“I have one year left in school and most of the classes left are electives. Gina, what elective do you think I should take to be more useful to Nachan?”
Gina rippled the water of the river with her fingers, her golden hair flowing in the wind. We just walked through high shrubbery on the bank of the woods near the river. Without a machete, we threaded our way through tall grass and overgrown ferns, using only our bare hands and tattooed bodies. We were wearing our bathing suits with elastic straps, linen pants, and hiking boots. Gina is my Buddhist teacher, and she often asks me to elaborate what I actually mean when I communicate. But other times she just says exactly what I need to hear.
“Take whatever subject you love.”
Her response brought a smile to my face, as she dived into the river and floated downstream. She popped back up, elated, laughing while meeting resistance from the water-flow pressure. In that moment I realized you can be adaptable without compromising your own integrity. She reminded my that pursuing passion will help me find purpose. I couldn’t help but wonder what it was like to have as much lived experience and wisdom that she held in front of me.
I often imagine us as characters in a post apocalyptic world, fending for our own. Finding helpful, kind, and compassionate humans on the way. Living on an arch, flying planes, driving motorcycles. Being highly skilled in hand-to-hand combatant and martial arts. Having above-average agility, endurance, stamina, and reflexes. And of course, being expert markswomen and swordswomen.
Buddhism will do that to you. The deeper you get into your meditation, the more extensive your imagination and visualization becomes. And your sense of reality shifts. Suffering is so persistent. My heart breaks open with purposeful wisdom every time I work on helping her with.
In the Western world most of us are emmeshed in a spectrum of privilege. We all have some type of privilege. It is up to us to identify the root of our privilege and also utilize it to be of benefit to others. I want you to imagine for a moment that you do not know how to read or write. I want you to imagine not being able to communicate in English. The gift of words and ability to understand each other is an immense blessing.
Communication is a gift and the heart of connection.