After a month or two I couldn't take my current job any more. I was very torn between old family patterns of financial security, faithfulness to employers, not rocking the boat, being 'responsible', and thinking I could learn to be better at things that I was not inclined toward - orientation to an extremely high number of details and interruptions.
I was afraid to take the leap. No, I was terrified to take the leap. Constriction and fear so often go hand in hand. And I was feeling disillusioned, hurt, afraid, lost, angry, feeling betrayed by pretty much everything I believed in. A troubled heart was in my grip and I was having a difficult time letting it go, letting my job go, letting anything go.
One day, my wife came whom from the meditation centre we attend, the same one where I had the meditation experience that I described in part 1. She told me of a conversation she had had with one of the long time devotees at the centre in which this person told my wife about her being in a state similar to mine. Disillusioned, hurt, lost, afraid, angry. All of it. She went on to tell my wife of a ritual she performed where she bought a coconut, which in this meditative tradition is a symbol of the ego. She placed the coconut on her altar and at some point later took it to the shore, prayed deeply pouring all of her hurt and suffering into the coconut, cracked it open, and offered it to the waters. Cracking open the ego and returning it to the source.
Well, I had to try this. I didn't really know how much at the time, but I was desperate. It's amazing how much suffering and desperation can be motivators, for better or for worse, and how we can be pretty oblivious to it all. (How often do we run blindly from suffering to suffering?) I purchased a very lovely coconut. I place it on my altar in front of a picture of the meditation master I've been writing about in this entry, and I prayed. And I prayed. And I prayed.
About a week later I woke up at around 6:00am. It was beautiful and clear outside, calm and peaceful within my heart. I knew today was the day. About a week or so previous to this day I had found a private spot along the waterfront. I had walked past this spot countless times but never had taken the side path that led to it. This spot, complete with bench, offers a magnificent view of False Creek, the sailboats and marina, the downtown skyline, and the mountains in the distance. It is tree lined and birds circle and sway. The water glistens. And this morning there was promise in the air. A scintilating quietude hovered, creating an atmosphere that was somehow aligned with the glistening of the water.
Again I prayed. And I prayed. And I prayed. And I poured my suffering into the coconut. And I worked my way along the rounded, uneven rocks down to the waters edge. Gently but firmly I srtuck the coconut upon a rock. After three strikes (the symbolism is not lost on me) the coconut broke into two halves. I raised them to the sun and then offered them to the waters.
There was no room for scepticism.
Something felt good. Something felt deep. Something felt true.