27 Feb Sex in the City
I returned from the subcontinent earlier this week after a month away. Truly invigorated and deliciously refreshed by the sun and heat, I quickly put the key in the door with considerable relief to be home again. Twenty-eight days on the road in hotel rooms, with curries and tuk tuks predominating my day, I must say the sight of my amply stocked kitchen and the enticing thought of a simple cheese sandwich made my eyes light up with delight. Even zero degrees felt good as I ambled out for my morning paper flashing an unmistakably tanned and healthy glow.
My return home was sullied however by an incident which has made me reassess how I must manage myself and my life today. I will relate the story as I reflect on what happened.
On these pages, I often speak of how I experience the world. I am like a lighthouse with a beam that sweeps the distant horizon; people, animals, birds, clouds, thunder and lightning appear within that beam which is observed by and as awareness, which loosely, but incorrectly, we might term as the witness. It is NOT the witness actually because that would imply something observing something else – subject looking at object. When I view, nothing is labelled, life is happening within that beam of awareness as it rises and falls, spinning and tossing in a cosmic pirouette of divine dance and comedy.
I have NO idea of being a separate woman (for I am female); I am just a light beam and this is how I have had to learn to exist since my dramatic awakening. I am still learning how to walk, as it were, because I have no idea of how I appear to the outside world although I apparently look the same in the mirror, I have no concept of what people think because I do not read their thoughts. What is there to read? However, I can feel their entirety and know exactly who they are because I experience others through ‘me’, through awareness. I have written in the past that I lost all my survival instincts, and I have to admit this is the hardest aspect of my life now. I am like a young child learning to navigate the world but with the body of a woman. I have to accept that something more than a light beam is seen by the outside world, and what happened before I left India has taught me to be much more guarded with my precious time and my life. I recall the Zen Master saying to me, “Can you feel your body, Selima? You MUST be able to feel your body.”
I was meditating into the setting sun by the beach in Mumbai a couple of weeks ago; so still and quietly I sat in the half-lotus saying goodbye to another day. It is a beautiful beach spoiled only by the fact that raw sewage pours into it from the city. However, I could forget that – a beach with a setting sun will make me genuflect in profound gratitude wherever I am. I finished meditating, put on my jacket and walked over to bow to the sun before I headed back to my room.
I was halted in my tracks by a man about 35-40 who asked me if I could spare a minute. “Can you explain how you are so still? How do you maintain that?” I replied that I am intrinsically still and meditation comes easily to me. He asked me to sit down.
A light conversation ensued during which he told me his about stress levels, his mother’s OCD and how life was on top of him, and within minutes I was given the story of his life. I mentioned to him that I am stopped from time to time by strangers because I am so still and probably other-worldly, but I am also intensely alert and single-focused, which, thinking back, must have stroked his narcissistic ego.
We, or rather, he, spoke for about 2 hours as I listened, and he said that he found me and my life perspective so fascinating he wanted to interview me for his Indian YouTube audience which he said had a huge following. I had no reason to doubt him and still do not. He was in film, Bollywood apparently, and although I could hardly utter a word, he had decided I was going to be important in his life and told me how wonderful and free he felt in my powerful presence, and asked if he could he write on this blog. Before I left that evening, I asked him to look on this website in entirety so he understood me and EmW (and perhaps realise that I am not a young woman because I really did not understand his manic dialogue and overwhelming verbal diarrhoea); I also told him that I do not respond to WhatsApp, and that to reach me is only possible via email. I warned him I am notoriously difficult to reach which he readily comprehended.
Within 10 minutes of my arrival back into my hotel room, one which overlooked the pretty palms and wide, open sea, a barrage of WhatsApps came in; there were YouTube clips, poetry, selfies from different angles, gushing approbation and exclaims of delight. I ignored them. He asked if I would join him downstairs at around 10pm after dinner which, of course, I did not. I messaged a one-liner to say I would meet him for breakfast the following morning.
I normally order room service because I intensely dislike hotel breakfast and dining rooms, but I joined him the following day as promised, feeling distinctly uncomfortable because I was fulfilling an unwilling obligation somehow, but here was a chance to bring EmW to a large audience. He spoke again with the speed of a bullet train and spouted animatedly in continuation of the previous evening’s themes as I listened completely bored. He had only looked at the Home page of this website, but nothing more.
He asked to walk with me on the beach as he invited me to Pondicherry and Kashmir and asked me to photograph him with the Arabian Sea behind him. I told him I dislike photos because they take a part of me, and I think that was all I was able to say. After the walk, I remained by the pool and he disappeared. Some time later, the WhatsApp messages started again saying he could see me from his hotel room – I should turn around and wave. I did. Again, I felt uncomfortable because I felt on display so vanished to my room and closed the curtains which overlooked his. Reams of messages came through which I did not answer and I shut off my phone until the evening. When I switched it on, he asked again if I would join him later in the evening, and I made an excuse that I was working and would see him for breakfast,
The following day was my day to depart India, so I had to check out and visit some friends in the city to say goodbye. We met again in the morning and I repeated that he had to research my website before I could consider any interviews, and that I must see a proposal in writing beforehand. I further reiterated that communication had to be via email and not Whatsapp. He agreed that he would write emails to me and send me a professional proposal, further informing me he had already spoken to a friend. We discussed backdrop, lighting, etc., for the interviews and I felt we had put the matter on a stable and project-based, professional level.
