Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Only Constant is Change

I am not a Buddhist. I only know the most basic teachings of Buddhist philosophy. I live in a community which is predominantly Tibetan Buddhist, here in north India, headed, as per the previous post, by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Sometimes I see Buddhist philosophy working in miraculous ways, here. More often than not, I am surprised by all the ways even the monks/nuns seem NOT to adhere to Buddhist teachings and yet...overall, probably the only reason this community hasn't crumbled is because of Buddhism.

I don't know. I feel like musing, this afternoon.
The more I learn, the less I know.
All the complexities of human interaction are present, even when dealing with monks. Probably even more so because our vastly different cultures make MEANINGS unclear even when words and actions seem to indicate one thing...One thing, my acquaintance Caroline says, viewed by my American glasses.

She described it this way: 
Imagine 3 people seated around a table. One is American. Let's say the American wears blue glasses.
One is Swedish, the Swede is wearing red glasses. One is Tibetan. The Tibetan wears green glasses.
On the table is an apple. Each of the people is asked what they see on the table.
The American sees a blue apple, the Swede sees a red apple, the Tibetan sees a green apple.
It is only the same in its most basic form.
Now imagine applying this analogy to EMOTIONS and abstract concepts which do not even exist in one another's cultures!

You see my dilemma. OUR dilemma.
Girls are much more intimate with other girl friends, both emotionally and physically. The same with boys. Men walk around openly holding hands, rubbing each other's arms or legs, sitting side by side with arms around each other's shoulders. To the western eye it often looks like their is a lot of homosexual behavior...and yet, it is the exact opposite. They (mostly) shun homosexuality, but there are very few opposite sex friendly interactions.
Which makes having any kind of romantic (as a westerner would perceive romance) relationship with a member of the opposite sex equally complicated. 
Do not get me wrong. I am very fortunate to have a GOOD man as my partner. I care about him deeply and I know he cares about me.
The interior FEELINGS are the same. They are just perceived, interpreted and expressed in vastly different ways.
Even explaining the idea of interacting with your love partner as an intellectual and emotional equal (or even as an intellectual or emotional ENTITY) is proving extremely difficult. 
It seems like the only people who understand "romance" are Buddhist monks and nuns! They are just so fun to be around, so free, so expressive, across the board with all fellow humans.
And, of course, as monks, they can only "romance" by innocent "play" flirting. 
Maybe the burden is meant to be on me, for a learning to let go of my preconceived notions of what a romantic relationship "should" be.
Is it possible that I've had the wrong idea about what "love" SHOULD mean all along?
And if so, how do I change and put the focus elsewhere?

There are days when I would love for a sudden bolt of lightning to make all of us understand one another. There are days when I feel there are glimmers of hope, when a teeny shift in the fabric of the universe makes it look like a break-through is about to happen.
There are days of utter confusion and frustration, too...when I wonder if true understanding is possible.

It's like beating on a door louder and louder, non-stop, not even knowing if there is anyone home, but having to be determined to continue even if no one ever answers!
Success can never happen without repeated attempts, and there are never any guarantees!

Every day, something changes. Sometimes it feels like progress, even if tiny progress. Sometimes it seems like we are sliding in the wrong direction.
As so often happens with me, the struggle is beginning to define my life.

The past week has delivered so many changes (hence the title of this post). 
My daily schedule changed first because my usual internet cafe closed for construction. Blissfully that resulted in me having a new favorite hangout. 
Then I changed my pattern of where I was going and who with because of communication issues, plus several of my "long" term acquaintances (fellow foreign volunteers working in McleodGanj) left town.
Now I am on the verge of taking on a new teaching project...a group of 4-5 close associates who want to practice English conversation. 

I should also focus on feeding my creative passions, as well. I need to do more daily photography uploads and work on my paintings.

Life is good. Don't get me wrong. 
I am blessed in so many ways, right now. The people I am surrounded by are touching my life in ways I never imagined possible. I love them ALL more than you'd think possible for someone you've only known a few weeks. I do not love all of them in EXACTLY the same ways...but I love them all with the same level of intensity, if that makes any kind of sense.
These are ultimately GOOD (kind, compassionate,open, friendly,funny,intelligent) HUMAN beings.

We are all doing the best we can. 

THAT is sacred. This is truly a sacred experience for me, although I cannot exactly say it is a "sojourn".

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