Having promised a friend to drive her and her car back the 50 miles to Los Angeles, I was on the train to meet her. My day gone and of no longer any use to me, I relaxed in my seat with some light reading and budgeting to do on the table in front of me as the train gained speed, moving smoothly on the tracks. I had a good seat by the window, facing the direction in which we were moving.
As my tasks finished, I began gazing out the window at the city scene passing by, enjoying the idle time and relaxing. We passed by many things … trees, warehouses, concrete river-beds, some with water, bridges, roadways with gates down and cars lined up to allow us passage. When the train was stopped, I watched as the colors of the gravel alongside the tracks, a warm tan neutral in the sun, became a cool grey in the shadow of the train. The tracks themselves shone with a blue-grey highlight on their top surfaces with deep black undersides. All this slid past me as we moved along and disappeared into unseen backgrounds.
I began to notice some things that were of a particular interest to me: empty warehouses that could easily accommodate a possible studio that I didn’t have and couldn’t afford; under some trees alongside a service road a lineup of tents and temporary shelters of homeless people; middle-class housing tracts with bustling balconies and flags.
Each of these items of interest triggered not only an interesting examination, but spurred my mind to engage in critical thoughts about them, bringing up resentments sometimes about current finances, or social wrongs in others. As they too disappeared into the distance behind, the nagging preoccupation with thoughts dissolved as my mind emptied itself once again.
Arriving at my destination and preparing to disembark, it occurred to me that I had had a remarkable and extraordinary experience … I was able to observe and identify a clear and distinct contrast between directly experiencing the pleasant, simple and ever-changing views brought about by the moving train and how my mind was overtaken by what I then realized were fixated obstructions brought about by my own imagination.
I resolved to use this experience to deepen my awareness and identify as many objects and occurrences of fixation as I can, as they arise in my mindstream. I stepped down onto the walkway, saw my friend and waved. And there too, was the car.