I know it has been a very long time since I last wrote.
Well, a lot has taken place and I have taken a different turn at the fork of my spiritual path.
My absence has been attributed to my being in an intensive retreat.
There were days I did not want to continue with it anymore and there were the days when I asked myself what am I doing all this for?
There is so much that I can never probably share with my family members and they may never understand anyways. That is fine.
It does not change how I feel about them and why I would continue in this path.
They always say that the highest gift of love is to give of oneself - completely.
Frankly, I always thought that it was mere B.S. Because I have never seen someone giving of themselves to anyone - completely.
It is typical isn't it? Just because we did not see something, we will say it does not exist and just because we could not do something, we will say it cannot be done.
We will always measure people and life according to our point of reference and our own personal agenda.
Everyone harbours a motive - there is no such thing as no motive.
On the most ordinary level, someone might do a lot of things for someone because he or she wants that person to like him or her.
On the highest level, we may do things because we truly want to help someone without any expectations. This is when we give ourselves to others.
In our ordinary world and lives, these benevolent acts are rare and they are never consistent.
Because, at the end of the day, we will demand something in return - however subtle or subconsciously it may be hidden.
Over the past two months, I have been thinking about the course of my life and certain decisions need to be made.
I had enough of running and hiding.
I had enough of playing pretense and games, even if it is just with my own mind.
I had enough of chasing after temporal success and pleasures.
I am done with the samsara's brand of lifestyle.
There is always side effects and prices to pay at the end. Worst of all, someone or a few someones would always get hurt in the process. How can that be a good thing, ever?
The longer I deny and take my time, the more I would be wasting.
One day it struck me - how can I claim to love anyone at all when I just refuse to give myself to anyone? Not even to myself?
I say this because I will not even lift a finger to help myself in the real sense.
Everything I have done so far is very superficial. It barely scraps the surface. And I did not want to get my hands dirty - so-to-speak.
I wanted liberation, but only at a distance.
I wanted happiness, but without putting any effort.
I wanted results, but with the easiest and most convenient route to me.
How can I keep demanding everything from my own self-preserved stance?
Then is it any wonder that I did not see any results within myself?
We're talking about real results here. Not those which will change and fluctuate madly like the stock market.
Real attainments and realizations do not go away today and come back tomorrow. They are consistent and real. They will only deepen and strengthen over time. Not the other way around.
So, I took stock of the sum of my life.
That barren landscape of inconsistencies and indecisiveness, marked by intense sloth.
The truth was simple enough and it stared straight into my eyes.
If I truly love the people I claim to love, then I would cease living for myself.
I would start living for them.
And what does that actually mean?
Well, it means doing everything for their ultimate good.
Even if I hated every moment of it. Even if I am lousy at it.
Even if I am dead tired and have reached a point beyond fatigue.
Yes, even if I am not especially happy doing any of it.
You see, when we pledge or make a vow to love someone and give our lives over to benefiting others, it does not matter any more whether we like pink or white, whether tonight we will sleep 5 minutes or 5 hours, whether someone will even acknowledge our efforts or not, whether we will even get a small thank you.
No - none of that matters, because we are not operating from wanting anything for self, including self-praise.
It took me a long while to make this leap.
And I can honestly tell you, I did not leap without kicking, screaming, crying and swearing all the way.
Every DNA in my body rejected the very notion of selflessness.
Every fibre in my being rebuked the idea of going into Dharma full-time and all the way.
If they could, they would have veto-ed my decision.
And I am sure they tried their level best.
I was moody, petty, angry and irritable beyond words.
The times I allowed myself to vent and come undone was while I was driving alone in my car and in my bedroom.
That went on for a while, although it became lesser and lesser as time passed by.
Finally, today - I would just sit infront of my altar and offer up my confession to the Buddhas.
I would "unload" everything infront of them - every scar, every wound, every lie, each hurt and most of all, the joys and gratification of knowing that I am on my way to something much more.
Yes, I want to do Dharma work full-time,
Yes, I want to give my life over to the Three Jewels and dedicate my very deeds to those I hold dear.
They may never know and they may never understand, but this is the one and only time I would be investing on their behalf. This would be the only investment that is worth making and I would use all of me to achieve this till the day I die.
I want to start living my life for others.
I want to surrender my life over to serve others.
Yes, that makes me very happy - darn exhausting, but it is the only deed/investment that matters.
Well worth every pain, tear and sweat.
I used to think that serving others was beneath me and that I deserve to live out my life in the way I wanted.
Well, what has that really given me or anyone around me?
What can be more fulfilling and joyful than giving up myself for those I love because I want to return all their kindness?
I can't think of anything better.
Seriously, Dharma work is the best job in the world.
Because while you heal yourself and win every internal battle, you can also heal others and help them win in their own internal battles.
Everyone wins in the end.
And no one is left behind.
Show me another job that can do the same - life after life, and the merits we collect accumulates with each succeeding compassionate act.
Honestly, Dharma is the only career worth investing for all lifetimes.
In Buddhism, I use the word: Dharma. But there are many words in other religions that mean the same thing.
So, once you have found what makes you a better person - then go all the way with it. You will win and those around you will win as well. They will win a much better friend, sister, brother, spouse or child.
This is the kind of happiness that lasts for all times.
So, here I stand.
Here, I surrender myself.