Pretty incredible how much I used to hate air travel and now it’s one of my best times. What a difference a bench makes.
From Friday to Sunday I was in Las Vegas for a long-planned sibling+partners get together. We did wonderful things. Visiting. Eating. Shows (we saw LOVE and Blue Man Group). It would be an easy matter to write many words about the events and ideas and feelings of those three days. I could put up some pictures. I could recall on this page — as I have already done on my bench in the morning using my little hyper-detailed-reconstruction-while-putting-myself-in-the-scene mental memory gadget that I’ve developed — the finest details of the settings and events.
And I probably would. Except that something happened yesterday, at the end of the trip, that is still kind of sitting on top of everything like the huge flowing white sheet that covered half the audience during part of the LOVE show. The good news about the thing that happened is that it was really amazing in general and really wonderful and good for me in particular. The bad news is that by the very definition of the words “thought” and “experience,” the thing that happened cannot, and I mean that literally, cannot be described. It can, by definition, only be experienced. To even attempt to describe it reduces it to non-existence and non-reality. And that’s why it always sounds insane to some people when such attempts are made. So, because of the limited nature of ideas and words, here come some that know they are insane.
On the flight back from Vegas, Kay was asleep in the seat next to me and I decided to stay with my breathing for a long time. I do this whenever I fly. About 3/4 of my flights are alone, so I’ve gotten pretty good at meditating on the plane. The result is always the same: good. Good takes different forms. It changes as it happens. Good is better than not good, in other words, meditating is better than non meditating.
I’ve gotten used to residual good that follows me off the plane, even after my thinking mind wanders away and gets lost in the not-now. Good usually keeps wedging its way in there as a walk through the terminal thinking about what I’m doing and where I’m going and all that. Good usually uses my feet and my breathing, sometimes my vision, to scamper back up and sit on my thoughts.
And that’s what was going on again yesterday. I was walking alongside Kay, and we were in the middle of a little stretch when neither of us was talking, and I noticed to my left an especially beautiful woman walking toward me. She was everywhere impeccable and appealing, not just visually, but her walk and her demeanor too. A thought arose about the labels that my thoughts had assigned to her: attractive, appealing. I have been giving thoughts like these much thought these last few years, so it didn’t take long to tread this familiar ground. I understand the evolutionary forces behind the existence of and the determination of attractiveness. I know that I am an animal organism with a mind that sees and rates. I know what’s happening while this happens. And I do like looking at people I like to look at. It’s pleasing now in the same way that looking at any pleasing thing — such as The Wynn, or a horizon — is pleasing.
I looked at her, and I smiled inside. I looked at the next person, an obese person, and my smile was unchanged. I looked at the next people, an anxious couple walking very fast, and I breathed in their tenseness and breathed out my air and my smiling gut widened. I noticed all the people all at once all together, and they all died. I noticed the carpet, and it was living. The floor was as dead and as alive as the people. I was dead. I was good. I was moving, depending on where you stood, and I was still, and the carpet was moving, depending on if you happened to be a human or a wall. There were no divisions.