For the last month there are only two things I’ve thought about, my writing and the Buddhist teachings I try to follow.
Neither of these wouldn’t exist without the other.
When I discovered Buddhism I was a lost eighteen year old, recently honorably discharged from Marine Corps boot camp. My grandmother had just passed away. My grandmother was the one person I felt understood me, at least then. She always told me I could be anything, she’s the only one who told me that as a kid.
Her death effected me more than any other in my life. She was always some one who inspired me and always made me feel better about who I was. No one made me feel okay about who I was as a teenager.
After her funeral I went to a book store to look for something to read, I’d recently read Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice for the first time and was waiting for the movie to come out. I read a few books about Buddhism, I don’t remember the authors. But they got me through a time in my life when I didn’t know who I was, and I didn’t have anyone to tell me it was okay to be who I was.
A few years later I was in that same book store, and I ended up in the same eastern religion section. A book was on an end-cap, it was called “Awakening the Buddha Within” it was written by Lama Surya Das.
When I opened the book I found myself reading a story about someone who had looked for something, like I was. He was from New York, I was from Utah and Wyoming, but I had thought about traveling to India a few times. I never did, and I’ve regretted it every day.
I thought India, that would be great. I’ve read about it, but the path Surya Das took to India, through the Khyber Pass, was much different in the sixties than the nineties.
After reading that book, I found my path, I found who I was.
But, it wasn’t until later, when writing came back into my life, that I truly found what I wanted.
I wanted to be a writer, this was something I’d wanted since I was fourteen, but I’d given it up for the Marine Corps, for a jobs I hated and eventually for marriage and kids.
It wasn’t until writing came back into my life, through my cousin being published, that I talked to my wife about what I wanted.
She told me, like my grandmother did, I could be who I wanted as long as I was happy with the outcome.
My path is set, I’ve only been straying lately.