So I’m sitting in a bus, watching the traffic pass by and noticing the patterns of shade thrown by the trees on the road. It’s sunny but there are big fat clouds in the sky, blocking the sunlight when they drift across and cooling everything right down. A little boy is sitting right opposite me. Big grin, gaps in his teeth. I’m feeling peaceful and happy watching him play his video game and occasionally stop and gaze out at the world floating by him at the pace of a crawling bus. Happier still at the play of light and shade and cloud and sun, a thermos of coffee in my hand.
Then I notice this guy get on the bus, with a kind of angry energy around him. He is almost clean shaven, with a red mark on his forehead. He locks his gaze with mine from the moment he gets in. My brain patterns instantly change. I can sense my body tensing and my mind throwing up angry defensive thoughts. He walks very slowly down the aisle and then sits opposite me. Stares at me, challenging, and stares away again.
In an minute, for no obvious reason, he switches seats and sits right beside me. I can smell the alcohol on him. He presses into me and I press back , fighting for control over seat space. All my self-possessed peaceful energy of a few minutes ago has evaporated. We are silently pushing at each other, mentally and physically, and for no reason at all I’m suddenly exhausted.
He stops trying to dominate the space. I sneak a glance over at him. He’s fallen asleep and looks curiously defenceless. A doubt enters my mind: was he pushing me or was I imagining it? His head lolls over to my shoulder. I feel spasms of irritation and compassion flood my system. I want to get off the bus as fast as possible.
Whole universes rising and falling within our minds and bodies in the space of minutes.
Relentless awareness. The dissolving of all the boundaries and the tricks of the self.