Sketch by Chris Al-Aswad
2007 – Meditation retreat with Dad
“All in all, today hasn’t been that bad and things are looking up for you already. And while the body is irritating and you always wish you were more comfortable, at least you are aware of your pettiness and discomfort. We do have a lot to complain about and for that reason, we shouldn’t complain. We should just patiently endure it. I can’t say things are not constantly aggravating because they’re not. You seem to fall into a rhythm sometimes and the ugliness and the irritation recedes from your awareness.
Desire is a funny thing- eventually you get all those things you wished for. But what about happiness, which has an elusive way of appearing and disappearing. Don’t go looking for it though. Because it’s harder to catch than a butterfly though desire also runs away. When you’re chasing things, they are bound to run from you. Even the thoughts in my head I chase like rabbits – never to hold them. They rapidly multiply into whole colonies of rabbits. Soon I’m chasing rabbits in three different directions. Whether it’s the mind or the body, you’re mad. And then maybe it’s the moment because things change you know. That’s what I love about reality – it’s totally unpredictable. In the moment, I write a poem saying the body is miserable and everything is wrong. Already conditions (in me and around) are beginning to rearrange themselves. So I write to probe a mood of misery and then find I’ve come to a place where those things I’ve said at the beginning of the poem belong to the perceptions of another person. My tone changes like the feeling over my body changes - And those things I once felt were the bane of my wretched life are now like twinkling lights in a fog bound street. You can’t pinpoint where they’re coming from, but you know they’re there…”