July 27, 2007

The Easier Path

Life is simpler here. Not painless or trouble-free, never that, but simpler. I have one job, one boss, one responsibility, one office. My home is so small it is practically maintenance free. I have so few possessions it is hard to loose track of or make a mess with them. Cleaning is scheduled a week in advance. I never have to worry about grocery shopping (except for my special coffee) or cooking or driving (if I don’t want to). When I go to a lecture or a movie or a party, I can walk home. I never have to worry about parking the car. I never have to worry about when I’ll have time to see my friends, because they are right there at every meal. I never lament the lack of Dharma teachings, because it is everywhere I look.

In less than a month, this will all go away. I will have four bosses again, four professors all making demands, and maybe a real boss at a paying job who will also want a piece of me. I will have a home to care for and keep clean, groceries to buy, food to cook, homework to do, schedules to manage, friends and family to visit. I will have to keep an eye on my car every day.

It would be so much easier to stay. I would enjoy my life here. I know this. Yet, I would never be able to help in the ways I know I can.

There are trade off’s, of course. I am getting addicted to the little adrenalin high I get on my nightly walk home, despite the fact that they have so far been bear and mountain lion free. When the wind blows, I don’t get a sound sleep. Waking up at four in the morning with the urge to use the toilet is never fun. Carrying my laundry half a mile every week isn’t so bad. Sometimes hardly eating anything for lunch because the kitchen decided to make curried tofu gets frustrating when it occurs more than one day in a row.

I like my little third floor condo in the heart of the city, with the view of the state capitol on its lush green lawn. I like to sit in the window in the morning and sip coffee from my own pot and watch the squirrels chase each other around the mighty oak trees. I love going to see movies in theaters with friends. I miss going to the bookstore on Friday nights with Mom & Dad, and teasing Spook, my mother’s old black cat. I miss my little noisy cat, Isis. I enjoy my classes and am looking forward to a studio project I can really sink my teeth into. I am anxious to continue my work with Emerging Green Builders. I actually miss being able to make my own ramen noodles.

Mostly though, I know my path. I know graduate school, an internship, an architect’s license, planner’s certification, and all the knowledge and experience and wisdom which comes with them will enable me to help people in ways I never could if I remained here.

Besides, I never could do anything the easy way.


greenfrog said...

(funny -- I thought the curried tofu was the best meal I had)

You've captured here one of the most appealing aspects of Shambhala that I experienced -- the simplicity of communal life. Of course, I wasn't there long enough to feel the interpersonal friction I imagine is unavoidable when living in such a close community. But the people I interacted with were amazingly heart-open. I'd be willing to give up a great deal of what I have in my current life for that kind of sangha.


Monica said...

Hehe, well to each their own. Today they ruined pertfectly good roast chicken with curry, but the garlic brocoli was excelent. Everything changes, or so they say.

Yes, the personal relationships start to get very interested once you've been here for a while, but I find the people amazingly accepting. More so than anywhere I've every been. That is why I keep coming back and what I miss most when I leave. Have you been to the Shambhala Center is Denver or Boulder? I wonder what those sanghas are like?

greenfrog said...

I've not visited either of those sanghas.

Just yours.