck. In his book, 'Silence Speaks,' it is recorded that, when asked what his greatest pleasure is, Babaji wrote: 'silence.' I did have the pleasure of being with Babaji several times in the '70s and will always remember the waves of 'saktipad,' peace, that rolled over me virtually every time we sat together.

Nelson Mandela was once quoted as saying: "It is never my custom to use words lightly. If twenty-seven years in prison have done anything to us, it was to use the silence of solitude to make us understand how precious words are and how real speech is in its impact on the way people live and die."

Thursday, March 9, 2017

take me take me.

it was hard to know what to do when the fire-drill at the gym began. i was buck-naked in the shower at the time. i didn't know whether to run out front au naturel or take a few possibly fatal moments to grab a pair of undies, presumably my own. it was bloody inconvenient i can tell you. i hadn't even washed my gentles, not to mention use the blow-dryer. i was in a very wet quandary. it's not as if i would be leaving behind kids and grand-kids, but on the other hand i hadn't wiped off the history from my browser.

i was btw once married, to a woman. and as i was about to pop the proverbial question i recalled peter sellers' proposal: "will you be my first wife?," which i had always rather liked. i thought to use that same line, only for some reason i didn't and so we married. but i might as well have, since the marriage didn't last long. i actually had no idea what was expected of me and was horrified when i found out. i'd been a buddhist monk and a bramachari yogi for the better part of four decades previously, and by the time i recovered from that i had other issues, real nuptial buzz-kill-type stuff.

however, that brings me back to the decision i really had to make quickly in the shower at the gym with the fire-alarm blaring and middle-aged men running all 'round the change-room waving various appendages in desperation. some old men were desperately hanging onto their walkers yelling 'take me take me' while youngans were desperately hanging onto their large... egos. i decided to desperately lather up and continue on with an attitude gained through many trial-by-fire occassions in india, which basically was: 'i'll run if or when i see actual flames and not before.'

a yogi never panics unless he or she feels it's absolutely necessary. as well, personally, although i am in a long-lasting and loving relationship, it isn't actually with any particular person, creature or plastic blow-up doll. there's only me and i don't think i'd miss me so much. i feel as though i've gained a universal kind of love, a power to love everyone equally and unconditionally, except for fred, and anyway it turned out to be a false alarm, just like so many that people face every day. 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

do you charge by the tooth?

the first night of my tooth-ache was the worst. i sat in my chair moaning, groaning, walking up and down the driveway waiting for the light of day. i'd been through that before. i knew what was coming: probably antibiotics, certainly more pain and another extraction. my relationship to dental pain is long and storied. that actual appointment, however, was mercifully scheduled within hours and was not so bad.

after applying novacane, my dentist announced he needed to make some sort of an adjustment and would return in a few moments. i didn't know what he meant. but as i waited my mind drifted way way back in time, to an occassion in india when i had the job of accompanying an old woman to a dinner party. the old woman was a respected member of the indian government being afforded every courtesy as a visitor to the ashram. and my not-so-simple task was to help her lumber up a really long set of concrete steps, built into the hillside, to the house where other dinner-guests were waiting.

aside from being aged, the lady was also unfortunately morbidly obese. the going was slow. we had to stop after every few steps for her to rest. by half-way up we were stopping after each step. at one point, about two-thirds of the way up the hill, the lady leaned against a boulder, took one desperately deep breath and as she exhaled her dentures went flying right out of her mouth and landed in the dirt. i, of course, had to crawl over, pick her teeth up and carry them in my hands the rest of the way up to the house. i washed them off in an outside tap on the porch before we made our grande entrance.

my dentist made his grande entrance as i was jolted back to the present. he slid into the room carrying a large pair of pliers and i spluttered: "what the hell?!" both he and his lovely assistant burst out laughing as he pointed out the pliers were for him to adjust a piece of equipment and i relaxed. the actual procedure was not so bad and i didn't have to re-mortgage my house.

the receptionist asked if i'd like to schedule a cleaning and i responded by asking: "why, to clean my gums?" she really didn't understand so i added: "do you charge by the tooth?"

Monday, February 20, 2017

freedom's star and love's rain.

in loving memory: Swami Shyam 1923-2017.

only along these hallowed hallways
of forms imagined in absence of candlelight
can Shyam recall with all relief
the brilliance of his own
and be ever after the benefactor of more bounty
than the fiercest pirate could have ever known
to roam with freedoms star at his back
amidst a celebration of fears flight

only within this structure
narrow and changing
along illusions foyer of time and space
can he watch himself lose its confines to reflect
upon being ever the recipient of more richness
than the shrewdest entrepreneur could’ve ever hoped to collect
to drift aimfully with loves driving rain at his chest
towards an awesome and humbling grace

only along these stairways of creativity
designed for joy and sorrows conclusion
can the very lord of the estate
enjoy the climbing
to look out upon garden and stream
a panoramic vision to the corners of a kingdom
more grand and expansive
than the greatest conquerors unfulfilled dream

to gaze forever undisturbed
with freedoms star and loves rain as his comrades against delusion
to walk forever undisturbed
with freedoms sparkling star and loves driving rain
as company in Shyam's eternal seclusion.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

an inconvenient truth.

"when i wake in the morning, as long as i don't smell flowers or see any candles i'll get up." red skelton.

it's a mixed group at the gym i go to: you've got young and old all mixed up together. that's part of its charm, i suppose, and i wouldn't want it any other way. nevertheless, it can be a challenge at times, like when that twelve-year-old kid last week beat me on the basketball court or, like yesterday, when i walked into the change-room just in time to see a really old man blow-drying his genitals.

i'm not stuck in-between the two extremes. i'm closer to the old guy giving himself a blow-job than the young bball phenom. like, after playing some pretty average bball yesterday i was ready to take a shower, but for a couple of moments i could't find my towel. then one of the young studs there pointed out that i had it wrapped around my waist. oh they thought that was soooo funny, laughing snd laughing as i muttered: 'it's all down-hill from here,' on my way to the showers.

i was mugged once in the byward market: january 14th, 2000, 6:15 at night to be exact. after living in mexico for a couple of years, travelling all 'round the world and living twenty-five years in india, i got mugged in ottawa. go figger. i did alright considering it was three against one. but, at a certain point i got clubbed from behind and passed out. the point of all this is that, as i was losing consciousness, my only thought was: 'oh, i'm going into meditation now.' it was quite comforting really. i was familiar with that state of consciousness, even like it, even love it. i don't know what it is. but, it aint scary.

i marvel at the stoic nature with which we humans often face the certainty of death, the end of life as we know it. "death is not the extinguishing of light," ravindranath tagore once wrote so eloquently. "it is only the putting out of the lamp because the dawn has come." tecumseh said: "when it comes your time to die, sing your death song and die like a hero going home." what is that home? i don't know. i don't know. but, my hope is that it's got a hair-blower, cause i'm probably gonna want one.