I am currently reading l’étranger by Albert Camus which is one of the books in his Nobel Prize citation. I am reading it in French, and he is a darn good storyteller. The other book of his I read was essays. He is a better novelist. I am enjoying it.
The main protagonist ends up in jail and he describes how after a time he forgets life outside and gets accustomed to the rhythm of prison life. He says that the days of the week lose their meaning and that all he is concerned with is yesterday, today, and tomorrow. These comprise his temporal horizon.
It is a bit like that here on the compound. The outside world does not impinge overly and I am, for now, pretty busy taking care of things for the wife and about the house and garden. One day blends softly causal into the next. There is a sense of eternal now. But I do know that tomorrow I will go up to the supermarket for supplies and petrol for the garden implements.
There are two other external appointments next week, the osteopath for me and the haematologist for the wife. The nurses will come here twice to take blood.
This is my temporal horizon, supermarkets and medical.
“Ryōkan Taigu (良寛大愚) (1758–1831) was a quiet and unconventional Sōtō Zen Buddhist monk who lived much of his life as a hermit. Ryōkan is remembered for his poetry and calligraphy, which present the essence of Zen life.”
In some ways our way of life is hermitic too. Ryōkan had his hut on the hill and would from time to time go down to the village for alms, rice.
I have heard it said that all true paths are “filled with emptiness”. I have been much influenced by Ryōkan. I have a T-shirt with one of his poems on the back.
It kind of links to a concept that I have, and the idea is what I call “liberation in and by the mundane”.
Lusting after the highfalutin, the glamorous and kudos laden, causes suffering. Concentrating and absorbing into the mundane with a mind bereft of any thinking, any internal dialogue, has much more equanimity. In reality human beings do not need anywhere near as much stuff as they imagine. Nor do they need quite so many pass times. People are greedy and afraid.
People are very scared of the silence; this pervades here aside from the birdsong. To be alone in one’s mind with only one’s self for company is a terror for most. Some people have radios and TV on all the time for company!! What a nightmare!!
To have the ‘phone umbilical severed is terror beyond imagination.
In a couple of hours’ time, I will probably make a hot chocolate for the wife, then sort out her medication.
Now while she sleeps exhausted on the sofa I will go and dead head the ginormous yellow rose which climbs up the side of the house and which the wife has fixed to the balcony using cable ties.
Yeah, I like that: “liberation in and by the mundane”.