Michał Karzyński

What a day this has been.

What a truly incredible day this has been for me. So many things happened and each one was grander then the former. I am exhausted, but very happy, very alive :)

It all started early in the morning, when I was lying sleeplessly in bed (after a coffee too strong too late) having read quite a bit of Wilber’s ‘Brief History of Everything’. Right then, in the early hours of the morning I had a brief flash of realization, which allowed me to order his integral approach to cognition and consciousness into a 4 dimensional hyperspace geometrical model. Then reducing the four dimensions, to what he refers to as The Big Three, I was able to comprehend a postmodern integral ethics. I know, this means nothing so far. It’s just my shorthand for what I read, but I promise to write an essay about it soon.

Later, after a few hours I awoke and went to what was supposed to be the gist of today — a Meditation Retreat Day at the Kashyapa Buddhist centre here. The day consisted of three meditations, each of which had a lesson for me. The first one (On the precious human life) reminded me how fortunate I am to be alive, well and able to lead a good life with a pure mind. The second (On death and impermanence) had a very personal message for me. It made me realize what is the greatest obstacle on my spiritual path, namely self-grasping. The last meditation (On the law of Karma) made me realize, that putting the integral ethics (the early morning idea) into practice could guide me on my path and give my actions meaning for the benefit of others. It was a truly beautiful and inspiring retreat.

After leaving the centre I walked to Lister Park, a place I had previously heard of, but never visited. Upon entering I realized that this is exactly what I was missing in Bradford: a park with water, a botanical garden, a water-garden and a gallery. The Cartwright Gallery, situated in a very nice Victorian (I think) building, houses quite a nice collection of art — mainly of Indian origin (!).
Unfortunately I got there only a half an hour before closing and I only had time to fully contemplate a temporary exhibition, entitled ‘Made in India’(!). Quite an interesting exhibition, that, consisting of objects made by Indian peasants out of used tinfoil. Fascinating, yet disturbing. We truly live in different worlds.

When I left the gallery I started to head for home, but as I wondered through the park I noticed a gigantic slim tower in the distance. My curiosity got the better of me and I headed to explore an unknown part of Bradford. What I discovered took my speech and breath away.
I came to the Manningham Mill. Imagine a building which stretches as far as your eyes can see, full of broken windows through which sky evidences a lack of any roof. Imagine a metal staircase on one of the walls, leading from one level to another, but without any stairs. Imagine the emptiness of a building which takes you minutes and minutes to walk around. Imagine birds as its only inhabitants, flying freely through it’s vast open spaces. Imagine finally looking up at the gigantic tower and realizing that it is a chimney of a colossal furnace which boiled water for the mill’s mammoth steam engine. Imagine low passing clouds above the chimney vaguely suggesting that this monstrous decaying corpse was once a living entity in which hundreds, maybe thousands of people worked every day.
And suddenly I was there. I was there, back in 1870 when the mill opened, I was one of the people brought in from India to the heartland of the Empire. I worked in the mill everyday, I saw the sweat the pain, the tears and blood of hardworking men and women in the mill. The Mill. It remembers the anguish and hope, the happiness and joy of this new found home, new found luxury, new found life in the Empire.
And then, just as suddenly I was back in 2003. The Mill was dead, but the people still live here, impoverished, ashamed. Some still remember the glory days of Bradford’s textile industry. Some probably still come here to watch and pay their deeds to this rotting carcass of industrial modernity.
This adventure was my karmic reward for diligent meditation, but karma is not without it’s sense of irony. As I gathered my breath and regained my composure, I walked back toward the homeward street… only to pass Endy — a brand new shop selling textiles imported from India.

All this was quite enough for one day of any mortal, and yet this was the day of the European referendum in Poland. My eyes filled with tears of joy as I watched pictures from my home town and heard the news that over 80% of my countrymen voted in favour of joining the EU, with attendance of almost 60%. Poland is finally coming back to Europe after over a century of banishment.

What a day this has been.