The Path To Bodhichitta

You start where you are, the practice will meet you there.

My Photo
Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Friday, November 17, 2006

A Tribute To Whisky

My soul is full of whispered song;
My blindness is my sight;
The shadows that I feared so long
Are all alive with light.
- Alice Cary

This morning, my heart broke before the day could.

A four-legged friend bowed out of life in a stunningly graceful manner and is, as I write this, now galloping joyfully in Paradise. And my heart is still broken.

Since embracing yoga and its philosophies, I have been practicing the concept of viveka or detachment. I’ve been teaching myself to view everything as temporary and only the soul as permanent. So when the Angel of Death swoops down on someone in my world, I will be able to accept it with serenity, knowing that death is only of the physical body and that a person’s essence resides in the soul, which can never die. Like many others, I 'prepared' myself for that unseen hour. But like many others, I also placed this unseen hour in the obscure, distant future. This time, that hour came at 6.20am. When Whisky obeyed his mistress’ pleas not to leave during the night, waited for her to awaken and whisper words of love in his ear, and only then peacefully surrendered to his cardiac arrest.

Despite all my months of 'preparation', my grief consumed me.

The irony is that Whisky wasn’t even my dog. He belonged to my best friend. For an entire decade, they poured unconditional love upon each other and assured each other that each was the best thing since nasi lemak and teh tarik. They understood each other in a way that only soulmates can. Their bond was magical. It wasn’t woven over walks, treats and car rides but when his fur was soaked with her tears, when they stargazed in the stillness of a perfect night and when they comforted each other through their fears.

Whisky was a majestic dog. When he draped his magnificent body over the garden wall, he was the undisputed king of the road. No other dog dared stroll past. No kids dared taunt him. No shady characters dared slouch on that street. The neighbours adored him for his excellent Rukun Tetangga (Neighbourhood Watch) skills and his sheer beauty. But Whisky was more than a dog. He was a character, an icon.

Within a few hours after his death, phone calls and messages expressing shock and grief began pouring in. My best friend was startled at first but then realized that Whisky was loved by all whose lives he graced with his presence. Through the stories with which she regaled us, through our personal encounters with him, through gorgeous snapshots and above all, through his indomitable spirit that shone to the very end.

Whisky wasn’t Mr. Congeniality to those outside his tight circle. Everyone he met was guilty until proven innocent and to be granted his friendship was an honour. I was one of the lucky ones and I treasure the moment when I realised I had received his acceptance.

His death tore at my heart in ways I would have never imagined. I felt like a friend had died. A loyal, genuine, courageous, intelligent, charismatic and compassionate friend. Everyone who knew and knew of Whisky felt the same. But as we reminisced, we laughed through the sadness and remembered Whisky the way he would have wanted to be remembered - as a soul who lived and loved purely and completely. The fact that a dog could move people so deeply touched me.

Ancient Egyptians believed that upon death they would be asked two questions and their answers would determine whether they could continue their journey in the afterlife. The first question was, "Did you bring joy?" The second was, "Did you find joy?"

Whisky could answer both with a barking YES!

Death is nothing else but going home to God,
the bond of love will be unbroken for all eternity.
- Mother Teresa

Sunday, November 05, 2006

A Celebration

There was a dinner last night. A thanksgiving dinner. A celebration dinner. A dinner in honour of six special people who have guided me to this point in my life and given me the courage to take that leap of faith. People who are more than just friends. They are gemstones. As they sat around the table, cosy and intimate, I observed each one and remembered why they have become pillars in my life.

The hours slipped by, the candles burned low, the wax pooled on the table, people reached out for second helpings and those who had stuck to punch switched to wine. Backs were leaned back, legs stretched out or curled underneath, hands moving in graceful puncutation marks.

I watched these people, my precious friends. Each who had crossed a trecherous chasm in their lives, survived heart-shattering episodes and emerged stronger, wiser and even more beautiful. None of whom have PhDs, but who understand life better than those who do. Whose wisdom didn't come with age but with experience. Whose beauty comes not only from the face but from the soul. Who live their lives from their hearts and souls rather than by textbook rules. There are two kinds of people in this world. The first who could walk through life for 100 years with blinkers on and will leave the world with only 5 years of wisdom. And the second who could walk through life for 5 years with their minds, hearts, ears and eyes wide open, and will leave the world with 100 years worth of wisdom. My friends are of the second kind.

My heart swelled as I looked at each of their beautiful faces. For I knew that they didn't just see me for who I am, but who I could become.