The Path To Bodhichitta

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

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Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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?"


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