Life is hard. We tumble through space and time, colliding with one another like cosmic bodies set adrift by some ancient explosion. I look through old photographs, and peruse the online profiles of people I used to know, and feel a deep sense of longing, and disconnection, but love still resides in my heart for long lost friends, and I wish I could take part in their lives now. Where, my friends, did we fall away from each other? I often wonder if our brief but passionate, and somewhat violent collisions in this life sent us hurling through space in opposite directions never to collide again, never to meet again. I hope that is not the case. You have impacted my life, helped to shape it, and helped to give it direction. May we all have the privilege of being forged in such a way, and I believe we are. And while friends come and go, while the loves of our lives are cast asunder by the circumstances of cause and effect, my hope is that we gain more than we lose, and learn more than regret. Even in those circumstances where our hearts once beat in unison with some other soul’s and became entwined may we look back happily and without regret, and see true purpose of such things. Our lives are not our own, but inextricably linked and bound to one another, no matter how brief or how passionate our contact with one another is. To all my friends past or present: Thank you for being a part of my life.
how they sway speaks to me personally of miracles.
Waves of green leafs in perfect motion evokes emotion,
and in the perfect moment I grasp atonement.
Still the lamenting relents, and I wonder if I’m implementing this Dharma Right;
is life a dance, a struggle, a fight? My mind is mildly wild,
but the sadness I feel at times is mightily mighty.
So why is it that I am filled with this sadness inside me? I have no reason,
gratitude is an insight I have not lost, but still I feel tossed in a turbulent sea of synaptic tsunamis,
and maelstroms sinking me to depths of crushing weight.
Expatriate me from this state.
Liberate me, myself.
Lend me a new slate…
Yesterday i learned a valuable lesson about craving and attachment. It was my birthday and I was expecting my father to send me my birthday present of $200.00 via Moneygram as he does every year. I woke at 9:30 AM to my phone ringing. I answered and it was a man from Studio Time and Space a Buddhist Meditation Center in Springfield VT where the night before I had attended a Dharma Talk on Right Intention and Right View given by Yogi Lama Gursam. Apparently when I sat down on my cushion to meditate i took my wallet out of my back pocket as I always do, but this time I forgot it. I live in Keene NH, a 45 minute drive to Springfield VT and I have no vehicle, or license. I told the man that I would be up to get my wallet at some point during the day. After we ended the call I realized I had voicemail; it was from my father. “Nobody had to remind me! Happy Birthday, you little shit!” he said. I found it endearing. He has always had a dry and rough sense of humor, but there was no mention of the money he said he was going to send me. You see for a couple of days I had my heart set on this used laptop I saw at the local consignment shop. I wanted it so badly that when the money did not come i became increasingly saddened throughout the day. My family took me to the local beach, but my mind was still attached. I brought along my Zafu and Zabuton thinking that I could meditate, and dissipate the sankhara I had formed through my craving and aversion. I could only meditate for 10 minutes or so before I abandoned it and laid on the grass and fell to sleep in the sun. When I awoke I was startled. I had no idea where I was. The expanse of the blue sky and the sun in my eyes was very disorienting,but even so my longing relented. My mind was so focused on what i wanted that I was blinded to how my emotions and energy was effecting my family. They wanted so badly to make my birthday special, and everything they tried was not enough. They started to become agitated and sad that they couldn’t help lighten my mood.
When we got home I laid down, and at about 8 pm my mother got a call from my father. He had just sent me the $200.00, but yet there was still one problem. In order to pick up a money transfer you need photo ID. Mine was 45 minutes away. In one last ditch effort to help me my girlfriend and mother decided to drive me to VT to pick my ID up. We drove the 45 minutes, and I got my wallet, but problems persisted and to get home we needed to pick up the money so that I could put some gas in the car. The closest place to pick up the money at 11 pm at night was a Walmart Supercenter in Claremont NH; 25 minutes from Springfield VT. We made the trip, and I picked up the money. After all day of sulking I had the money in my hand. I had what my mind craved.
We walked around the Walmart in search of something for me to buy. My mom approached me with an outfit she liked and asked if I would buy it for her. I immediately became aggravated. The outfit was $15.86, and I still needed to put $20.00 worth of gas in the Jeep. the laptop I had my heart set on was $199.99. Craving led to more craving and I was blinded to gratitude, generosity, and kindness. I bought the outfit because i felt obligated because of all she does for me.I am a 30 year old recovering addict who she let move back home after all I put her through in my addiction. I didn’t buy it out of kindness or generosity, or gratitude. I bought because i felt like I had to. My expenditures began to add up in my head, and the laptop got further and further away.
When we got back to the car I began to gripe. My mother began to cry. She had done so much to make sure I got want I wanted, and she felt powerless. That’s when it dawned on me. The lessons I took from the Buddha on suffering and the cause of suffering poured from the recesses of my mind and I realized that even when I get what I want I want more, and being stuck in this cycle blinds me from living in harmony and making those I love happy. I could have responded to the challenges of the evening with Right Effort, and made my family feel amazing, but through my craving I caused suffering.
I can’t get the laptop now, but that’s okay. I have my family. I have the opportunity to keep our internet and cable on. I don’t watch much TV, but my mother and Amanda really enjoy their programs. Writing this blog is a very cathartic hobby of mine, and internet service is a must for that. I have a little extra money to buy a book or two, or maybe a camera so that I can take pictures when i go on my hikes.
The lesson learned? To always be grateful for what i have, and never lose sight of my true purpose of living for others. My practice is still evolving, and I have a lot of work to do to leave attachments behind.
Craving and aversion create chaos and suffering, and blind us from this moment. We lose sight of our purpose, and the things we are working to do to grow spiritually.
“The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it”
-Thich Nhat Hanh