‘You’re doing what!?’
Jack is not irascible. He just comes across that way. He is an enthusiastic purveyor of opinion, information and wisdom on a whole range of issues and disciplines. Like the rivers in his area of Northern Queensland, when they flow they flood. His creative expression is unbridled.
‘Let me see if I am getting this right? You’ve come by train to Cairns, you stayed overnight in a backpackers, hired a car, your’e driving to Yungaburra, where incidentally on a Monday the craft shops and galleries are C-L-O-S-E-D, spending a few days there and you’re going to pop in to see us on your way back to Cairns for another night in a backpackers and another disappointing twenty four hour train trip home.’
I was quiet because I had no option in the face of the wind bullet and because I was listening.
‘Yep, that’s about it.’
‘When you could have stayed here with us for a week rather than two hours, gone for brilliant walks in rainforests and on beaches right on the doorstep, borrowed a car for a while, met some of our friends and had some scintillating conversations.’
I continued to be quiet but now because I was paying attention to a delicious frisson of muscular contraction, arising from a deep place within my psyche, spreading out through my body, especially in my chest and belly. For me it goes with acute embarrassment, feelings of incompetence-in-public, revelation of inadequacy, being exposed. It was glorious.
‘You are right,’ I replied. ‘Completely right. Guilty as charged. How interesting.’
‘Is that all you have to say?’
‘Like most people I make decisions in a particular way. I make odd decisions on the basis of streams of aberrant thoughts fueled by subjective reactions based on based on distorted perceptions that come from childhood conditioning, whim, the unconscious, whatever. And I believe them and carry out actions on the basis of these thought streams. We all do it of course; there’s nothing special about my process. This one is especially irrational as you point out. Quite bonkers! And I did it.’
“If it had happened ten years ago I would have been in a terrible state. That’s when I identified with the mind. It’s who I was.’
‘But how fortunate. Say I’d got it right, contacted you, come here comfortably and cheaply without a three hundred kilometre side trip, done all the things you mentioned, I would have gone home having had a great time more convinced than ever how in control of my good life I am. Not for a moment would I have remembered the truth that I am not this ego. I would have been even more comfortable in this skin, certain in the belief of what a superior ego I am. It would have inflated even more, though’, putting my hands on my belly, ‘I can’t afford it, and I would have identified with it even more.’
‘But now ….’
‘As I say, to have any hope of waking up we are supposed to fail.’