His mind was full of ?destructive thoughts? (his phrase) so he went to a mindfulness introduction course and spent five hours thinking about this. ?Give me fifteen minutes every day,? the instructor said, so he did. Fifteen minutes a day, sitting in a chair, scanning his body to shut out his destructive thoughts (?no it?s not about shutting them out, it?s about observing them in order to let them go,? his instructor said, but he struggled with the difference).
On the first day, as he scanned down his body as he?d been told to do, he noticed an odd tight feeling in a place he?d never really thought about before, above and to the right of his groin, below his stomach. Perhaps sitting in or on his pelvis somewhere. He noticed it and paid attention to it. It felt like he?d swallowed something in an odd way, sitting there below his stomach. It felt about the same size as fifteen minutes, roughly the same size as a poem by Andrew Marvell.
On the second day, the odd sensation had changed. Now, it felt about the size of half-an-hour, perhaps three or four of Shakespeare?s sonnets. It didn?t have any shape or size or visible signature at all, but it was as solid as a banana under his skin, as present as metal.
He continued with his meditating. Each day he scanned down his body, and each day he came across this growing element there within him. It grew by the same amount each day, about fifteen minutes, twisting and turning as it went, and it different times it was ?The Rime of the Ancient Mariner? and ?In Memoriam? and Macbeth and Frankenstein and Paradise Lost and The Quiet American and then one day it was more than two thousand minutes long and for a while he couldn?t identify it and then he realised it was Ulysses sitting there on his pelvis, as solid as a banana, as present as metal.
After becoming Ulysses, the feeling split into two, as if there were two bananas down there, though there was still no outward sign of what was happening to him. Ulysses was joined by a Wilfred Owen poem, an Aesop fable, a Euripides play, The Iliad.
And on it went, the shape splitting and reforming, until there was a shelf, a bookcase, a wall and then a library sitting down there, above his pelvis, as solid as a banana under his skin, as present as metal. He walked around with a canon below his navel.
But his thoughts were as quiet and still as a millpond on a summer?s night.