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英语美文阅读:度假

2013-02-22 15:05

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英语美文阅读:度假

The place we end up going on vacation is a tiny island called Gili Meno, located off the coast of Lombok, which is the next stop east of Bali in the great, sprawling Indonesian archipelago. I'd been to Gili Meno before, and I wanted to show it to Felipe, who had never been there.

The island of Gili Meno is one of the most important places in the world to me. I came here by myself two years ago when I was in Bali for the first time. I was on that magazine as-signment, writing about Yoga vacations, and I'd just finished two weeks of mightily restorative Yoga classes. But I had decided to extend my stay in Indonesia after the assignment was up, since I was already all the way over here in Asia. What I wanted to do, actually, was to find someplace very remote and give myself a ten-day retreat of absolute solitude and absolute si-lence.

When I look back at the four years that elapsed between my marriage starting to fall apart and the day I was finally divorced and free, I see a detailed chronicle of total pain. And the moment when I came to this tiny island all by myself was the very worst of that entire dark journey. The bottom of the pain and the middle of it. My unhappy mind was a battlefield of conflicted demons. As I made my decision to spend ten days alone and in silence in the middle of exactly nowhere, I told all my warring and confused parts the same thing: "We're all here together now, guys, all alone. And we're going to have to work out some kind of deal for how to get along, or else everybody is going to die together, sooner or later."

Which may sound firm and confident, but I must admit this, as well—that sailing over to that quiet island all alone, I was never more terrified in my life. I hadn't even brought any books to read, nothing to distract me. Just me and my mind, about to face each other on an empty field. I remember that my legs were visibly shaking with fear. Then I quoted to myself one of my favorite lines ever from my Guru: "Fear—who cares?" and I disembarked alone.

I rented myself a little cabin on the beach for a few dollars a day and I shut my mouth and vowed not to open it again until something inside me had changed. Gili Meno Island was my ultimate truth and reconciliation hearing. I had chosen the right place to do this—that much was clear. The island itself is tiny, pristine, sandy, blue water, palm trees. It's a perfect circle with a single path that goes around it, and you can walk the whole circumference in about an hour. It's located almost exactly on the equator, and so there's a changelessness about its daily cycles. The sun comes up on one side of the island at about 6:30 in the morning and goes down on the other side at around 6:30 PM, every day of the year. The place is inhabited by a small handful of Muslim fishermen and their families. There is no spot on this island from which you cannot hear the ocean. There are no motorized vehicles here. Electricity comes from a generator, and for only a few hours in the evenings. It's the quietest place I've ever been.

Every morning I walked the circumference of the island at sunrise, and walked it again at sunset. The rest of the time, I just sat and watched. Watched my thoughts, watched my emo-tions, watched the fishermen. The Yogic sages say that all the pain of a human life is caused by words, as is all the joy. We create words to define our experience and those words bring attendant emotions that jerk us around like dogs on a leash. We get seduced by our own mantras (I'm a failure . . . I'm lonely . . . I'm a failure . . . I'm lonely . . .) and we become monu-ments to them. To stop talking for a while, then, is to attempt to strip away the power of words, to stop choking ourselves with words, to liberate ourselves from our suffocating man-tras.

It took me a while to drop into true silence. Even after I'd stopped talking, I found that I was still humming with language. My organs and muscles of speech—brain, throat, chest, back of the neck—vibrated with the residual effects of talking long after I'd stopped making sounds. My head shimmied in a reverb of words, the way an indoor swimming pool seems to echo interminably with sounds and shouts, even after the kindergartners have left for the day. It took a surprisingly long time for all this pulsation of speech to fall away, for the whirling noises to settle. Maybe it took about three days.

我们度假的地方是名叫美侬岛(GiliMeno)的小岛,位于龙目(Lombok)沿海;在大片延展的印尼群岛当中,龙目是巴厘岛以东的下一站。我从前去过美侬岛,我想让斐利贝看看,他未曾去过那里。

美侬岛对我而言是世界上最重要的地方之一。两年前首次造访巴厘岛时,我独自前来此地。当时我受杂志社邀稿,撰写瑜伽之行,才刚结束两个礼拜有助于恢复活力的瑜伽课程。但在完成了杂志社指派的工作后,我决定延长在印尼的居留,既然我已大老远跑来亚洲。我想做的,事实上是找个偏远之地,隐居十天,给自己绝对的隔绝和绝对的平静。

当我回顾从婚姻开始瓦解到终于离婚而获得自由的四年时光,我看见一部详尽的痛苦史。我独自一人来到这座小岛之时,是那整趟黑暗之旅的最低潮期,最底层当中的痛苦。我忧愁的心,是一座战场,彼此争斗的恶魔在其中作战。当我决定在前不着村、后不着店的地方安静独处十天,我告诉内心所有混乱交战的想法同一件事:"你们这些家伙听好,咱们现在单独待在一起了。我们得想办法相处,否则迟早大家都将葬身此地。"

语气听起来坚定而自信,但我也必须承认——独自搭船前来这座安静的小岛时,我感到有生以来未曾有过的恐惧。我甚至未带任何书来读,没有任何事可以让我分心。只有我和自己的心共处,即将在荒原上面对彼此。我记得看见自己的腿因恐惧而发抖,而后我给自己引用一句我的导师曾说过的深得我心的话:"恐惧——谁在乎?"于是我独自下了船。

我在海边租下一间茅舍,每日的租金只要几块钱。然后我闭上嘴,发誓直到内心发生变化前,不再开口。美侬岛是我的绝对真理与和解审讯。我挑选了合适的地点,这再清楚不过。岛非常小,很原始,有沙滩、碧海、棕榈树。正圆形的岛只有一条环岛步道,一个小时内即可走完整个圆周。小岛几乎位于赤道上,因此日日循环不变。太阳清晨六点半在岛的一边升起,午后六点半在岛的另一边下山,一年到头皆如此。一小群穆斯林渔夫及其家人居住在此地。岛上没有一处听不见海声。这儿没有任何机动车辆。电力来自发电机,仅在晚间提供几个小时。这里是我到过的最安静的地方。

每天清晨,我在日出时分绕着岛周行走,日落时分再走一次。其余的时间,我只是坐着观看。观看自己的思考,观看自己的感情,观看渔夫。瑜伽圣者说,人生所有的痛苦皆起因于言语,如同所有的喜悦。我们创造言语,藉以阐明自身经验,而诸种情绪伴随这些言语而来,牵动着我们,犹如被皮带拴住的狗。我们被自身的咒语引诱(我一事无成……我很寂寞……我一事无成……我很寂寞……),成为咒语的纪念碑。因此,一段时间不讲话,等于是尝试除去言语的力量,不再让自己被言语压得透不过气,让自己摆脱令人窒息的咒语。

我花了一阵子才真正沉默下来。即使停止说话,我发现自己仍低声响着语言。我的五脏六腑和语言肌肉——脑袋、喉咙、胸膛、颈后——在我停止出声之后,余音残留。言语在我脑中回响,就像幼稚园的幼儿们白天离开室内游泳池后,游泳池似乎仍回荡着无止境的声音与喊叫。这些语言脉动花了好一段时间才消失而去,回旋的声音才得以平息,大约花了三天工夫。

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