Time was getting tight as checkout was at 12.00 noon so I apologised and said I had to leave. He asked me increasingly personal questions and fired a cannon-ball by asking if I was celibate. His final remark was to join him for tea when I returned. I checked out, leaving my baggage with the bellboy as I had an overnight flight, and jumped into a tuk tuk to cross the city. When I returned I went to the pool but hid under his window so he could not see me because I could not entertain the thought of any more meaningless, vacuous interchange. Actually, it was not interchange, this man was talking AT me instead of to me. Every 2 hours that afternoon, there were bucket loads of Whapps on my phone which I just deleted and finally I escaped to the airport unseen, relieved to board the Emirates flight to Dubai.
Although it is not an airline I like because the service is so bad (prompting me yet again to call out the purser and complain), and it did indeed leave 3 hours late, I was grateful to be lifted into the vast midnight sky homewards to my life and loves in the west. I asked my father, brother and son to carry me safely to London and felt the tacit acknowledgement of love and security from the men I love the most. When I arrived at Dubai all onboard passengers missed their connecting flights so I had to lose 5 hours until the morning. I opened my phone to find 17 Whapp messages containing selfies, more laudatory exclamations, stories about his cricket game and God knows what more. I just deleted the lot thinking he was nothing more than a damned blood-seeking mosquito.
There was a blissful 2 days’ silence once I returned home and then, out of courtesy because I had not responded for 3 days, I wrote to him on email reminding him of our EmW discussion, advice for his mother’s OCD regarding (which Homeopath to see in Mumbai), and wished him well. Immediately I had sent the email, 34 Whapp messages started arriving on my phone, this time graphic and the point. He told me he had not wanted to barrage me with messages (!) but felt so high and elevated hat he wanted to make love to me, that I had sucked him in and he was frozen in time, etc. I say etc., because I don’t remember or care what he wrote. I fell into a mortified silence, deeply embarrassed and wondered what I had done. There was only one person to discuss this with, so I decided with heavy heart to pluck up courage and ask my son to give me 10 minutes of his time.
Awkward and laboured, I read the entire dialogue out to him after explaining the prospect of EmW going live in India. He paused for a long time, expressionless, and finally said, “I think you can forget any idea of interviews at all. I don’t doubt he has all the connections necessary but he has dirtied the project by being absolutely unprofessional and thoroughly offensive. How could you go out to Mumbai with his undisguised lust hovering over you? You need to tell him how wildly obnoxious his remarks are.”
I said that I had no intention of responding because I did not want the dialogue, and anyway, if I were to go to give a series of interviews, he would have to come with me as my chaperone. A few quiet moments later I was standing alone in another room and my son appeared, obviously having reflected about it, and leaning over me he enveloped me with his big, powerful arms saying, “I am so sorry, Mama, you had to go through that.”
I replied, “I didn’t know whether I should tell you.”
His reply was short, “I am a man.”
I mused, “It is difficult for a woman out there when she has no idea of self.”
“I know,” he replied, “there are many unevolved men who think they can say that to a woman. I am so sorry.”
I received an email from the Indian repeating his Whatsapp declarations whereupon I removed him from my contact list. More Whapps came through informing me he had written volumes and I had sent zilch, and an email saying I was nasty for blocking him, asking why. For some reason, some messages are still coming through, but I hope he will soon die off like a withered branch.
What do I make of all this? You may ask why I did not see this coming and nip it in the bud early by barking, “Hey! on yer bike, pal,” or something equally dismissive. The answer is because I have no idea that I appear as a sexual being. My perception of life is as I have explained in the first paragraphs of this post. I was deeply shocked by this interchange and realised that I have to increase an awareness of my self as a physical being, if you will, because the is NOT the first time this has happened.
I just do not see it because I returned to the innocent state. You see, the body is a thought, an idea, and I walk around today as pure awareness most often in no-mind. The world is gloriously bright, shining pure and clean, in multitudinous colour, shape and form. If somebody strikes up a conversation with me – I follow the dialogue as is required without reading anything into it or pre-supposing other than what is in front of me. To become a woman of the world (which I certainly was!), I would have to take on the mantle of a sexual woman with wily ways, hard experience behind her, repartee at her finger-tips and a pocketful of fail-proof get-out clauses. Do I want that? What again? All that hell?
No. I want to find a new technicolour dream coat, one of many glorious spectacular shades, gossamer light and opalescent, shimmering daintily with the reflection of the sun, moon and stars. One that will protect me just enough to avoid getting myself into trouble, and which will allow me to dance my never-ending cosmic pirouette, spinning higher and higher, sweeping through the heavens like a supreme ballerina reaching at full stretch with her head held high and arms outstretched to touch her true divine lover – he only who shall be hers – in God’s ultimate embrace and in wild, pure, rolling, ecstatic joy.
Images from my favourite artist Nicholas Roerich 1874-1947. The spectacular colours he paints emulate exactly those I see in the world with my eyes today after realisation.