Sunday, June 05, 2005

The Easy Road part one

A few years ago a friend from high school contacted me after 20+ years.

His life had gone the way of many independent people in the late 70's. He was and is very gifted and intelligent. He had a terrific home life with a loving family and many talents. He left high school and fell into experimenting with drugs, alcohol, sex, and yes, rock and roll! He never married, realizing too late he loved himself more than anyone else and had allowed the girl of his dreams to slip away and marry someone else. He had traveled the world, climbed mountains, taught voice and guitar, been in a successful rock band, researched tortoises in the U.S. deserts for 5 years and lived in a Tibetan monastery as a monk for 7 years. He considers himself a Buddhist and is skilled in meditation and Hindu transcendentalism. He is an author and poet and is currently living back at the monastery which brings him so much comfort.

Throughout our conversations I began to see that instead of finding himself, he had found temporary comforts in the solitude that comes from removing one's self from the world. He had been "back in the world" for about four years when he contacted me. It was about a year before the 9-11 attacks in the U.S. 9-11 caused a great confusion in his philosophy and way of thinking. All of the sudden he was no longer able to "let it be". He was upset and angry and wanted retaliation and justice. This was contrary to his belief system and thus began an open wedge in his "solid" base.

Two months after 9-11, his father died unexpectedly and tore my friend's world in two. The base of his foundation was beginning to crumble. His letters paused for a while and then one very deep, thought provoking essay came through. He was confused and hurting and wanting so desperately to find something "real". He moved across country to console his mother and get away from whatever was haunting him. After a few months he moved out and down into CA near his brother, who after years of abusing his body was dying of liver disease.

Needless to say, 9-11, his father's death and now his brother's death were too much for him to take and he again moved back to the monastery for some down time and reflection.

Before he left he remarked how nice it was that Thor and I decided to "take the easy road and do what was expected. To not venture out into the world but stay home and let life pass us by." With his life experiences I can understand why he would interpret what Thor and I chose as predictable and expected, but easy? No.

Each of us had the view that the other did what was expected from them at the time. I grew up in a little hippy atmosphere where everyone was "expected" to try drugs, search for life "out there" and rebel against the status quo. I actually felt I had done the unexpected and stuck to the routine. Get married, have some kids, make a life, follow the rules.

Nothing about either life was easy for sure. However the end results were what made the difference in the decisions. His life was indeed difficult. His life has so many unanswered questions and he feels that "the only way off the wheel" is by letting go of it and allowing things to just "be". He has been convinced that he has no control and that he should not control his destiny. Thus is the trap of his philosophy. It is easy to allow others to do what they will; but when you also need to allow "whatever" to happen to you without regard to your own will, you have no responsibility and no consequence -thus no chance of reward. This life-style will keep him "on the wheel" for eternity. Taking himself away from the world restricts his experiences and his learning. How does one learn to overcome if one is always hiding from reality or running away from it when it hurts? This is the time to learn, to experience, to grow. It is easy for him to be "obedient" and "nice" when he is constantly surrounded by others who are adopting this same principle. No words, no conflicts, solitary isolation away from real life and real challenges. It is difficult to be nice when you are tired, when someone has yelled at you, when you are behind with the bills. That is the test. The real test. And it's hard.

add to sk*rt

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