The Storyteller Understands

That this moment is more fantastic than any story.


The Book of Changes

A couple days ago, I got an email from one of the members of the Vihara Community of which I became a share holder this last year. He was informing us of his decision to withdraw from the enterprise. His reason being our shortage of shareholders as we neared the point where we would finalise our purchase of the magnificent property and infrastructure that was our first goal as a group. As things stood, we would need loans from some of the members in order to finance this first step. That would leave us in a position lacking reserves in money and energy to launch the community. What would be minor difficulties in other circumstances could develop easily into major difficulties with all of the attendant stress added. We had been hoping to recruit additional shareholders in the next few months but our efforts to date had met with limited success. So, the decision by this share holder, soon followed by a second, led to the rest of us realising that this particular venture was coming to an end.

I had been excited by the possible manifestation of the vision set forth in the Vihara Manifesto. It fit me very well. Though I made plans and took actions in that direction, I was aware of the possibility of the above occurring. Life is bigger than me and I have to move with what is.

Did I feel disappointment? Yes, I did. After all, he was sitting there on the floor next to my right leg; his squat rounded cubical body with the huge mouth and woeful eyes squirming in anticipation of my giving him the energy to turn into a screaming monster. I gave him a glance and turned away. I had better things to do. (Don’t know where he is now. When I ignore him, he just pisses off.)

The first cab off the rank for my attention was the feeling of immense gratefulness for the friends who have accompanied me on this part of the journey. It’s been a joy to get to know new friends and better know previous acquaintances. After that, I turned to reflect on the recent journey. What steps had we taken that helped the cause and what could we have done differently to our advantage? I let the options surface and absorbed the insights for future opportunities.

Life can take sudden turns. That’s just the wonder of it. Now, life is overwhelming me with possibilities. I am so fortunate: I’ve got a comfy bed to sleep in. A lovely house to live in located in a sub tropical paradise. Good food available. I’m healthy. There’s my Tai Chi and Bagua. My flute is always at hand to stretch the heavens. To top it all off, I have somehow learned the art of letting go into a meditative state. What more could one ask?

So, dear friends, I wonder what experience is awaiting me on the next page of this book.

Morning Salutation

Hi Friends,

Each morning here finds me at some point out in front of the trailer doing my morning workout. I used to do this in the small street that passes by. Residential streets in Japan really are small. In order for two small cars to pass, one has to pull over and come to a complete stop. My little street is used by some people as a short cut and therefore receives more traffic than would be normally generated by the neighbourhood.

The result of the above was that my tai chi and bagua forms would be interrupted at various times by an approaching car. I would notice the impending occurrence and maintaining my state as best I could step to the side of the street. Then, as the cars would pass, I would make a small bow to the drivers. Some would be surprised the first time this happened, however, almost all would bow back. If it was a repeat performance, their bow would be a genuine greeting. This would also occur with people out for a stroll with their dogs or kids going to school.

There is a lot of bowing in Japan. In the supermarket, the cashier will make a formal bow after giving you your change. There is the temptation by foreigners to write off such bows as just form and no substance. What I have found in such situations is that when I return the bow with sincerity, then, the substance of the bow is in existence and we both feel it. A bow can be a very beautiful gesture.

There is a child and mother who wait at the t-junction just close by each weekday morning for a brightly coloured kindergarten school bus. The bus has a woman driving and another woman who attends to the children. The attendant gets off the bus and approaching the mother and child, greets them and escorts the child back onto the bus. As they drive by me the driver gives a little bow and the attendant waves while encouraging the children to wave as well. What a big smile stretches my face as I wave back.

A few weeks ago, I cleared a section of the area that my trailer shares. It’s is full of large gravel set down to hold car parking. I began to practice my forms without the interruptions. It is such a pleasure to be able to move smoothly through my forms. Yet, I do miss the morning ritual of making way. I still get to wave to the kindergarten crew and say hello to the occasional person and dog who pass by. As a part of my exercise, I take a walk up the nearby street past houses where I encounter other walkers and sometimes someone out in his or her garden. I have even had short conversations at times. (Very short due to my limited vocabulary.)

Then, there have been a few mornings when I am walking along and see a person approaching slowly. The person’s head is down, there is a slight hunch of the shoulders and almost a shuffle in the walk. When I get close, I say my ‘good morning’ and suddenly a face pops up surprised and a shining smile appears immediately followed by an enthusiastic ‘good morning’. Yeh, what a good morning.

Ohayo Gozaimusu, Kundan

The Zero Waste Home

Hello Friends,
I have been reading this blog for a little while and find it refreshing and informative. It’s an informal journal of one family’s journey to produce as little waste as possible. In telling her story, the author shows the readers possibilities to consider.

The current entry is a letter from one of her readers. A new phase of the blog.

The Vihara Adventure

I have just been confirmed as member number ten of a group that is organising to purchase what is now being used as a Tibetan Buddhist retreat centre in Kyogle, NSW, Australia. We intend to finalise purchase in May of 2012. This is a very exciting new adventure. I’ve been searching for years for such a community to join and when I read the proposal, I knew immediately that this was for me. I’ll post more info as it progresses.