11 hours left until my flight takes off and my 5 month stay in Haiti comes to a close. As these remaining hours tick away I’m finding myself unable to think about anything else other than time. My perception of time has baffled me for a number of years. I couldn’t comprehend how it feels: a second lasts roughly a millennium, a hour is approximately a lifetime, a week usually takes around a month, a month lasts for only a week, a year normally passes in a day, and my life thus far has taken place in less than a blink of an eye. Time moves at a steady constant pace but outside of the present it appeared to follow no logical pattern. I knew the answer, could explain the answer, yet I still didn’t understand it. The answer to this riddle was given to me through the teachings of Catholicism, the principles of Quantum Mechanics, the teachings of oriental religions such as Buddhism and Hinduism, and in countless other places. It seemed every religion and philosophy I researched answered this question in a remarkably similar way but the more times I saw the answer the less I understood.
The moment it all made sense is a night I will not soon forget. I couldn’t sleep and it was a beautiful clear night so I went up to the roof to lay on the resovoir. The resovoir is concrete but suprisingly comfortable; I, along with a couple other people, have fallen asleep on it multiple times. The most remarkable thing about that night was it was completely silent. Solino didn’t have EDH (the Haitian electricity department which appears to have no system for when it decides to give power) so there was no music playing nearby. A lack of music isn’t extremely rare but there were also no roosters crowing, dogs barking, or noisy cars driving by; that almost never happens. The only sound was a gentle breeze blowing through the palm trees around the community. I laid there in this rare moment of peace, closed my eyes and just listened.
My thoughts eventually stopped as I laid there soaking my environment and it was then I understood. There was no “Aha!” moment, not even a stray thought about the matter; I just understood. I was completely enveloped in that present moment without a single thought or sound to pull me away. I understood how God could be outside of time and present in all time simultaneously, what is meant when Siddhartha said “During deep meditation it is possible to dispel time, to see simultaneously all the past, present, and future, and then everything is good, everything is perfect, everything is Brahman.” and, the signifigance behind Schroodinger’s claim that “For eternally and always there is only now, one and the same now; the present is the only thing that has no end.” I finally understood that time doesn’t make sense outside of the present because it doesn’t exist outside of the present. The peaceful silence of that night taught me the importance of living in the present moment. It is only in present I can find myself and who it is I am called to be.
It’s strange, for the past two months everytime I’ve sat down to with an idea of what I’m to write I end up writing about something completely different. I had no intention of discussing what I just wrote but it’s what my fingers decided to write about today. I say “my fingers” because at times I feel oddly powerless to choose what I am going to write about. Once I fall into a rhythm the words just start pouring out; regardless if it’s what I intended to write about or not.
I owe all my readers a huge apology for failing to fufil my promise to keep you updated on what I’ve been doing here in Haiti. I still don’t understand what made it so difficult for me to write the last half of my time here. There are so many things I can say about my experience and so many stories I’ve yet to tell but everytime I try to write it’s as if something is holding me back. I haven’t even been able to get anything down in my notebook. I hope once I return I’ll break free from this and start writing again about my experiences. I’ll be sure to post anything I write on here. Thanks to everyone who read my blog so intently when I was actually writing posts. Though I failed to show it, your support during those first few months really helped me through the rough transition into life inside a slum.
Only 8 hours until my flight leaves.
Goodbyes are so much harder when I know I’ll probably never see most of these people again. I’ll return to Haiti in the future there’s no doubt but I have no way to contact most of the people I’ve met, especially those in the camp. Only one of my students has a computer and there’s no reliable mail system in Haiti so I really have no way to communicate.
N’a we Ayiti. M pa konn lè men m pral we ou anko. Moun ou yo te jwenn yon espas nan kè mwen.
Enben kouraj Ayiti, M pa pral bliye ou zanmi’m.