Yesterday I got talking to a guy on my post round about the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and the resulting devastation.
'What's your favourite book?' he asked, out of the blue.
'Gosh,' I said, 'I don't know.'
I thought for a while longer.
'What about Awareness by Anthony De Mello?' I said. 'Oh, and A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle's nice too.'
He handed me back the mail I'd just given to him and told me to write down the books so he could go and order them.
He said he was from Jamaica and didn't have a very good education.
'I've got a thirst for knowledge,' he said.
We got talking about 2012 and he said he thought it was more of a myth.
'What I am worried about is 2013,' he said, looking concerned. 'This solar flare they're expecting.'
He ran upstairs and brought down a book a work colleague had lent him. It was called The God Dellusion.
'I haven't had time to read it,' he said. 'The guy's an atheist. I'd find it hard to read. Tell me, do you think man created God?'
'No,' I said.
He looked at me, intrigued.
'The way I see it,' I said, 'man created the concept of God. We work with concepts. Our mind is addicted to them. We think that by giving something a name we know what it is. We don't. All we've done is stuck a label on something which is unknowable so the conceptual mind can think it is knowable. That tree is unknowable yet we think it is knowable because we've stuck a label on it i.e T-r-e-e. If you look at the tree and see a tree, you're not really looking at the tree. What you're looking at is a concept. When you look at the tree and see a mystery and a miracle then you're getting somewhere.'
'Why the hell are you a postie?' he said.