How many times in your life do you get a chance to throw the deck up in the air and just watch where it all lands? I am now retired more than 3 years, a single former medical professional launched into a different life. The matrix of my former life unexpectedly became more mutable than it had ever been. Suddenly I had no ties or obligations to a particular place. I remained a parent, but mostly at a distance. All the normal reference points of identity and the behaviors that come with it either loosened or disappeared. In the midst of radical uncertainty, I felt a unfamiliar and delicious lightness.
I also have an orientation to dharma study and practice. I decided to indulge my unending curiosity, explore a new lifestyle and a new intention: more spontaneity, radical presence, fearlessness, creative integrity and no regrets.
These conditions present an opportunity to blend life and practice, to make life as practice an immediate reality. Who shall I become? A global nomad? A divine madman? A lion, unafraid? Unattached, like the wind? Or like space, not relying on anything? Whatever it is, it will be more fluid and, I hope, reveal something closer to the truth.
I have been exploring new surroundings, new activities, new endeavors and new associations. I am looking at my familiar identities and perhaps diverging from them; the many small ways that I seek safety in the familiar or permit structure to fall away.
This is an exploration of what arises in every moment, spontaneous presence, seen through the lens of Vajrayana Buddhism and the offerings of my precious teachers. Abiding in the Two Truths— that all appearances, all perceptions and all phenomena are both real and arise spontaneously from nothing whatsoever; their essence empty, clear and unlimited–is the primary challenge.
This is the reality of appearance and the truth of emptiness, realized in the moment. What possibilities does this open? What does such a condition call for? — a freshness, simplicity and joyful, open presence: the roots of authentic compassion-surely the important challenge for every life in every time.
Now, three years later, who have I become? A nomadic embodied Buddhist. An argonaut of the ineffable. A surfer on the turbulent poetics of decolonization. What does all that mean? I am finding out for myself.