When I lived at Guhyaloka in the 2000’s I occasionally went to the coast to do some shopping or other business, and on those occasions I always felt a frisson of excitement. In the mountains the dominant sense experience was pine green and olive green, grey rock and blue sky; but in Carrefour (which makes a Tesco Superstore look like a corner shop) there would be colour and people and all manner of things; there would be electronic gizmos in the equally excessive MediaMart; and tools and stuff in Leroy Merlin – not to mention attractive scantily dressed women and English Breakfast. Sometimes there was even the possibility of a naked dip in the ocean and attractive naked women. But as the day wore on, the excitement dulled as the undefined expectation of sensual satisfaction failed to materialise. On the drive back to Guhyaloka you might think that I’d feel relief and joy at the return to the tranquillity of the mountains, but I’d normally just feel bleak. This bothered me until one day I realised that I felt the same as I had done as a teenager on Saturday nights when I returned home alone after a disappointing night at various clubs and parties that had earlier held such promise. The bleakness was unfulfilled craving, the feeling that, as we say in the Suvarnabhasottama Puja ‘there is no enjoyment for me anywhere’. Fortunately after a few days back in the mountains the familiar feelings of contentment and happiness that come with freedom from craving returned.
I had been feeling that bleakness until a few days ago. I don’t have my accustomed pleasures to hand – no canal to watch, no biscuits or the meals I enjoy, no glass of red wine, no evening box sets, no radio news programs, no familiar shops or streets or evening walks into Ellesmere, not to mention visiting friends, and the occasional taste of city life. So life can feel like a cold damp grey evening with nothing to do. But gradually, as always, a new dimension of enjoyment emerged and simply sitting in our beautiful shrine room watching my mind opened up a deeper level of satisfaction and contentment that puts those other pleasures in an inferior perspective. Not much has been happening in my mind (other than a brief foray into a forest of vaginas!) but even so the sense of contentment and happiness I am now feeling is like dipping into a pool with as yet untold depths.
We had a big rain storm and damage to the road that had to be repaired, but now we’re back to normal blue skies and warm days. Vajrabandhu and Aryanaga are both happily engaged with life here.