Saturday, 4 February 2012

It Must Pass

The moment you read this you surrender to the moment you read this. Where is the ‘I’? It is lost in the momen t.

From whence does the moment arise? Not so much from the preceding moment, but from inside the Whole.

Reading is a supremely sacrificial act. Unless the reader imposes his ego on the text, she absorbs it, digests it, allows it to nourish her, thus distinguishing herself from ego. The Self growing out of ego, replacing it.

Yesterday, for some reason, I was a little fretful, a tad anxious. In the city I was overcome by an array of sensory stimuli. Crowds, street music, beautiful girls. Somehow, I lost myself, became a feather swept up in the wind. I went for coffee and decided I had to retune to the reality of the moment. I had to sacrifice my senses and become aware of what was immediate, what was essential. Instantly, I felt a joy within me, and left the coffee shop looking around, completely unselfconscious, taking in the people, the faces, the lovely children. Soon I was caught up a stream of wonderful coincidence.

For some reason I had it in mind that I had to shop at my local Sainsbury’s when I got off the train back home, and fumbled about in my pocket for a £1 coin which I’d need to unlock a shopping trolley. Finding only a £2 coin, I decided I’d change it for two singles at the nearby Catholic bookshop and give £1 to the beggar lady outside. My coin was met by scrutiny and suspicion by the strangely anxious nun at the till, but she managed to change me and I left the shop, still in the moment, still full of joy, still closed off from the excitement of the city. When I handed over the spare £1 coin, I was met by the touch of the Romanian beggar lady’s swollen arthritic hand, and immediately recoiled in revulsion.

Now it turns out I had already decided earlier in the day that I didn’t need to go to Sainsbury’s after all, so my excursion to change the coin was entirely unnecessary, and my confusion served only to allow me to feel the touch of that beggar lady’s hand and confound the suspicious nun. But it doesn’t stop there.

On the train on the way home, I sat across from a really tall, thin, effeminate guy, an odd looking young chap who looked around nervously, reached over to me and asked me to open his bottle of Irn Bru because it was too tight and his hands apparently weren’t strong enough. (Me with my arthritic guitar player’s hands!) I laughed and took the bottle, struggled a little with the tight cap but managed to open it, handing it back to the nervous hands of the effeminate young man.

Those hands! A coincidence of hands, of being in the right place because of a momentary confusion of intention, because I had shut myself off to the thrill of the city’s stimuli and entered a realm of grace among a marginalised minority. Or so it seemed to me. Being in the moment, swept into a channel of joy, underneath the attachment to attraction and physical desire.

Christ is the ecstasy of the moment fully realised.


Márton Koppány said...

It is amazing, Stephen. The story and the poem go parallel, they deepen each other. But the mystery (the utmost visual exactness!)of the poem remains safe, and untouched by explanations...

Stephen Nelson said...

Thanks once again, Marton. Yes, I wanted the essay to complement the poem rather than explain it. I'm glad you find the poem intact. Much appreciated.

Fiona Pearse said...

Hi Stephen. I love the piece The Momen t, having seen it at RichMix's Maintenant Camarade Poetry. I hope you don't mind that I mentioned it on my blog: I've also put a link to it on my facebook - just so you know.
Kind regards
Fiona Pearse.

Stephen Nelson said...

Fiona - thanks! I'm happy you liked the piece and mentioned it on your blog. Glad you found it too at the Maintenant event. Thanks for dropping by. Come back anytime!