Tuesday, January 6, 2009
I am reading The Art of Happiness written by Howard C. Cutler and HH Dalai Lama and boy oh boy is it blowing my hair back! (Just got a really short hair cut so this is not an easy feat.) I’m halfway through the book and this Cutler guy and the Dalai Lama are discussing the issue of intimate relationships (my favourite topic.) Being that the Dalai Lama was nearly 60 at the time the book was written and having been a celibate Buddhist monk that entire time Mr Cutler was naturally curious about what his holiness the DL had to say on the issue of romance and intimacy. First of all when asked by Cutler if he had ever been lonely DL replied without hesitation “no.” This blew me away. Is he serious? How could a man be a celibate monk treated almost as a deity for sixty years not ever have felt lonely? When asked what he attributed this lack of loneliness to he said: “I think one factor is that I look at any human being from a more positive angle; I try to look for their positive aspects. This aspect immediately creates a feeling of affinity, a kind of connectedness.” In other words every single relationship that HH Dalai Lama has is a meaningful and intimate one and he does not try and put all his eggs in one basket, so to speak, by having only one meaningful intimate relationship as we all try and do in modern society. After reading this I realised how many wonderful “intimate” relationships I have and how lucky I am. There is my fabulous family, those that are immediate and those extended. My crazy Porra guava princess Sonia, JC and the "boys",Chrissy Dudgeon, Cath Hopkins and Cath Daymond, Gox, Fanny, so many other “best” friends, the UCT drama crew and every amazing person I have worked with on every show. I have been blessed to have an “intimate” connection with so many phenomenal people. On the other side of the coin, I have also snogged and got frisky with others who will never have the faintest idea who I am. Strange. The Dalai Lama believes in Love and intimacy but he is not a fan of our notion of romance in western society. He believes it will lead to “frustration” as it is based in “fantasy” and I think I agree with that despite having dedicated so much time, money and effort to finding the “Love” of my life. Funnily enough I think I may have stumbled on the true great Love of my life and now understand that it is supposed to be me, myself, and not a six foot six newly retired rugby player that I would hope to meet in an ashram. Then I took a look at myself and thought, “mmm do I really want to fall in Love with that?” And to be honest there are a few things I am struggling to Love but it’s good to know that for any relationship to work you need time and compromise, even if it is with yourself.
I hope to be the change I wish to see in the world as inspired by the words of the great Mahatma Ghandi. I want a world with more joy and laughter so I should entertain myself and strive to laugh and help others to do so too. Yet there are still mornings, in which the frown on my forehead is so deep that it threatens to chew on the nearest person that bumps into me on the tube. There are a number of practises that I am adopting in order to create this change such as meditation and I have become a vegetarian despite my enjoyment of meat because after extensive research over the last four years I do believe it is more beneficial to the earth and everything on it. I have waited long enough and read enough and it feels right to me but I don’t plan on being a self righteous vegetarian activist just yet as I think choice is a precious commodity. So if it doesn’t bug you then chow that biltong stick with my blessings. I would still love to share my life with an amazing man who would function as an intimate companion as well as a lover. But I also can’t keep living in this fantasy world that dictates that I can only really be happy once I am sharing my bed with an Adonis. I can be and am going to be happy right now with what I’ve got to work with. Or at least I’m going to try! I guess we are all perfectly suited to our imperfections. It amazes me that I got on a plane and flew thousands of miles to another continent and the same person with the same baggage is still with me. Even in Harrods in London the chubby little moffie from Mafikeng is still alive and well inside, struggling to “walk the dog” on his coca cola yoyo. I want to put my arms around him and kiss his cheeks and tell him how delightful he is. Looking at him now it seems an easier task to Love him than I’ve been making it out to be. Especially when so many wonderful people have done it effortlessly over the years. The only true change I can affect is change from within. I cannot make someone Love me for who I am. I must first begin this task and then someone else may decide to join me. That would be fabulous. Two days ago I woke up and it was snowing outside. I had never seen it snow before that very moment and I am almost thirty. I had seen evidence that it had snowed in the Highlands of Scotland as a teenager and I had seen images of it in films and on television but I had never actually seen the magic of snowflakes before that very morning. It felt like a miracle. Part of me had begun to fear that I may never get to see it snow in person but lo and behold there it was on my face after years of hearing it happen only for other people. New things can come into being for me just like the snow. I could master the Art of happiness and know authentic Love in my life independent of money, fame, sex or status. It could just fall into being like a flake of ice from the sky. Anyone who knows me knows that I drink enough green tea that it’s a wonder I don’t share the same complexion as the incredible hulk. Sometimes in the morning happiness doesn’t have to be toned pectorals and a call back for a feature film opposite Hugh Jackman (mmm but wouldn’t that be nice!) Sometimes I can allow myself total contentment in the simple act of a well made cup of tea. As Wendy (one of my “intimates”) says as she eats a biscuit, it’s the little things that can really make you happy.