Notes on a Buddhist path

Lost and found

June 14, 2011 By | 1 Comment

Harkening back to my Catholic days and the dark mystery of the confessional, let me begin by saying it’s been over two weeks since my last post. Here is my confession.

I didn’t know what to write. Nothing was really calling. Nothing seemed up in the way things can gnaw in your craw. Great word craw. It has that onomatopoeia quintessence that grabs hold of the cranny of your ear and calls your senses to full attention. At any rate, tonight was the first evening in ages when I’ve had the space and energy to sit down and deign to muse with the word gods as to a subject or direction for this piece. And the gods answered.

After finishing a blissful dinner and a delicious phone chat with my friend Denni I got the call I’ve been waiting for all these past weeks. My wallet had been found. Officer Graham from the Oak Bay Police Department was even so kind as to offer to drop it off at my home.

Hanging up the phone, I realized I suddenly felt a wave of richness wash over me. Strange as there was no money in the wallet and no more credit was to be had by finding cancelled credit cards, but still I felt abundance. Maybe it was because I never doubted that it would be found and with it the ease of knowing I wouldn’t have to spend money on replacing the expensive pieces of faux me: driver’s license, permanent residency and medical services cards. Maybe it was completing the circle of finding that which is lost. Or perhaps it was a deep solace in knowing some person, a neighbour I perhaps pass each day on the street, had found this representation of who I am and took it somewhere safe and protected.

When Officer Graham placed the soft felted wool coin purse in my hand I remembered when I had bought it at the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul a year and a half ago. There was comfort in its touch and the memories it awakened in me. Opening the wallet I gently pulled out its contents. Everything was there.  Things familiar and those still forgotten. Interesting all the pieces I had no memory of possessing. Pieces stuffed away that may have held favor or value, at some time considered important, but now seem like so much filler stuffed into a space the size of my heart.

In my call with Denni we spoke of relationships, of integrity and honesty, of fears and vulnerabilities, of money and the lack thereof, of speaking the truth and clear decisions. The return of my misplaced identity has me asking “why now?” Why did the police call me tonight? How can I see my wallet’s homecoming as an equally pivotal event in viewing my perception of “me” as the loss of it did a few weeks ago?

My wallet’s return alleviates some tangible setbacks for me in the coming weeks, but it also shows me there are old parts of myself that I don’t recognize anymore. Not only are they unfamiliar, they fell away without any notice and their resurrection only highlights their obsolescence.

Mahatma Ghandi once said “There is no god higher than truth. ” Emily Kammerer posits a tenth circle of hell to Dante’s Inferno with perhaps the greatest of sins: self deception. If lying to ourselves pushes us lower than anger, heresy, violence or treachery in the bowels of no-no land one can only hope that shining a light on the fables we tell ourselves about who and what we are will ultimately free us from our merry-go-round of delusions.

Lighter wallets would be nice too.

A Tenth Circle? – Self Deceit in Inferno” by Emily Kammerer, Boston University

Image credit: “Time Unveiling Truth” by Giovanni-Battista-Tiepolo, c. 1743


  1. […] As my feet hurried along the street my mind skipped with ardent attention to the time before when I did get my wallet back. I recounted the lessons its loss had shown me about my identity and the profound equanimity I […]

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