I have struggled this week to unearth a Jewel and I feel my universal inspirer’s are sitting with their arms folded and their mouths shut leaving me to it. I feel it’s their way of saying keep it simple.
If indeed that is their message then that ties in very nicely to the weekend I have just had. In Melbourne for a weekend retreat with the Kadampa Buddhist monk Gen Keslang Dornying, I can honestly say that simplicity speaks volumes. In the presence of this humble soul I have never felt so at peace. I hardly uttered one word the entire weekend and found the silence and gentleness that enveloped me to be therapeutic beyond words.
Gen Keslang Dornying is a young man with worldly experience, originally from London and previously a banker. The peace that emanated from him was incredible, all without saying a word. When he did speak he delivered simple Buddhist teachings with real life examples and light heartedness. Nothing was rushed. He wasn’t playing to the crowd, there was no buy here now or sign up or else tactics. I felt as is the whole world had stopped and the only reality was there in the temple in the words being spoken to me.
The topic of the weekend teaching was fearless love and compassion. Gen Keslang Dornying spoke of how releasing attachment will release suffering. He spoke of looking at everyone with kindness and love because we never really know what is going on in their life. As I sat behind a few Buddhist nuns I thought about how ‘brave’ they were to have shaved off their hair. As soon as I thought it I realised there was nothing brave about it. They required no courage; instead it was pure evidence of their complete freedom from attachment. Freedom from vanity, freedom from worrying about what others thought of them, freedom from wasting precious life time washing, drying, cutting, colouring, styling and everything else that we feel are important pieces of ourselves to validate who we are...all the while others suffer and need our help. I have never felt so humble.
It made me think on the way home just how self absorbed we are, myself included, that we can spend so much time and money searching for happiness from external things that keep changing, breaking and needing to be replaced. We are pulled into a never ending cycle of suffering and as Gen Keslang Dornying says, we are, “delusional”. We need to show love to each other by our actions, we need to aim to end suffering of all living beings and we need to contribute to universal compassion which can only be achieved from the heart. How can we do that if we are distracted by thoughts and actions about earning more money, being better than others to earn even more money just to buy things that will never make us truly happy for any length of time! That surely is not the reason for our existence and it was that realisation that brought the beautiful peaceful being in front of me from the banking world to the Buddhist faith.
As I boarded my flight to Melbourne on Saturday morning in search of enlightenment a beautiful friend was also boarding a flight to India in search of enlightenment and his authentic self. He has taken the selfless step of also leaving behind the banking world and is travelling to help those less fortunate. Temporary may become permanent, who knows, but I know he will put his heart and soul into his time there and I know he will touch the hearts of those who come into contact with him. He will be living simply without worldly goods and will be free from the vast majority of attachment that normally surrounds him. I cannot see how he will return from this trip untouched or unchanged by the simplicity of life he will experience. For only in simplicity can we find the spectacular life we are here to live. I wish him and each of you reading, a truly spectacular life.
Think you can be anything less than spectacular? The video attached was taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. Watch it to see how you are part of universal perfection, then ask yourself where the latest lipstick or model of car belongs in all of this wonder.