Toilets in Mumbai.

Posted on June 5, 2012


When I despair, I remember that all through history the ways of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants, and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall. Think of it–always.
Mahatma Gandhi

.Toilets in Mumbai.

This is the new code. The Grand Chu and I have started to use it when we begin to slip fully beneath the waves of universal loathing, grief and anger. You know that place – when you reach out too far –think about too much –  the way humanity exists on this planet eats at you…Things like how you I get to write a blog post whenever you I want or sleep in a feather bed or have a crush on a video game character like say…Geralt from the Witcher series… How you I get to do this stuff while things like this happen:
In Mumbai – Women don’t have the right to use public toilets.

In Mumbai – People make 100 goddamn rupees a day and are charged 25 rupees to make use of a public restroom

AND only 50 % of houses in India have their own toilet.

It is so easy to make this someone else’s problem – almost as easy as making it too fully your/mine own problem and therein lies the rub. Where does one sit and with social disparity? At whose feet does one place acceptance or blame or pain or compassion or guilt when the world in taken as a whole? Is it personal? Is it societal? Is it beyond the scope of either? How can one assimilate the macrocosmic worldview without filtering it through the head, heart or body? It’s fucking IMPOSSIBLE

How – if one cannot stop filtering does the stain come out? The stain of thousands of years of human inequity. Perhaps the heart is forfeit. The heart is part of the bargain brokered to experience the totality of our existence and to give back to the world fully. Mother Teresa gave her heart noting, “A sacrifice to be real must cost, must hurt, must empty ourselves. The fruit of silence is prayer, the fruit of prayer is faith, the fruit of faith is love, the fruit of love is service, the fruit of service is peace.” … …. … Mother Teresa died and some fucking idiot a devotee pulled back the veil from her life and revealed to the world that embodied in her beauty was longing. She lived in the dark night of the soul grasping for the truth of god’s love and while I find that to be beautiful and honest others didn’t. Others hated her for being vulnerable.

.Toilets in Mumbai.

This is an addendum to my previous post about living in an authentic and open way (wait….all my posts are about that) and perhaps it is the shadow side of the post. The part that questions how once can live with authenticity in a place rife with pain – especially if living authentically means opening up and trying to walk with vulnerable grace with the pain we create.

.Yes we. All of us. We are all complicit.

I wish that this could be an eight limbs post. I wish that my heart held eight chambers and in those eight chambers lived an ever deepening place of meditation and asana and application Yama’s and Niyamas and …Samadhi. But it can’t be because when I see a thing in pain– I am plucked away from the concept of a contemplative life and come face to face with the raw edges of being human – of being of the same ilk as those that rape and murder and take pleasure in destruction and to think about that is hard because like I said last week – if we each hold all potential within us – if each human houses the ability to harm and the ability to help …why would anyone harm? What is the driving force in this black and white view of the world? Has it ever changed or is it a “time immemorial” sort of thing?

.Toilets in Mumbai.

Morality: (from the Latin moralitas “manner, character, proper behavior).
How does one live as a moral creature. Dig into your past and present for a moment will you? Dig in and recall who taught you the meaning of this word. Who taught you how to live in the world in a good way? Sunday school for me – and then being a silent witness to the immorality in the world reading books and watching the news or even closer to home watching the neighbor kid show up with bruises and ragged clothes and no lunch. Who teaches you now? What drives anyone to morality in their adult life?
….. ……………….. ……………………… …………………………………. ……………………………. …………………………. . . . . . .
In my heart space no amount of arguing the semantics of morality makes charging woman to use the restroom ok. Or giving birth to a child and abusing it or trying to rape and murder an ethnic group into extinction or creating a society in which people have no option but to hurt. Handy tells us “You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.” And he’s right but I want to slap him because it’s the dirt and blood ichor that sticks to the open soul. It’s the shit of the world that fosters the growth of a compassionate giving soul like Gandhi or Mother Teresa or Desmond Tutu or the woman down the street that wakes up early every day and the stray cats. It takes giving in to the suffering to see an alternate path and suffering in the shit can break you. It can break you into a million little pieces and send you careening towards ignorance or death or any sort of available respite.

I know this because Tyler knows this.

My meditation as of late has become less of a “vast white space full of potential” and more of a “sit with the notion of pain and death” kind of thing. (Can you tell)? It is a viciously beautiful thing to sit with death – the notion that we are all tied by our birth and our ending. There is no running from either and to sit with at least this sliver of existence brings my contemplative self closer to the part of me that grieves the entire human race….and the parts that grasp for ignorance.

.And so yeah. Toilets in Mumbai.

Toilets in Mumbai is the catch phrase that we use when one or the other of us is slipping too deep into the folds of human despair – not despair for the self- despair every other living creature on this earth. For you and your children and the squirrel you might hit on the home. Because drowning in it isn’t the way and perhaps calling attention to the drowning is…at least the way of right now.

I am no prophet—and here’s no great matter.

I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker, 

And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker

And in short, I was afraid. – LJAP – T.S. Eliot

I have no answers to the questions I’m posing – only experience and today my experience is shot through with a lot of not knowingness and a lot of …well a lot of recognition of the suffering of life…maybe I should become a Buddhist 😉
So much love compassion and light.


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