Where ever I am there my hand phone is also. It is there in my pocket when I go for a walk, when I go on a trip. Just about any time of the day or night my phone is beside me, it is there even as I sleep. However when I’m in the monastery it is switched off since there is a pager system so one is always reachable. While I was ‘on call’ for Rev. Master Jiyu during the last three years of her life I had taped my pager switch to ON. Twenty four hours a day. Sometimes she would think about paging me but not actually press the necessary button to call me and sometimes I’d turn up anyway and she would wonder why it had taken me so long! But you can’t rely on intuitive means to be reached 100%, I carry my hand phone (as they are termed in East Asia) for much the same reason I carried my pager taped to ON for Rev. Master Jiyu. It was my device to aid my listening mind to ensure I’d always turn up when needed. I can’t remember ever misplacing my pager although, I do remember it dropping into a toilet! But that’ another story.
You might say I’m attached to the phone or that it is attached to me. Which ever way around it doesn’t really matter. Items of constant personal use do seem to become part of oneself and I can’t imagine it would be any other way. So when one becomes detached the personal meaning of the lost item, the level of the attachment becomes very clear. So it was when the other day I mislaid my cell phone just as we were about to set off to drive to Mt. Shasta. I knew it was somewhere close, that it could not have been stolen (a concern when out and about) and that I really needed to find it before we drove away. It goes without saying that a wave of worry and anxiety flooded through me with the usual, What if I can’t find it, what if…? internal questioning.
Thankfully the flood of anxiety subsided quite quickly and having done all the sensible things such as search my luggage (several times), called the number of the phone (which was switched on!) I sauntered around the small house and garden mildly wondering where the phone might be. Then without any kind of prompting that I can remember I walked into my host’s laundry room, opened the door of the washing machine there to find the phone mingled in with my yet to be washed (thank goodness) sheets and towels I’d used during my stay!
Like it or not items we use regularly are as close to us as our skin. Thank goodness.