The Path To Bodhichitta

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

My Photo
Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Not So Soon, Little Missy!

The funny thing about the universe is that it never lets you escape the lessons you need to learn. No matter how far off the beaten track you wander, it will always gently pull you back on the path and make you scale that damn wall that you have tried so hard to walk around. And until you do, your entire journey will be fraught with wild brambles, raging rivers and deep chasms that never showed up on your map.

I learnt this the hard way. The very hard way.

Eight months ago, my life disintergrated and I was given an opportunity to rearrange the pieces in a different way. To do that, though, I had to take time for inner reflection. Retreat into that quiet place within. But being in that quiet place would also mean hearing my thoughts a little too loudly. That scared me so I decided to pave a path around that wall instead. It worked for a while. Two months later, the wall popped up again with all my demons perched on it, swinging their legs and waving merrily.

Once again the universe invited me to travel within. It's not too late, it said. This time I had every intention of doing so, but after a few weeks, the road evened out again and I conveniently forgot what I wanted - needed - to do.

Four months later, there was that wall again. I hit it hard. And I finally got it - I would be hitting that wall over and over again until I did what I needed to do. There was no escape route on this path. And the demons get bigger each time.

So if you find that, despite your best efforts at moving forward you're still yanked back to the starting line, find that pebble in your shoe. What is it that you don't want to face? That's your key to freedom. For as long as you don't learn that lesson, you will never blossom and you will find yourself always moving in circles.

It's never too late.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Today My Yoda's Name Was Ike

We were alone in a meeting room that was too big for two and too small for the furious outpourng of story ideas that we feverishly scribbled on the walls. After half an hour, one particular plot stumped us and we paused. With no warning and no apparent reason, Ike looked at me and said, "You know I used to be a terrible drinker when I was younger."

Words failed me. Such skeletons just don't belong in cupboards of people like Ike. The most matured - in years and experience - among us writers, Ike is one of the most grounded, peaceful people I've met. He grinned at my expression.

"I was a heavy drinker for six years when I left home. The minute I set foot on American soil, I forgot my roots. I lived life in the fast lane and went wild on booze. I was either drunk or hungover. Then something happened and I knew it was time to change my life. Within 24-hours, I quit drinking for good and I haven't touched a drop of alcohol since. My friends placed bets on me and I won every single dollar."

My heart was pounding so hard, I actually pressed my hand against it for fear it would leap right out. How could he possibly know?

"You know, a friend of mine had it worse. He was drunk driving and killed three people."

Ike's face became a blur behind the tears that I tried desperately to stop. Ike, bless his heart, continued talking like there wasn't a basketcase sitting in front of him. He told me the rest of his story and it was an amazing one. Then, without missing a beat, he said, "You were crying just now, my dear. Why?"

I told him. He smiled one of the kindest smiles I've seen this week and said the words I never want to forget;

"Don't stop having fun, but never take your finger off your control button. Alcohol was an escapism for me until I really dealt with what I was running away from. It's never too late, my dear. And always remember that the answer is not at the bottom of the glass."

It would have been a poignant moment had Dungeon Master not chosen to walk in right then and declare, "Who wants McDonald's?"

Monday, May 04, 2009

The Weekend

Not everything can be measured and shaped into words. Not everything should. Some things are meant to be absorbed by the heart, mind and soul, so a garden of happiness can grow within.

Some things are beyond words. Those are the usually the best things. Because if you can put those things into words, it also means that you can put magic into words and we all know that once magic is understood, it is no longer magic.

There are things that defy fear.

There are things like the past weekend.


The Healer is trapped in an unexpected vortex of domestic duties, and when we spoke earlier today, she was spinning out of control.

"This is the most difficult thing I've ever done before," she confessed in an exhausted whisper. "How do I cook, clean and take care of twins all at the same time?"

This was the third phone call since Project Runaway and despite the deep breaths I kept tellng her to take, she was still hyperventilating.

"This doesn't affect P at all!" she marvelled. "He carries on his usual routine and just fits this huge change right in. I feel I have to put everything else on hold while I figure this out!"

And then, I had one of those moments where I had no idea what I was saying but the words somehow came out right. I spoke to her in a language she understood.

"So you've got a vinyasa sequence that you could do in your sleep. Now suddenly you have to introduce a new pose into it. It's a difficult pose that you have never done before, and you have no idea where or how to fit it in - or even if it will fit. You don't neglect the entire practice just to figure out that one pose. You look at it and place it where you think it would fit best in the sequence. Then you try it out. If it doesn't work, then you move it to another spot. And you keep moving it until it finally clicks into place. Once that happens you won't know where the sequence begins and ends because everything flows seamlessly into and out of each other."

There was a long silence before she said, "Thank you."

I don't know if she has resumed her hyperventilation but for that moment, she was ok. And that was good enough for both of us.

My moments of spouting stuff like this are few and far between so I figured I had better write this down so I can come back to it if I ever go through my own vortex of change. And of course, hopefully it does others some good too! :)