The Path To Bodhichitta

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

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Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Staying Alive

I'm living through the tail-end of the most painful 9 weeks of my life. I've felt every single scratch, slash and slice on the skin of my heart and mind. It was agonising. It was terrifying. It dangled me over the cliff of despair. And it kept me alive.

For the past nine weeks, I have allowed myself to be immersed in my thoughts and emotions as deeply as I can. I have permitted my mind to ask my heart for explanations and vice versa. I have taken many pills of courage to look closer at the person within me and though different views offered fear, shame and comfort, I remain grateful for the experience to be completely present with my inner self.

I made a mistake that almost knocked two worlds off their respective axis. It was a mistake I thought I would never make, one that has taught me so much more about myself. My confusion and fear were overwhelming at times, but by forcing myself to stay in the moment, I was unwittingly practicing one of the yogic yamas - svadhyaya or study of the self. The yama that helps us separate illusion from our true selves, from those around us and from the world around us.

One of my favourite yoga teachers, Cyndi Lee, noted that 'even when our arms quiver and our hips whine, as long as we can stay awake and inquisitive to the process, we can learn to experience happiness.'

Nirvana is still elusive, but today, I am happy. Nine weeks ago, this emotion turned from best friend into complete stranger. One month ago, it began taking hesitating steps towards me. Last week, it reached out its hand for mine. And although our fingertips are only grazing right now, it is enough for me.

"When you look for happiness, look for pain, and when you find the pain, and you begin to see it lessening, you'll find happiness."
- Gehlek Rimpoche


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