492. Ziggy’s Diary: 20

It’s been a while since I wrote. But I wanted to make sure I wrote about this. I had a vision today. Is vision the right word? I didn’t see anything. I felt it. Hallucination, then, in the tactile realm.

He was standing behind me. And I felt his hand on my shoulder. And I wept. But because we were chanting, I didn’t break down and sob. I kept chanting, but tears ran down my face.

I wasn’t overcome with a feeling of acceptance or any bullshit like that. I was crying because I knew all this meant was that I am so desperate that my mind hallucinates he’s here when he’s not.

I have to get past that, too. But I don’t want to. I’d like to feel his hand on my shoulder for another few days. Wouldn’t that be nice? Pretend everything’s all right between us?

But it would be pretending and I know it and so move on. Cry tears for the fool you are, as well as your knowledge that you have to leave even the most comforting hallucination behind.

Meanwhile, on the earthly plane, I got a fax through to Digger, telling him to check that the payments were being made for my mother and to see how she’s doing. I tried from a different train station. Couldn’t get through to Carynne but at least I did get one to Digger.

I should tell you, Diary, that I’m living in this ashram, now. It’s a nice one, with a public temple in front and a couple of small dorm buildings in back. Pretty much no one here speaks English, but then no one speaks much at all, and yet we communicate perfectly well with gestures and pantomime and facial expressions. They seem to have basically taken me in without any formal agreement or paperwork. Everyone helps cook and clean and polish the bells and sweep the courtyard and collect alms out front, me included, and everyone meditates. It’s all men here, by the way. Some of them have shaved heads but most don’t. One of the other men gave me another set of baggy pants so that when I launder mine I don’t have to stand there naked. Not that I think anyone here would care. The ashram down the road is some sect that doesn’t believe in possessions, apparently, and that includes clothing, and so they’re seen begging in the street in literally nothing. This group I’m with is a bit more modest than that.

When people try to talk to me, they never try English, so I’m learning some words. I don’t even know which language it is. Hindi? They speak something called Kannada here, too. But, you know, words are basically we make a sound, it communicates something, or maybe it fails to. The more people understand the sound you made, the better it is for that use. The tones here are the same–I can tell when someone is asking a question, when they’re angry, when they’re curious, when they’re amused. That’s the music in speaking, the music in the human voice. You can hear the song even if you can’t understand the lyrics.

But I’m learning some words. Here and there. Some of the others staying here don’t speak the native language either. Far as I can tell I’m the only one who speaks English and Spanish. I speak back to them in Spanish sometimes just for fun. No one’s here to beat me for it.


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