I knew many things about Rohini’s house long before I arrived – voices, faces, stories, certain parts of rooms. To be honest, I expected it to be more austere or in another way strictly ruled, which very nicely displayed a misunderstanding of mine. As it turned out, the only disappointing thing was seeing how small I had made myself internally. It was ugly to admit; whenever I was in my head, I perceived people who wanted me to be truly happy as enemies. As somebody put it very poignantly for me during a period like that, misery becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. The house, however, turned out to be an extraordinarily cozy and comfortable place.
This was especially true for the living room and the fireplace. People would gather there occasionally and be merry, talk things over, or get to the rotten root of a particular issue, ranging from the personal up to the international scale. The room that meant and means the most to me, however, is the teaching room, which, at least to me, was really the heart of the house. It is a very noble place, and everything Rohini taught me is intimately associated with the appearance and atmosphere of that room.
It thus was not easy to leave the house and the people who live there, as well as those who pass in and out from time to time. I met many interesting people, all of whose skill in their particular areas was just astonishing. I’m grateful to everybody who shared experience or skill with me, introduced me to the less beautiful parts of what I think to be myself, or just took out a little mountain boy to get a glimpse of the United States. I got to see the Mall in Washington, the National Aquarium, Lexington Market, and the Inner Harbor of Baltimore, and spent a very cool day at the University of Delaware. I am most indebted, though, for the things I learned in terms of spiritual practice. I know now what happiness can feel like; I know how to move, and the direction is clearer.
When I finally had to change directions on the physical plane, something interesting happened. Already on the way home, my flight from Baltimore to Philadelphia was unexpectedly delayed. That meant that I only had about thirty minutes to catch my connecting flight back to Europe. This was an opportunity to practice something I was supposed to work on: namely, not being timid. Rohini and the others had advised me the day before that if time was short, I should ask a flight attendant while I was still on the plane. Normally I would have been timid, and tried to come along on my own. I got over myself. The flight attendant told me to catch a shuttle bus after landing to get to the departure gate. I caught the bus and ran a small distance to the gate, where the boarding guys were already awaiting me, applauding. They knew that my flight had been very late and were happy that I made the connection. I was the last one to get on the plane.
The day after I got home safe and sound, I had a soccer game. While I had been in the United States, my club had picked up a new trainer. He doesn’t encourage sadness or acting like timid chickens, qualities that are deep-rooted in the hearts of my team, and which I used to strongly manifest. (That‘s why I got called “Dark Cloud” at Rohini‘s house; or “Yohei”, after the whiny character in the movie “The Seven Samurai”. Like Yohei, I want to be a chicken and hide somewhere in a safe hole.) Funny that, exactly after three weeks abroad, when the tide slowly started to turn internally, a trainer shows up who has the ability to help me. Coincidence? Maybe. Anyway, I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed a game so much.
Also, being with my family feels very different now: much clearer, and more understandable. That’s just beautiful. Though my family is actually pretty humorous, there is a ton of sadness and pain inside these four walls. I always thought my job in bringing up my siblings is to be physically present and help with the work. Yet somewhere over the past three weeks I understood that staying at home and being sad will only model misery for the kids. To contribute something of true value, I have to become happy myself.
May I be cursed (and reborn as a chicken) if I waste what I received in these three weeks at Rohini’s house. I wish my own life to be informed by the experiences I had there…and all will be well.
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