Well, what an attractive aerogramme the U.S. P.O. seems to be putting out now, during 'Human Rights Year', with the globes and birds (what do the birds symbolize? or do they symbolize nothing? 'free flight?' 'bars-do-(or do-not) a-prison-make?'), and arranged in a much more convenient and usable form on a much nicer color paper than this dull grey which tends to obscure what is written on it, which tends to be obscure enough.
Big population explosion here at Island Hermitage -- 7 Western laymen Now -- 4 Americans and 3 English -- are here now, although 3 (1 American + 2 English) will be leaving in a week -- the 3 whose absence will be least regretted. The 2 Americans from California, who have been here 6 months, will remain, as will a friend of theirs who showed up a few weeks ago -- though he's so turned on that I don't know if he'll be able to stick around long enough to come down. Also arrived is an English friend, Graham, who I knew some time ago and who will certainly stay for a long while and almost as certainly be ordained here in the near future. He's been wandering around India and Nepal for some time -- and that's where the departing boys are running away to: running away from having to face their own existence -- which is all there is to face at Island Hermitage, since there are few external stimulants/irritants/distractions to allow them to forget about their own existence -- although they don't know it. He says about 90% of all Westerners -- not only backpackers but everybody -- in India are busy being part of the drug scene -- this is about a 10% increase over when I was there a few years ago -- and 75% of the people on the West Coast are also so involved according to our California correspondents. I imagine Detroit has a lower percentage, but hallucinogens seem to be the coming -- coming? come! -- device for euphoria and general forgetfulness. I'm certainly glad to be far removed from that society.
The main difference between 'them' and me (atleast now) is simply that I have something that I see is 'to be done' -- i.e. meditation and all that goes with it -- while they do not have -- have not found -- or refuse to recognize/accept that their existence itself requires of them a task to be done -- that, in one sense, it is not purposeless (although what that purpose is is not an easy thing to accept) -- and so continue seeking outside of themselves (via more and more intense stimulants, drugs, etc.) to find out what task there is; however, that can only be learned by seeking inside of oneself, and they, going in the wrong direction, naturally do not find what they (don't know they) are looking for. Occasionally a few individuals come to understand -- largely through despair and anxiety – that they've been going the wrong way and reverse their direction, and only those who do understand this are the sort who will/can stay here. Hence, the departures for India and the rest (or no rest, rather).
Well, how's that for filling an aerogramme with nothing to say?