The Path To Bodhichitta

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

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Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Fickle Desires

At this point of writing, I am sitting in the living room of a one-bedroom villa in Amara Sanctuary Resort. Through the large sliding windows, the jacuzzi in the private plunge pool is bubbling busily and the light from my bedroom on the other side is casting cool golden light into its ripples. There is a lanai at the end of the pool, where I will read and fall asleep tonight, covered only by the inky sky and scattered stars. And when I awake, I will hop, skip and jump over to the outdoor shower or perhaps treat myself to a quick soak in the outdoor bathtub.

I wish I could say that I am on holiday, but it's work and my luxury is being billed to one of my favourite clients.

When I arrived yesterday, I was tired and grumpy. The front desk officer handed me my key and smiled, "You're in Villa 2, ma'am."

Villa 2? Must be a fancy name for their hotel room, I thought. Then, the bell boy drove up in a buggy and we trundled off to my lodgings. He swung open the door and mumbled, "There must be a mistake". For a good hour, I walked about in a daze, unable to believe my hedonistic surroundings and actually feeling guilty about it.

Then I discovered the squashed cigarette butt in the little garden, the tiny specks of dirt in the tub, the confusing light switches, the uncoorperative air-conditionining and a slightly stained coffee cup. And slowly, my discomfort turned into dissatisfaction. Didn't housekeeping know how to clean? Didn't the electrician think before fixing the switches? Why weren't there instructions for the air-conditioning?

I caught myself as I was mentally drafting my feedback for the evaluation form, and I laughed, half-amused and half-ashamed at my audacity. Just a few minutes ago, I was uneasy with the luxury. How quickly my ego adapted, so much so that it felt that it was its duty to seek out and complain about trivialities.

Our expectations and desires just keep stretching. And if we don't pull the reins every now and then, we will one day wake up to find that even infinity is claustrophobic.


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