Notes on a Buddhist path

Somebody that I used to know

November 4, 2012 By | 6 Comments

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom” ~ Anaïs Nin

Since I started down the Buddhist path I’ve seen pieces of me change and morph into new semblances of what I define as this being called Tess. I’ve witnessed some parts fall away with mindful gratitude and other times the transition leaves me with a sense of amnesia, trying to remember when the shift occurred and tracing my steps back to the last time I recall being my old non-self.

Slowly a deeper quaking started to rumble inside of me. There was an incident a couple of years ago when I was going to have a come-to-Jesus conversation with someone I worked with who irked me to no end. I had my entire diatribe planned out and as we sat across the table from each other I felt this unexpected and glorious wave of compassion swell over me. All the words and feelings of superiority were washed away in a torrent of caring for this person, and it stuck. I found in the next weeks and months that I had laid down the gauntlet of blame towards that being. It was a revelation that things could be another way and, as it turned out, more of a come-to-Buddha kind of awakening than I had anticipated.

In the past year I’ve felt a pronounced redefining in how I see the world and myself. The changes have been dramatic and also subtle, so much so that in many cases it’s only in doing what I’ve always done that I realize the old status quo just doesn’t fit anymore.

Although I wouldn’t call myself a potty mouth, I have been known to bandy about swear words with just the right amount of shock value and well-placed humour. Now I find coarse language disagreeable to my constitution and it actually feels like a finger jabbing at my chest when I hear it. Once upon a time I was a Hollywood screenwriter and not only enjoyed blockbusters films, but wrote a couple of action scripts for the fun of it. A few retreats at a Buddhist monastery and now when I stroll through my local video store I find very little that appeals to me. I was an-Olympic-level-consumer, increase-my-credit-card-limit, buy-enough-for-free-shipping shopaholic. This month I cancelled two of my credit cards and next month I’m planning to have a party to give away many of my belongings.

What astounds me most in all of this is that there was no trying to find this way; it found me. And in that lies the rub. Renunciation, nekkhamma, is one of the ten perfections of Buddhism. It presents a freedom from sensual pleasures, a falling away of attachments and cravings. In these shifts in my perceptions, perhaps I’ve gotten a glimpse of that freedom. I’ve felt for the briefest of moments the immense peace of nibbana, the possibility of no suffering and the pure and utter lightness of being in a state of undefinable grace. I believe wholeheartedly in the Buddha’s words and teachings. Yet there is a stumbling and a sadness in finding this new way. I knew how to be in that other world, what tricks to play, what lines to recite, how to make people laugh and also how miserable I could feel through it all. Now that has changed. I’ve seen the wizard behind the curtain and I can’t go back. In this new skin of awareness comes a re-patterning and a shedding of old ways of being and knowing. Trying to fit into that old life feels like looking through eyeglasses with an outdated prescription; they just doesn’t work anymore. And with that understanding comes the realization that I don’t need a new pair of glasses; in fact I don’t need any glasses at all. Clarity of vision unmasks even the most lucid of dreams, whether awake or asleep.

So now what?

It may sound trite, but it’s all a day, an hour, a moment at a time. When I feel the rush of peace warming my blood I know I am where I need to be. Watching “The Matrix” the other night I saw the film in a different way in light of the changes in my life. Themes of what is real and what is an illusory sensual world resonated with added intensity.

I took the red pill. How about you?

Image credit: My brother by mickepe at morgueFile


  1. here we go

  2. Yep, down that rabbit hole, dear DS.

  3. When it happens, it’s all so simple.

    I am so happy for you.

    You are *becoming*the*path* that you always have been.

    Go Tess!

    • What I meant to say was “You are no longer walking the path. You are becoming the path. The path that you have always been.”

      Jeesh, copy editors!

      • We’ll see, dear David. Thanks for your encouragement; you’ve been here for every blogged step along the way.

        Yes, those pesky editors. Where are they when you really need them?


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