I know it's been a while since I wrote, but life interferes. School is about to start and the whole but-I-have-a-CAREER thing has days of exhausting intensity. Of course I'm preaching to the choir, aren't I?
I do have more to tell you about my trip (Further Adventures of a Broad Abroad), but then I remembered the tattooed Buddhist.
I met a man recently whom I shall call John. That's actually his name, so it works. He's very, very tall and extremely thin. He has a shaved head, a very long beard and lots of painful looking metal bits piercing his ears. He also has a body suit (not a leotard like the fashion of the 1970s...ah, the '70s!), but rather tattoos from his wrists to his ankles. I can only assume it's a full body suit since he was wearing clothing, but I took him at his word. Needless to say, he's a pretty intense (read: scary) looking guy. Although from Ohio (or Iowa or some other vowel-laden state) he's been living in various locations in Asia. He lived for many years in Indonesia and Viet Nam, but currently resides in India - since Asia is an "emerging market" we need lots of people to live over there to get it emerged.
So here's a fully tattooed, fiercely pierced dude sitting in my cubicle - I am paid to support our "field staff" and he's as far a-field as I've experienced. We do our work thing and one thing leads to another and the conversation twists and turns (you may recall my uncanny ability to divert a conversation to odd territories) and I discover that in addition to knowing more about motorcycles than just about anyone, he's also on a spiritual quest. Which, it turns out, has a lot to do with his living in Asia (Mohammed and the mountain and all that. Oh. Wait.).
Anyhooooooo, since I find spiritual quests fascinating (I personally haven't made the time in my busy knitting and cocktail schedule for my own quest, but I do find them interesting nonetheless) I proceed to (gently!) pepper him with questions. We find common topics to discuss (did I mention that my first husband was practically a shaman? No? Shame, as it's an interesting story. He's dull as dishwater, but the story has moments of interest). John, it turns out, is a man in pain. His wife left him several years ago and basically kidnapped their daughter. He misses his little girl so much and has been working very hard to find her (in Asia! where there a bajillion people! Poor dude!). In the meantime he's been meditating and hanging out with the Dalai Lama (as you do). Since I had done a paper on the Dalai Lama for school, I felt a complete kinship with John. I mean, golly, I read the Dalai Lama's book so I practically know him too! Free Tibet!
John gave me some suggested reading material (The Sacred Path of the Warrior, which I've started but must read slowly as it may just cause my soul to explode). So when he asked the question, "Why is this happening to me?" in reference to his missing daughter I attempted to offer him some comfort by responding, "It's a question that contains its own reply." Pretty profound, huh? Sure is. The kicker is it's not my line, it's a lyric from a Bruce Cockburn song - the same title as this missive. It's a great song and he's a great lyricist. I still feel pretty badly about it (my response, not Bruce Cockburn), a bit guilty actually. Here was someone who was hurting so badly and needed to know why the Universe was challenging him in such a terrible way, and I toss out a fortune cookie response.
I guess I'll just have to hope that John the Tattooed Buddhist will find the answer he needs while he's on his quest. I also hope that he and Bruce Cockburn forgive me.
All for now, more later.