Thought For The Day #3117 July 2014
Broadcast 317th of July 2014 on BBC Radio Bristol
Audio available at http://www.mytalky.com/IOa
I have some friends who live on canal boats in and around Bristol. I’m even considering buying one myself. I’m attracted both to the romantic life of being closer to nature and to the possibility of getting a reasonably cheap first mortgage.
I’m well aware that life on the river requires a little extra work.
Unless I get a deluxe barge, I’ll have no central heating, have to use a laundrette and have to empty my own toilet. Yes that’s right, I’ll have to physically carry my own pooh to a disposal point. And if I have people round to stay, it’s likely I’ll have to deal with theirs too.
It’s not a pleasant thing to consider I admit. And I even hesitate to take this moment to stop and contemplate it. But when I do, I realise that the reluctance is familiar. Metaphorically speaking, I often turn away from feelings in the same way I turn away from toilet waste. In fact I might even go as far to compare the experience of sitting in meditation, to that of having to man-handle human excrement.
Nothing magical happens when I stop, remove all distractions and give undivided attention to my felt experience. My confident self-image gives way to fragility, distraction and anxiety. It’s as sobering as considering how sewage systems work.
Funnily enough though, my father used to work at a sewage treatment plant. He once told me a story about the very last stage of the cleansing process where the solid matter is laid out to sterilise in the sun. Apparently tomato seeds survive digestion and flourish in the fertile soil. Surprisingly my father snacked on the ripe fruit. Without hesitation he claimed they were the juiciest and tastiest tomatoes he had ever eaten.