To the edge of sanity and back

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What if you knew that somewhere along the path of your life, an ultimate challenge awaits? A challenge so extreme it would take every ounce of your strength and every grain of who you are to overcome this behemoth of a battle. Would you face it? And how? Methodically? Foolhardishly? Or not at all? I’ve tried.. in the past, under advice and guidance of teachers from various linages. And time after time, I had failed, retreated in misery and procrastinated since.  Well I’ve put it off long enough. Now it is do.. or die.

It has always been said, that our enemies resurface as our Kin, as members of our families. One whose relationships with us would be both love and hate. And like all relationships, to the wise, the conflict appears in the shape of a rat trap. There is attraction, there is love and affection pulling both entities together, and while there… rippling anger and hatred would brew eventually exploding violently as if someone had thrown a spanner into a well oiled machine. All of which in the end leads to much engaging, retreating, anger, sorrow, lamentation and disappointment in one another. The relationships between me and my mother has always been this way. I was once told that love pictures an innocent little kid dressed in a thick protective jacket crawling in to retrieve his tennis ball lost a thick bushes of thorns.

It is said that any child born on April 18 possesses this conflicting attribute with one of its parents. They simply won’t get along. The extreme differences between the two can often prevent them from seeing eye-to-eye.. And then there is the Disappointment factor. Talk show host Conan O’Brian on occasion speaks about his father’s disappointment in him. He and I share the same animal symbol in our year as well as the same birth date. Listening to him mention said topic at times brought tears to my eyes.

This time however things were different. Information regarding my mother’s heavenly stems (deep psychosis behaviors) and past karmic interactions came to light. We had caused one another to perish on several occasions, accidental electrocution in workplaces for example, one which I died. Another action of revenge on my part, causing her to die while attempting to repair a transformer on top of a telegraph pole. It’s been quite a rallying match of downhill vengeance since then.

Right and wrong, better or worse aside… I’ve always been a lateral minded person, while she a lineal thinker. We clash on that alone. She possesses a strong one-directional belief, rigid discipline and afraid of change, I’m on the other hand molded under multiple masters of various systems, overly flexible and have huge trouble complying to anything resembling authority or discipline. We would clash even more there. She leads most steps of her life with emotions, a loving flash-bang angry individual. I lead mine with bipolaric crazed behaviors leading to pain, to latter reasoning and reflections. All my teachings go to her deaf ears and hers to mine. I am everything she isn’t and vise versa. Perfect, I am not. A good son, I never was. A person filled with gratitude for his mother, I am far from. But still, there is love between us. Her love for me has always been more than I could ever repay. Like I said, this wasn’t about who was right or wrong, better or worse, but our very different points of view. I’m told that in order to love this person, one mustn’t temper with reasons. A blind love is what this challenge was all about. Love her blindly, accept every one of her positive and negative traits without conditions, respect her points of view and above all, take a bow and surrender to the prefect Universe. I knew I would go to hell and back to make good on this challenge. I could very easily lose my mind and my sanity over it. But to repair the years of conflicts between us, to be a good son, to end the negative karmic cycle of this lifetime, let alone the many previous lifetimes of anger, hatred and despair. I would be willing to sacrifice everything that I am. Easier said than done.

Old habits die hard of course… the first month was the hardest. My usual vagabond habits got the better of me. The nature of Captain Malcolm Reynolds of the Firefly class vessel just wanted to go his own way. I complied merely 60% and we fought a lot as the result. Within the two months that we had spent together, I had run away from her six times. My teacher in Canberra and his wife took me in for two weeks. My good friend in the Northshore also offered me refuge. But most of all, the kind Abbott of a Laos temple in Bonnyrigg accepted a ragged refugee monk such as me. I told him straight what was happening. I don’t hide who I am, all my good and evil sides I revealed. Everyone there knew the reason when Phra Mick turned up. “Haha, another fight with Mum eh?” One of the monks said. Mum would occasionally visit me there. She said good things about me sometimes.. and although far apart, we would never miss our daily communications by telephone. Often right after our fights, I would hastily clean my room downstairs in the basement, pack my bags and left like a lowly dog. The temple was quite a fair distance away from home and I often left for the journey penniless. On few occasions I needed to beg a friend for some money for the 3hr buses and train rides. Once I got to the temple, Mum would call and we would talk it out the very same day. I didn’t return home immediately of course.

