Typical club sandwich

In my ongoing quest to become a better person, perhaps the most difficult lesson I have or will ever have had to grasp is that I am not responsible for anyone else’s happiness.  It is a very difficult thing for me to watch a person needlessly create suffering in their own life, especially when it is so obvious to me how they are doing it and how they could avoid it.  this has been an ongoing theme in my life for as long as I can remember, but I must remember that it is far easier to see others creating their own suffering than it is to see oneself.  I feel like it is a constant reminder to me that I need to focus on my own consciousness, and cease with the creation of my own suffering, in order to be able to teach anyone anything.  I know I am here to help make the world a better place, and my wife keeps telling me that I am an akhourik, (a teacher who does not embody their teachings in order to better illustrate the futility of that course). but I think that on my path I need to become an example of what to be rather than show how not to be so much of the time.  Unless I can lead by example it will be nearly impossible for others to take me seriously, even when the point I am making is inarguable.  Obviously I am not always right in fact I am more often wrong when it comes to my own life, which is why this lesson is so important…

A few days ago there was a moment of supreme clarity for me during a very long day.  It actually started the day before when Rachel asked her spirit guides about a trip to Gunung Agung, a stratovolcano on the island of Bali where we have spent the better part of the last month.  Her spirit guides (through a deck of oracle cards) insisted that we make the trek.  We wound up at the “mother temple” a truly sacred place, that in the view of Rachel and I was being desecrated by the locals who were using it as a marketplace and trying to scam tourists with “guided tours” for exorbitant fees. As we approached the temple it began to rain, quite hard. When we refused to pay for a guided tour, the scam artist who was offering it told us that if we weren’t going with a member of the temple we had to go up the side stairs and not dare approach the seventh level, so we went around the side. It frustrated the both of us tremendously, and as we walked through the temple our frustration grew because not only were there people trying to sell us stuff all the way through, but there was trash everywhere, and we had a hard time with the fact that the people who were supposed to hold this as their most sacred temple were so willing to disrespect their own gods to that degree.   We made offerings in the rain, and sat to pray on the wet ground.  I was having a very hard time because the man who was blessing a balinese man in front of the alter and asked if we wanted to pray then sat us on the level below the alter as though we were not worthy of sitting where the Balinese sat even though to our perception we actually seemed to have more respect for the temple than most of them did.  there was a great deal of frustration in my heart because of this and I was having a hard time focusing on actually asking for the blessings of the gods.  I struggled with this for a few minutes until I realized that (as Lama Tharchin once told me) you cannot change external phenomenon you can only change your perception and that is the key to not suffering.  As soon as I remembered that I cleared my heart, pressed my hands together, and asked the gods for the strength to do the work I know I am here to do.  The instant I did this an enormous clap of thunder struck directly overhead and roled around us for a long time.  My heart felt immensely lighter and I finished giving thanks to the gods and we continued on up through the temple.  Somehow we lost count of levels of the temple, I think maybe because they were scattered back and forth across the hillside, but we wound up at the bottom of a set of stairs protected on both sides by long dragons whose heads were at the bottom of the staircase and tails undulated up to the top.  the dragons seemed to be beckoning to me and I think to Rachel too because she was ahead of me instead of next to me all of a sudden, we followed a group of Balinese people up the stairs, not realizing that this was the seventh level of the temple, or that we really weren’t (as westerners) expected to approach the top.  Once we got to the top it became apparent that there was a lot of Balinese congregating there and that we were kind of being blocked into that area by the crowd.  when they ALL pulled out offerings and sat down it became extremely apparent that a ceremony was about to take place so we followed suit and pulled out our own offerings and sat down too, a “Temple Gaurdian” came over to me and asked me if I was there to pray, I assured him that I was and he told me to just do as the Balinese did through the ceremony, I agreed.  He removed himself and sat at the back where the other Temple Gaurdians were.  He had asked me where I was from and while he was behind us we could hear him repeating the answer over and over as though mocking us, had I not had the experience I had a few minutes earlier this would have probably really frustrated me, as it was I had no feelings about it.  We then proceeded to take part in a ceremony usually reserved only for Balinese and I feel incredibly blessed to have been able to take part in it.  I still struggle with the lesson the gods handed me at the lower level on a daily basis but I am working toward being a better human being all the time…

Love and light to all sentient beings….

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