Siddhartha, the waiting room, ‘nowness’

Self-portrait, Besigheim

Self-portrait, Besigheim

The waiting room in the colon treatment center the morning after Fat Tuesday could be purgatory, where people wait to have their insides filmed through a probe, to hear how long they have to live, what they have, when they need to come back and do it again.

Mom and I joke because you have to, but there’s no jokes for proctologists they haven’t heard already with lost pens or toothbrushes, the fact it’s so early the radiators haven’t come on yet but I’ll bet they keep their pipes real clean — and I read about Siddhartha and the Brahmins, and think I’m still the same with my mud-caked shoes from the walks last week outside of Bath, the walks I took when I was working — and our friends ask over dinner what are you going to do when you get back to the States for work, don’t you know yet, and shouldn’t you — and I say I’m writing a book, which is like speaking German when you can’t, you have to go on what little you know and say it with conviction, hope it makes sense, tape together words and find meaning.

And while it feels like they’re going in circles as Siddhartha and his friend roam the metaphysical world of their souls, the path is a spiral staircase that leads up, they agree.

And every day I am the same, drawing a spoonful of sand to add or remove from myself, to hide or reveal, an imagined beach you could call escape, heaven, a grave, or just a beach.

Perhaps some of us can’t fully appreciate life until we realize it’s going to end, and others can’t appreciate it because they only wish it would end — can’t live or die, can hardly exist.

The pattern of the window screen, the squares form a mesh to catch the dust and dirt that tries to pass through, traps it for a time inside this room — a leafless tree below, how long since someone noticed it there — and the clouds are that way too, how a child can see so much more in them than we can, their minds are so much simpler, with less to crowd the view.

After wandering for many nights and days in his loincloth fasting, Siddhartha starts to see the world differently at last, as a child, once he accepts his true self, stops trying to deny it, to trap it in a net. He sees the moon and the stars, the dew on the grass, the trees, as if for the first time, though they’ve always been there all around him.

We can’t separate how we see or how we think and feel from what we do, and that’s a blessing or a curse depending on your point of view.


Categories: musings, writing

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

19 replies

  1. Even a colonoscopy is a journey … at least for the probe.

    (Seriously, an excellent post!)


  2. Beautiful: “And every day I am the same, drawing a spoonful of sand to add or remove from myself, to hide or reveal, an imagined beach you could call escape, heaven, a grave, or just a beach.” – I read this line five times because I love it so much.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well I’m so glad, thank you! It didn’t turn out how imagined but glad it did for you, doesn’t matter how I intended it, right? Cheers my friend. Bill


  3. After more than 40 years of GI treatment, I will never understand why 99.9% of gastroenterologists have no sense of humor. You would think it would take a lot of the stink out of it. Hope all went well.


  4. When you talk about clean pipes, I think of Chris Elliot emerging triumphantly from the lair of that multi-armed woman in the movie Cabin Boy and proclaiming his to be clean. But I think I might be the only one who ever saw that movie. If not, then the only one who found it funny. I would say something about Siddhartha but it’s been over twenty years since I read it and I can’t remember if I emailed that thing to my boss yesterday.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Before the proctologist does his work I always ask if he’s going to take me to dinner first. I’m sure it’s not the first time he’s heard it but I feel the need to say SOMETHING.


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