Wednesday, 18 March 2009

The spiritual path is a choice.....there is nothing chosen about it...

Today I interviewed a monk who followed the Kadampa Buddhist tradition. Kadampa was developed by Tibetan master called Geshe Kelsang Gyatso and introduced to the west in 1977 - since then he has gone on to establish over 1000 centres worldwide. I knew that I wouldn't get the Master himself for an interview but I thought I would get a senior monk. Instead what presented itself to me for interview was a rather portly unmistakeably English robed monk with the most beaming of smiles. Setting aside my first thought that a western monk can't possibly have eastern insights I started my interview by putting my dictaphone with the new tape and batteries confidently on the table.

As the interview progressed I was struck by just how human he is in terms of trying to cultivate what he calls a virtuous mind as the way to enlightenment. A mind full of love and compassion and when he says this he looks dreamily out of the window and I am present to just how much this inspires him. Then he talks about the all too human side and tells me that yesterday he got angry because he had been out and nobody had kept him any lunch. It's a simple example but it demonstrated to me so powerfully the continuous tension which drives human being. I was struck by the humour and humility of someone I had initially written off.

He spoke about how he became a monk and what struck me with this is that he had known for many years that he was being called but then asked for a sign. That sign came and he followed it. He had a choice and chose the life of a Buddhist monk. He is not long ordained and realises that he has a long way to go. His love for his teacher Kelsang Gyatso is evident as he speaks about the inspiration that he gets from him and how he feels when he is in his presence. From this I understand the power of complete surrender to a higher power. I have been so reluctant to surrender to a teacher in flesh and blood which is why my spiritual path has been lonelier. If I stopped resisting and gave myself up to life in a spiritual Ashram perhaps it wouldn't feel as tough but there is huge resistance on my part to do this.

I wound up the interview after an hour but there was no denying that the monk had moved me. Without any earth shattering energetic experiences he has embarked on this path with nothing more than faith and a burning desire to end the suffering for himself and others - to become enlightened in this lifetime. For this goal, he has given up everything.

I left the centre quite spaced out again. What is it about me in these environments that makes me so tired and kind of spaced out. I came home and my inner voice said 'go for a run' but my legs were sore from my run the day before so I didn't listen to it. Instead I had to take some money out from a cash point machine. Still thinking about the interview and the monk I put my card in the machine keyed in the amount, took my card and promptly walked off without taking the money. A couple of minutes inside the shop and I realised what I had done, I rushed out but of course the money wasn't sitting in the machine waiting for its rightful owner to come and claim it...some other person had conveniently taken it probably not believing their luck. Oh well, all I can hope is that whoever took it needed it more than me. I saw again that when I don't do what my inner voice is urging me to do there is an impact and a cost to me.

Earlier in the day I held my first Team game meeting to discuss an event to celebrate the end of the college course that will also double up as my team game in the world. It was nerve racking as getting a team together is something I have never done before. I was so grateful to everyone for showing up and we have decided on a lower key meal and drinks rather than a complicated difficult to organise gig. Before this meeting I had 2 hours of shorthand and I had the frustration of once again not being able to intuitively guess at outlines that I hadn't practiced before. It doesnt' bode well for the 2nd shorthand test tomorrow.

By the time I reached home after all of this I was so tired. I took out my shorthand book and notebook but suddenly got so tired that I could hardly keep my eyes open. I'm just going to finish this and go to bed. At this moment I couldn't give 2 damms about the shorthand or for that matter any other test tomorrow. Is this darkness completely the result of me not listening to my inner voice and going for a run or is there something else at play. I have the 2nd Vortex healing tomorrow night and to be honest I haven't felt myself since the last one. It's stirred me up physically and mentally. It is interesting that I have paid up for a 4 week course because I think, given the way I am feeling tonight that if it was a pay on the evening course I don't think I would go. I am feeling scared and confronted by something and I don't know what it is......

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