Running Away (?)
If you’re carrying your restlessness in your heart, you are alive.
If you’re carrying the lightning of dreams in your eyes, you are alive.
Like a gust of wind learn to live free.
Learn to flow like the waves that make a sea.
Let your arms be wide open to every moment you meet.
May every moment gift you a new sight to greet.
If you’re carrying your wonder in your eyes, you are alive.
If you’re carrying your restlessness in your heart, you are alive.
(Javed Akhtar, from the movie Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara).
Sitting alone at this spartan flat in Frankfurt, Germany, drinking a bottle of a good sparkling wine from one of German´s most famous whine growing region, I realize, I suppose once again, that I am running away from my own fears. Ironically, because I know that I can´t, that I always carry them with me. I have no idea, what expects me in the future months, sometimes I just can´t even explain, how I decided to do this. It somehow happened.
I was sitting one day in November last year together with some other hundred people receiving teachings from His Eminence Ayang Rinpoche. If I remember well it was the Lung (oral transmission of a meditation practice) of Buddha Amithaba, but it could also have been the Lung of the Phowa practice (a meditation form to train you to die consciously). Right now it doesn´t matter. So, I was sitting there not even trying to follow the teachings, and I was crying and crying, tears were running without any chance to avoid it. My breath became fast and something in my mind understood that I must change something in me, in my life. After that session it was clear, that I really wanted to renounce to whatever I had done until now, to whatever my nonsense priorities were, to my home, my friends, my desires. I decided to go where ever I could be guided through the way of renouncement. Was it Italy? India? Nepal?
The following weeks I started to watch out, but the more I wanted something to become concrete, the more it slipped away from my hands. I really wanted to go to Pomaia – they never replied. Then I thought “let´s go then to India first and then see what comes after”. I made prayers to the Buddha and started to recite the refuge prayer to accumulate 100 000 of it, always thinking of my aspiration of renouncement.
From that day in November I did everything with that in mind: first I moved out of my beloved flat, sold my stuff, gave it or threw it away. Then I contacted several centres and institutions to see whether they could orientate or help me. In the beginning I was really naïve and had the illusion that everyone would suddenly open all the gates. It wasn´t that easy, but above all – I now understand – I had first to pass some tests, to prove how much I really wanted to renounce to all.
The easiest thing for me to renounce is all the material stuff. When I was in 6th grade I was at a boarding school where we had to move each year in another room with other roommates. So each year we had to pack all our stuff, keep it in the attic and let us surprise which room we would have after summer holidays. I never really got the chance to grasp to one place. In general I changed so much times my “home” that I rather knew where my home was. What was confusing back at the time when I was a little girl and then a teenager, I now consider a blessing.
6 and a half year ago I came to Mexico with only two suitcases and a bag. Years after I had a huge flat with everything you apparently need and want. From two suitcases I built up all of it. I knew that I could do this again. Having only few belongings doesn´t make me feel anxious. If I should lose everything, I can be sure that I can start again from cero.
Still there were other “earthly interests” to get over, such as reputation and fame or romantic love.
December came and I wanted so badly to know where I should go, to be accepted somewhere to be able to study the Dharma and hopefully being able to teach some day. I was desperate to find a flight at a reasonable price to India but there was nothing reasonable. All the flights were so expensive and by Christmas Eve I decided to let it go, not my idea to go to India, but to grasp on it.
By that time I had already met a guy who somehow became a real good friend. He fell for me and the day he exposed himself I told him that I don´t want a relationship, not before going to India, not now and maybe not in any moment after. For sure he got to know my reasons and understood them perfectly well. Surprisingly he wasn´t offended – on the contrary: He offered me help to get a flight through his miles-points-system. A few days after I had a ticket to Germany and from there to India. Who knows how universe do work and why I wanted to fly over Germany. My argument was to finish some paperwork there with bank issues and so on. Well, I still need them to do but it isn´t a matter of existence. It was already decided: my flight would be on April 30 to Hamburg and on May 9 to New Delhi.
By beginning of February the CEO of Dialogue Social Enterprise, a company I use to work with for projects now and then, started to search for me. He wanted to talk in an urgent matter to me but we always failed to be punctual to the appointments for a skype talk. Until the day when he wrote me an e-mail saying, that he urgently needs someone who could organize a conference in Germany, which would be held by the end of April and if I was interested to do that job.
Even if this project threw me away from the plans to say goodbye to my friends, my family, the places I love and the life I used to have, I accepted the challenge. The only thing I understood until then was, that it would be a two days conference on ageing and demographic change in Germany, at a university near Frankfurt, and that I would practically be responsible for the whole organization.
