It has been almost a year since I left what I considered my home. After I decided in November 2011 to leave everything I had in order to get to India and become a nun, a volunteer, a Weltverbesserer or just myself, I met a guy – L. He was nice, also Buddhist and very different from all (Mexican) men I’ve met before. Even if I already knew that my path wasn’t going to be at the side of a man, I wanted to know him and at least establish a new and very worthy friendship. He helped me with everything regarding moving from my huge 4-room-appartment into a small room at my best friend’s house, he drove me there and back and up and down and indeed a friendship flourished. Probably it was evident that on one particular moment he would fall in love with me. And I don’t say it because I’m arrogant or think I’m special – I myself was tempted to fall in love with him and to actually forget about my trip to India and becoming an ordained Buddhist practitioner. But using my reason I could stop this upcoming feeling.
L. didn’t know my real motivation to do all this so one day he completely declared himself to me. It was very passionate in words and I never have been in such situation before, though it was very romantic I was steady in my plans. But I had to explain him what was going on, even if I ran the risk to lose the fresh friendship.
Against all my ideas about guys who fall in love with a girl, who doesn’t love them back, he was completely cool with it. And not only that: L was inspired by me, my decision and the plans I got for the future, so he offered me help. I asked him to help me sell all my stuff in order to have the money for my plane ticket to India and a few days later he had bought me a ticket with his Miles-Programme. Before I could really realise it I had my flight to India for May 2012. The only concern I had was not to have enough money for that, but since my illusory thinking was visualising myself living in a monastery or more general as a renunciant, I didn’t really needed that much money.
By the end of January I got a call from the CEO of a company I worked with in several occasions as project manager. He and the University where he gives lectures decided recently to hold a conference on Ageing Boomers and Social Business and he needed someone to organise it. Are you interested in doing it? He asked and I immediately accepted. Everything was perfect, everything was flowing, I almost had nothing to do for things to appear in my life and I saw it as a sign that I was on the right track.
By the end of February I was already in Germany running the project for three months. Exactly right before my flight to India – from Hamburg – the conference was over and I had plenty of money to survive as a nun. Holiness here I go!
Being in Frankfurt, acting to be a business women, running around in high heels and skirts, trying to be fancy, was fun and I had a good time and experience. Even if I was almost all the time alone, if I didn’t always know how to connect with the students and I found the habits and behaviour of colleagues and people so much different from what I was used to in Mexico and even if sometimes I felt frustrated because things weren’t working out the way I wanted and my boss opted for giving me more liberty than indications to fulfil the job duties, I enjoyed every day in Germany. For sure it was because I knew that it was for just a short time and because soon something bigger would be happen, a life changing event.
In resume: I started the year of 2012 familiarising with the idea of renunciation. I gave away almost all my material belongings – my furniture was given away to my parents or friends, my clothes went to the poorest in the city (the homeless youngsters in the historic centre), some few things I could sell and some few things I would keep in a secure place.
With a backpack and a suitcase I came to Germany. One was full of typical backpacker stuff like Jeans, India-suitable-shirts, traveller kid, survival medicine, etc. The other was full of fancy clothes for my temporary job. But I knew that at the end I would reduce my luggage to the most basic. What would I need as a nun anyway?
I left Mexico, my home, my family, left behind friends; I left behind the comfort of living in Germany, the possibility of a high profile job in the future and the idea of a standard life: Home-job-wife-kids. I had nothing but a few thousand Euros for travelling to the holy places of Buddha, to Dharamsala where the Dalai Lama lives, to get to Nepal and back to India and of course as a buffer for my first years of being a nun.
When I left to India I was homeless, I had only the basic clothes and I was alone.
But I was free.
Free from commitments and possessions. But not at all free from wrong ideas, illusions and wrong expectations.
What has changed since then? What has become of all this after one year?
It took me precisely one year to find a home again. After I found out, that I didn’t want to become a nun, that the Buddhist world I dreamed of was nothing but a romantic ideal in my head, I travelled and stayed in a place as long as I was interested in. I followed the footsteps of pilgrims, I climbed holy mountains, saw the sacred places, I gained a lot of money in the same amount I lost a lot by wanting to help but fell into the arms of a scammer, I was used by people but at the same time I had always true friends on my side – like L – who gave me so much without wanting anything in return, I met false monks, false Lamas, corrupted teachers, at the same time I found many incredible practitioners, spiritual guides and at the end a teacher I would consider my root Lama (Tibetan word for teacher). I saw happy, angry, serious and sad faces, animals and humans in terrible conditions, I saw rich people and tourists with and without behaviour, but above all: when I decided to be alone I met an incredibly loving and adorable person and rescued with him the life of a random sentient being – an event that became the most meaningful of that trip and one of the few unforgettable experiences of my life.
Along the path I learned, that being homeless has nothing to do with not having a place to stay or an actual address, therefore that having a home doesn’t refer to a physical house. Far beyond this limited concept of “home” I understood that being home is where the heart is, and the heart is the place where Buddhists believe the mind is located. And my mind and heart is my home, it’s the place where I interpret the world, where I determine the taste or disgust for something or someone, it is the place where compassion, kindness and generosity are created and emanated, it is the place where we meet in good and in bad moments the people we need for some or the other reason. It is in the mind and heart where we decide to be happy; it is there, at home, where we find security, and once we found our home within us we can let love in. We can then clear the way to the door and thus finally be open to love ourselves and others.
Washington DC on March 21st, 2013
© Kirsten Liliane López Lüke