This I Believe

Jacqueline - Tulsa, Oklahoma
Entered on November 19, 2006
Age Group: 50 - 65

“I’m really going” I told Lewis Meyer standing behind his bookstore counter.

“Are you sure?” he said. “It could be a cult!”

“But Lewis, ‘The More You Read The Taller You Grow,’ I pointed to his bookstore sign. “Isn’t that the whole point?”

My unrealized and unemployed life had been lived through books. Fear of missing information left little free time. Even the Meyer cat had a job. He walked into work each day from the car and sat on his stool, distracting strict believers from the bottom two shelves of truth from ancient India.

Ignoring The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying displayed below the philosophers, the sleeve of my coat caught and flung it to the floor. Opened to page fifty. That night my eyes, hands and breath absorbed the essence of what had once been the truth of trees, sun, soil and water.

This expensive journey to France did not feel impulsive although this type of thing is considered by most as the bane of the underachiever always distracted by some invisible world. It felt then as now, as the invisible world becoming visible in all its Judeo Christian glory. That no religion at its core unspoken experience lies to us. All beings search for their core goodness, even in their confused acts of murder and terrorism. No one escapes the outcome of truth.

Exhaustion of travel disarms my trembling world like nothing else. A taxi deposited on gravel outside a huge white open canvass tent. Wind whipped its sides and ropes pinged against poles. Clouds shifted quickly on colliding winds rushing in from both the Mediterranean and the Atlantic. Through the glare of sun, I located the roundish brown man emitting the voice on the microphone. There were hundreds of people here. Hundreds. There would be no long private talks with Sogyal Rinpoche.

I walked back to my bags and collapsed on them in exhausted despair. I leaned against the stucco walls of the quiet kitchen building where I could gaze uninterrupted into the sky I’d read about in the book that brought me here. I wanted to slip into the sleep of depression again.

Gravel crunched…another brown man in ochre robes slipped into a doorway with quick steps. A chant, “Om Ah Hung Benza Guru Peme Siddhi Hung”. Then disappeared. Ordinary.

I began to adjust to the cold multidirectional Pyrenees’ storms and the swooping of bats over my tent at Lerab Ling. I joined in the teachings. One morning I stood paralyzed in my tent and it occurred to me there were not two Tibetan men here. Only one. That meant that it was Sogyal Rinpoche who had had envisioned my slackened body as piled luggage. The ordinary crunching of gravel announced the Presence of the Outer Lama. The Guru had appeared and taught during my distraction with the sky. He entered through the sound of the senses one mantra embodying teachings of the Nature of Mind, the unchanging God. From my ordinary logic arose this message, “No, no! Not out there! Right here! Where we are. This is where your enlightenment experience takes place, within your disappointment!”

The more you read the taller you grow. Skyward.