I’m almost 20 hours into what will amount to a 24 hour journey from Bangkok to Koh Phangan. It will be a bus to a train to another train to a bus to a boat to a motorbike before this little jaunt comes to an end. Luckily I’m in no hurry. I’m enjoying my first views from a ferry of Thailand’s South: its blue water, lush greenery and limestone karsts. I find myself craving being settled. Its now Thursday and I left the U.S. on Sunday morning. I imagine it will likely be another day or two before I find the sweet little bungalow I’ll call home for the next couple of months.
Despite beginning this journey on Sunday, in reality my trip began two or three days earlier. I would find myself in situations completely immersed in a time and place far from the actual moment I was in. Upon closer observation of my mind, it was already away: planning, anticipating, moving towards Koh Phangan. Now this is of course was not necessary, but a byproduct of my seeking mind. I think it was especially clear for me this time because prior to last week, there was very little commotion and/or planning in my daily life, allowing me to remain more in immediacy. Over the past few months I’ve really began to appreciate the concept of bringing my life into practice as juxtaposed to bringing practice into my life. Bringing practice into one’s life is more clear, finding meditation or Yoga or another system that you resonate with. This is aligned with how we already do many things, simply take on something new into our already very busy lives! Personally, bringing ones life into practice is much more difficult. This is where one begins to align ones life to support their practice – easing distractions, maintaining better health, slowing down. This is Dogen’s “Take the backwards step, and turn the light around.”
Back to my original question: I wonder how much of my life has been spent in anticipation rather than immediacy? Immediacy is no easy task as discussed in one of my precious posts. Despite it clearly being a soteriological path, the mind often pursues outwardly into its own projection. Where was I my entire life while consumed with work, hobbies, school, relationships, my body? Not in immediacy. And not to say that there is anything wrong with the above, only that if you approaching them as an escape, as a diversion from this right now, you have a longer-term problem on your hand, because in effect you are judging the projection of your mind as better than this moment. And a Buddhist or two would tell you this is a sure way to spin on the wheel of samsara indefinitely.
I see my island fast approaching. Time to go.