I have been back in the West for about 6 weeks now, after over 2 years away, I must say that it has been quite a refreshing acclimatization (despite a bit of culture shock). I have been distracted with reconnecting with old friends and family, and entering into new relationships with others. It’s been nice (surprisingly!) falling into new (read:old) routines, taking hot showers, and sleeping on these heavenly, bouncy, cloudlike things we call mattresses, but there is something so different from before.
At random times, sitting on a crowded subway, washing my dishes, listening to a friend’s dialogue during conversation, a fleeting image will cross my mind,
I will feel Him flutter through my heart. A warmth will spread from the center of my being out, and it grows.
It connects me to the stranger sitting across from me on the bus, the old tree down the street, the pigeon pecking at the rest of someone’s sandwich, and while this is happening, all I can feel is pure love, gratitude, empathy, oneness. Since I have come back, I have not opened our prayer books, I have seldomly meditated, I have been distracted with day to day living, but not a day goes by where I do not experience this feeling, at least once. This feeling that is so overwhelming, that makes the hairs on my arms stand on end, opens up every molecule of my being to give and receive warmth, love and light. This feeling that beings tears of auspicious joy, love, happiness, thankfulness. Maitri. This to me is proof that nothing done on my path is in vain. It reaffirms my devotion and connection to Guru, to Shangha, to the universe. It makes me feel safe, it reminds me “not to worry, Guru has it covered. Just keep on keeping on, you’re doin’ great”.
With this feeling of benevolent light and love, comes this feeling, these tears that come contain something that I can only describe as pure empathy, this wish to take the pain, the suffering from everything, to take every broken heart and mend it, to bring every tree back to a clear cut forest, to free every tortured animal. Behind this love, this light, my heart is broken, it’s hurting, because there is hurt, and brokenness in this world, and I want to take it. I have never been an incredibly empathetic person, I was self centered, I turned a blind eye to most of the suffering in the world. All I want to do now is take it.
“let me suffer for you”
– I whisper to to the world.
I made a promise to Guru my last day in Sindupalchouk, I promised that I would sit and do tapas, that I will help mend the scrapes and burns and broken parts of every soul and I know that one day I will. I don’t know why I feel like I need to. I’m not religious or pious or even want to give up on ‘indulgements’, but I know in my heart that one day, when Guru says that I’m ready, I will give up everything, devote my body, my soul, everything to Maitri. I know this just as I know that I have 5 fingers and 5 toes.
I want to let you all know how blessed and thankful I feel for being given this gift of Maitri, of Sangha, of Guru. That I somehow stumbled upon this, it and changed me, deep in my soul, I am forever grateful.
May you all be auspicious, overflowing with loving kindness. I love you all. I thank you all for the loving kindness you have shown me, and I only hope to be able to give back an infinite amount to you all.