P. G. López Ilich

Viajando desnudo a China y sin salir de casa (IV)

Palabra: steamboat


My heart will go on


I’m making a huge effort to write this in English. I want to try my best not to crash with the iceberg, but my fondness for intense experiences will eventually prevail. I want to keep sailing, and the crash will help me identify weaknesses and work on them.
   It’s the first time I’m writing on a table, surrendering to my writing ritual almost fully – no black sky, no cicadas drilling your ears, no need to calculate how much time I can sleep for. Am I too weak by not challenging myself? Yesterday, Sam and Ara said they miss being a student and being able to practise. Maybe that is why they’re signing up to lead so many meditation sessions, whereas I’ve just volunteered to guard them. They say it’s neither right nor possible for us to try to keep a calm atmosphere when our minds are crazy with activity. On my side, I know that if I sit down and meditate, I won’t be able to carry on fulfilling my role as a staff, knowing meditation sets my mind loose.
   I miss the students too, but what I miss is pain: physical pain, ideological pain, emotional pain. Meditation does not calm me. Meditation puts me in the storm. The calm comes later. Several times I’ve said to students this year that there is value in doing things you don’t like. This year I’m enjoying being a staff, and the pain I feel is a pain I’m used to: pain for making things work out, keeping everyone safe, taking duties when I’m tired as hell. It would be easy for me to say, as done, that the sittings would put me under too much pressure to function to the standards I need to, and it is true, but what I’m not saying is that I’m a coward for not forcing me to step up.
   These past days I’ve thought a lot about Rebeca. It’s not as close in time as my relationship with Sara, but it’s close to my heart anyway. As some of you know, it was quite a toxic relationship that lasted a year and two months, although its consequences carry on to this day. It’s not that my ship accidentally crashed with her, it’s that I did so on purpose and in full throttle. I even be more grateful for the relationship with her than the almost-idyllic one with Sara. Last time we spoke was when I texted her the day before the silent retreat, my silent retreat, started last year. She finished the conversation quite quickly, expressing she didn’t understand why, considering how much she hurt me, I was still willing to keep in contact. Is there someone else who understands why?
   Writing is tiring me. I’m boiling and have no fan close to me. Writing makes me want to close the laptop, lie on the floor of my room and stare at the ceiling. This is why I need to keep writing.
   It’s true that if I want to try out something, I would usually go all the way. Lao Zi said that you can get to know the world without leaving your home. Now, four years after reading those lines for the first time, in a Buddhist monastery on top of a mountain in China, I’ve understood it. It’s not travel that makes you learn about yourself, it’s the mix of isolation, introspection and a commitment to keep going. I’m still seduced by the idea of forcing myself to seclusion for months, or years, as much I not want, but need.
  Maybe it’s just that I’m more used to monastery etiquette, the uniform, and the schedule. Either way, I still can’t write. This text is me spitting out, because it’s hard for someone who doesn’t know you to identify that you really need to talk to someone. I also need to do it in Spanish, mostly because it’s closer to myself, but that is simply not possible. This is why this piece has no real value, apart from the fact it’s working in a therapeutic manner. As I was finishing breakfast and thought about writing, I suddenly started feeling nauseous, but not because of the food. What is it about monastic life, China, and Buddhism that prevents me from writing? Even back in the UK and Spain I’ve had troubles to write about last years’ experience. Whatever the reasons are, I know they’re big. That’s why it’s taking me so long to break down this issue.
   You are most likely right to think that this was written to attract attention. But this was an indirect aim, a need more than a want. I believe – or I want to believe, not sure. Communication among staff is needed, right? Or only wanted?  
  I don’t want to continue. Let’s stop. I think this has served its purpose as a prologue to the actual conversation.

Publicado la semana 30. 28/07/2018
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