Delight Springs

Friday, August 9, 2013

What could I possibly need?

But, I must continually remember to ask myself,what if you couldn't walk?

You'd need to go with another metaphor, and another mindset. Matthieu Ricard relates the situation of
a man I have known for twenty years who lives in Bumthang province at the heart of the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan. He was born without arms or legs, and he lives on the outskirts of a village in a little bamboo hut of just a few square yards. He never goes out and barely moves from his mattress on the floor. He came from Tibet forty years ago,  carried by fellow refugees, and has lived in this hut ever since. The mere fact that he is still alive is extraordinary in itself, but even more striking is the joy that radiates from him. Every time I see him, he is in the same serene, simple, gentle, and unaffected frame of mind. When we bring him small gifts of food, blankets, a portable radio, he says that there was no need to bring him anything. “What could I possibly need?
It's so cliche to say that happiness comes from within. But what else is there to say about this?

Well, lots. For one, the central organizing metaphor of American life must be more closely examined. This little story, and in these brutal days of interminable war and DIY IEDs there are increasingly many like it, challenges the notion of happiness as an outer pursuit and adventure. Is it not really more a state of  mind, of the mind at peace and at rest? Is it not less an experience of going, and more one of being?

I'm going to need more time, and maybe better coffee. I'd like the rain to stop and the clouds to withdraw, too.  I'd like High School not to start on Monday, and College on Wednesday.

Hmm. Guess I'm a lttile needy, compared to that man in Bumthang.

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