“Autobiography in five chapters”

What am I doing NOW?

Whenever in stress, feeling insecured about the future or repentant about the past, I tell myself to get a hold of the present moment. It helps immensely. It is an amazing thing. In fact in my life so far I barely have come across something more amazing than this! It acts like an SOS to the sleepy consciousness.

And the perpetual loop starts again. Skipping the present it moves from past to future. Another SOS is needed to be sent provided a part of me is remained conscious enough to recognize the loop.

This goes on and on. I feel hopeless. As if I shall never be able to come out of this habit pattern.

Last Sunday after quite a long time I went to my neighborhood library. Greeting the elderly person in the issue counter I made my way through the shelves. As usual I found myself avoiding the popular/ fiction/ new arrival section as I always look for some older and unpopular stuff which are arranged in the corner shelves. They all look same. The same grey cover and uniform binding. So uniform and serious they look that it takes quite a determination to pick any one of them ignoring the others. Some of them have lost their title page. Many of them which have it, tell about so and so who gave the book to so and so, who eventually generously passed on the same to the public library. From such a shelf I pull the one which was full of dust carrying a heavy smell of time and patience. It reads “Tibetan book of Living and Dying” by Sogyal Rinpoche. Nobody has ever issued it. I took the book to the counter.

For last one week I am with the book. Sogyal Rinpoche is a well-known master in Tibetan Buddhism. In a very lucid way he speaks about life, death, beyond death and meditation. He talks about our unconscious habit patterns and the obstacles we face in breaking them. He says that these obstacles are bound to come and quite inspiringly, through consistency of the practice one can win over them….. He refers to a poem. “Worth sharing….” I thought.

“Autobiography in Five Chapters”.
1)  I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
I fall in.
I am lost…. I am hopeless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.
2)      I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again. I can’t believe I’m in the same place.
But it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.
3)      I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
I see it is there.
I still fall in…. it’s a habit.
My eyes are open
I know where I am
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.
4)      I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
I walk around it.
5)      I walk down another street.
This entry was posted in Personal Experiences by Ryan Shelton. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ryan Shelton

While I'm currently married to a beautiful woman while teaching physics at Padua Academy, these descriptors fail to capture the totality of my adventurous life. I have hiked over 1700 miles, traveled to 5 continents, managed a bakery, started a meditation center, counseled troubled teens, attended Duke, UNC, and Harvard, protected forests as a wildland firefighter, volunteered thousands of hours with Americorps, rafted the Grand Canyon, SCUBA dived on the Great Barrier Reef, and continues to find new adventures. I hope my writing encourages you to pursue your dreams and be the best version of yourself while supporting your communities to work together to solve the current challenges in our world.

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