While meditating with a Buddhist Monk in New Zealand, I was watching my thoughts about the recent conversations I’d had with all these foreigners I’d met at this stop in my journey. If someone could take a picture of the thoughts floating around me as I saw them in my mind, they’d see heaps of little scenes floating fluidly around my head:
The french guy talking about how he doesn’t like girls who have square football player shoulders, then, realizing that I do, he backed down off the topic and said, “But with bodies, all that really matters is how it feels.”
The annoying little 11 year old boy, who, after insisting to his parents that he could help me dig a trench across the driveway, didn’t help. He just wanted to tell me stupid dirty jokes that only an 11 year old would find funny.
“Why don’t you find my jokes funny? Everyone else does.” he wondered.
I replied, “Everyone else is just humoring you.” Frustrated, he stormed off.
“Good,” I though, “it worked.”
How the people I was staying with for a few days insisted that I carry buckets of water up the hills on their property from their stream to water the newly planted trees.
“You should really invest in a water pump and a long fireman-type hose, you wouldn’t even need to lay in pipes, just plug it in, walk it up and you’re good.” I suggested to the owner of the property, as he struggled to carry two buckets of water with his back brace on.
“No, a little hard work never hurt,” he said after pouring water over the last of at least 30 newly planted trees that needed to be watered.
“But it would save you’re back,” I said as it started to sprinkle.
The man’s wife asked me to hang up the new drapes she bought.
“Do you have an iron?” I asked, “these creases won’t hang-out anytime soon. I can iron them really fast and it will look so good.”
“Oh no!” she condescendingly said, “you can’t iron this fabric, it’s polyester, a type of plastic, it will melt. The creases will hang out in a week or so.”
“Umm, I’ve ironed plastic before, you just use a low setting.” I replied looking really confused, but then remembering that she just doesn’t know I am the master of fabric, I command and fabric obeys, “But okay, I’ll put them up like this then.”
After hanging the curtains, I smiled at how shitty it looked. And thought, this is business, the customer has to have it their way.
That same french guy who, when asked if he’d want to take home a New Zealand girl with him after his year-long visa ended, responded, “No, I could never make a woman choose between me and her country.”
When the meditation ended, I boldly asked the monk a question. “In yoga they teach to clear the mind of thoughts and to give the mind a break from them, but you said that in Buddhism, one is supposed to embrace the thoughts as if you are one with them and think them through. How do you cope with having too many sad thoughts in succession? How do you keep pushing through the same sad thoughts that come to mind every time?
“You just keep thinking them through…all the way to their end, every time, until the the mind is satisfied with it, then it will no longer plague the mind. And you will be free of it.” He replied.