Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Shared blood spills easiest

Most of the trips I've taken in Asia were based around some sort of spiritual retreat or training. On the other hand, trips to UK, Europe or the States have been "couch tours," moving from one friend to another in search of unadulterated fun.

Imagine my surprise at this past journey having changed me more than any other before. I didn't spent most of my time in uncomfortable postures. I wasn't lacking food or sleep or a comfortable shelter. I wasn't expected to refrain from anything. No, this time, I spent the majority of my time with family. I suppose the reason for my reaction is because family can be the source of love and joy. But in their blasting through our pretenses, reminding us of how well they truly know us, they can also cause a lot of pain in making us aware of how convincingly we can lie to ourselves. It is in this vunerable state that most of the spiritual work is done. (Hardly an original idea of course. Hats off to Mr. Tolstoy.) It's when we are completely raw, when things are reduced to the point where a person is staring directly into their own heart, that we are most human, using our unique mixture of instinct and reason to make sense of the mess. This makes us much more open to new ideas. Here we grow.

When we haven't seen family of friends in awhile, they serve as a barometer for how much we've changed. Their reaction to this change can further serve as a major paradigm shift. But at the time it feels like being in a car skidding on ice.

I'm a different person than the man I was in June. My world is not the same. But I walk it with open eyes and fresh shoes.

On the turntable: "James Brown's Funky People"
On the nighttable: Daniel Mason, "The Piano Tuner"

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