by Ang Kia Yee

Burrowing, burrowing.

These are all new feelings. Perhaps I shifted too quickly even for myself, and my mind is absorbing the world in shapes I’ve never encountered before. I am behaving and feeling in ways I find out of character. I have neutralised something, Pema. Am I still who I am?

As a teenager, I worked at controlling and rewiring my cognitive habits, at undoing the punishing mental logic my brain clung to. Now it seems to have become a method, a tool I can reach for at will. I can change what I think about something through counterthoughts and reproductive reinforcement, repetition. Does that make me un-human? I am afraid, not of myself, but of what people think of this side of me. I am defensive also because I am proud of this ability. I built a way out. I saved myself.

Do I let go, now? Pema, I think you would say yes. Perhaps my notions of control merely intensify the dream-like quality of all life, and underscore again the emptiness of form. But the mind is a beginning, too, for this practice. By absorbing your words and wording them into my trains of thought, I have entered some other plane of possibility. To see this life to its end, without choosing to fall back asleep, feels possible here. So how do I reconcile all of this? My machine-like qualities, and my desire to usher myself in as I am?