I changed my flight and found myself two weeks after in Hamburg and still amazed, how karma, universe or luck (whatever you might call it) works. After that job I will have enough money to survive for several months as a volunteer in India.
Honestly, I never thought about if I could do this, if I was ready, or how big this project was. For sure I was aware, that it would be plenty of work organizing, making accountancy, marketing/ PR and coordination but as always when I accept such kind of projects I never realize until the very moment of the event, how important it is for (in that case) my boss, the university, which is one of the best (and most expensive) private universities in Germany, and the sponsors (mainly Danone). But when I realized that, I became nervous and conscious, that if I should screw this, I would really have problem.
Less than three months have passed since then. The conference went well, my boss and the sponsors are happy, so I am relieved. In these past weeks I realized, that I definitely would not like to live in Germany, that I miss Mexico, and that the only thing I had to do here was rather paperwork than to create a new story to get over an old one. A story implicating my ex-boyfriend. A story, I now see with different eyes, from different angle. I think I healed open wounds from the past and now I can move along my way – whatever this might be.
The university promotes with the words “Inspiring personalities” and it´s internationality. Yes, there were a lot of personalities: A lot of students without any interesting profile only dressed in fancy clothes, with a polite but posh attitude, all these juniors who drive BMW sponsored by daddy and most of them aspiring to get a job at McKinsey´s or Boston Consulting Group. Or a lot of colleagues, who have such a “title-complex”, presuming all the time their Ph.D. here and there and how their CV is filled with research projects. On the other side are the ones who are totally into social business, who are working so hard to be able to pay their studies, who wants more than a house, a car, the big money and a heart attack at 45. Yes, I met really inspiring personalities: A Russian guy who was bank manager, with house, money and big car. But suddenly he woke up and thought that this wasn´t the way of life he wants to live until he dies. He quit all, left Russia and started to study; or that half Mexican guy who dreams of his own company and whom I met one day on the floor after he had a few hours lasting meeting with the bank to get the credit for it meanwhile other students were worried about where to get the best top internship. He just doesn´t care about fame and the big money, just to do music for the rest of his life. There was also the US girl who actually is a pianist but realized, that just with playing piano she can´t live and therefore quit her job back at the USA, aspiring to do something more out of her life. She, same as I did in Mexico, came to Germany with only two suitcases and works hard to pay the hell of university fees.
I met people who quit their big jobs, with big salary, searching for another way of earning money on a responsible way such as social business. I am inspired by all these people. And sometimes I also feel really tempted to quit all my plans to go to India, to work as a volunteer, to renounce to this material world, and start an own social business by myself or at least get involved in a project on it. Then again I only bring to my mind all the people in their business clothes, all what they are going through and again I say to myself: “No, I don´t want my life to be like this”.
A friend who thinks of herself being kind of a Medium or who is able to foreseen the future told me at the beginning of this phase, that I will meet someone here, a man who might be much older than me, some 13 years older or so, and that he will be the man of my life, and that when I see him, I will know; that I might be tempted to let go my India plans but this would be ok. That I shouldn´t bother or feel guilty if I don´t go to India, that I should do what I think right, without caring about what others say and that if he asks me for a dinner I shouldn´t refuse. So for several days I tried to see in each older guy the one who might rescue me from that terrible lonely existence. But he fortunately never came.
Now I have few days left until I leave Frankfurt, and a week until I will be gone to India.
No one appeared in my way. I feel relieved, so I don´t need to stay in Germany and abandon my India-plans, but I also feel like that because I am the hell scared of having a relationship. Until now I failed so much in that, that I hardly believe to be able to be in a sane and normal one. To be honest with myself: Every time I meet someone who likes and wants to be with me I just run away. I don´t even try to be with him. So I run into renouncement, because I know that there will never be the Mr. Right, that romantic love would never bring genuine happiness. I prefer to renounce than to fail again.
After a day like today, sitting here alone – alone with my success, my feelings, dreams and fears, I must confess that I am totally confused. On the one hand there is still the idea of a world, in which you have a work helping others, a man on your side who not only loves you but fits totally to you, a material world and all that useless stuff. On the other hand there is still this strong wish to renounce to all of it and I wonder if I am on the right way?
I sent out a prayer asking the Buddhas to show me the way and the following words came instantaneously to my mind: You don´t need to be shown the way, because you are already on it. Just keep moving and be open to whatever you might find on it.
So I keep moving.
©Kirsten Liliane López Lüke