Meanwhile behind all of this mother & son politics, a dooming situation was brewing in our family. A situation that would require my help and my full attention. I wanted to be with her to resolve it, but our conflicts said otherwise. A few times I returned home under full pressure.

Things however, changed for the better in our third month together. Mum has compromised much towards my many unchangeable behaviors, and I to her. Things still went off the rails sometimes, a sunshine morning could eventually cook up a storm by nightfall. But in the end we worked it out.

I am now towards the end of my Australia trip. The dooming situation is about to pass and we would pass it together with flying colors. Mum and I understood one another much more this year. We’ve grown closer and accepted each other’s demons with more grace. I believe I’ve done my job to a level of satisfaction this time round. This isn’t the end of our journies. There are more chapters to come, and hopefully they’ll be a flowering breeze comparing to these hurdles we both went through. I could say “Why travel to the edge of insanity when you could be completely insane?” Because once the mind accepts, it knows what it has to do. It realizes the damage it would endure and the course of time it would take to repair and return to sanity once more… In the end, it simply accepts.

Thank you for reading…
Unknown Bhikkhu.

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7 Responses to “To the edge of sanity and back”

  1. Namaste PhraAjarn,

    It is a very good story. May I share on a facebook, please. Thank you.

    Respectfully yours,

    Natt

    • Not yet darl, but thanks darl.. let me get mum’s permission first.

      • Namaste PhraAjarn,

        To avoid a misunderstanding of my poor English, please allow me to Thai comment. 🙂

        กราบนมัสการพระอาจารย์

        คุณแม่ของพระอาจารย์เป็นคนดี อย่างน้อยก็ไม่คิดทำร้ายลูกของตัวเอง
        คุณแม่ของพระอาจาย์เป็นคนน่ารัก ปรารถดีต่อท่านมาตลอด
        คุณแม่ของพระอาจารย์เป็นคนไม่โกหก และไม่โกหกลูกของตัวเอง
        คุณแม่ของพระอาจารย์รักพระอาจารย์ในแบบฉบับของท่านเอง เลยดูเหมือนว่าท่านเจ้ากี้เจ้าการ แต่…

        คุณแม่ของพระอาจารย์เป็นผู้มีเหตุผล ท้ายสุดถ้าเหตุผลของพระอาจารย์ดีกว่า ท่านก็ยอมรับ ถึงแม้จะเป็นการยอมรับแบบไม่เต็มใจ 🙂

        พระอาจารย์ในวัยเด็ก วัยรุ่น
        ดื้อและรั้น
        ซนและเอาแต่ใจตัวเอง แต่…

        รักครอบครัวมาก เหมือนคุณแม่เลยคือ รักในแบบฉบับของท่านเอง

        พระอาจารย์ในปัจจุบันเป็นอภิชาติบุตร โยมมั่นใจว่า คุณแม่ท่าน “รู้” และภูมิใจ และโยมเชื่อว่า ท่านเองก็ “ภูมิใจ” ในตัวของคุณแม่ของท่าน

        Love and bond between you and her touches my heart. I don’t have this kind of love from my biological parents. (when I typed this sentence, i feel like i am falling from a top of a mountain.. i am crying…)

        I am very fortunate and honor to be one of your followers. You teach me a lot, PhraAjarn. You are more than meet the eyes, Bhante and I do respect you highly.

        BEST regards to you and your parents.

        LOVE is all around 🙂

        Faithfully yours,

        Natt

      • Hi Natt, I meant I needed to ask mum’s permission first if this post was to hit the shared community on facebook. For this story involves her as well and she deserves to have her say in it. Thank you for all your comments, we all have demons on our paths, some bigger than others. I always reflect on the biggest ones masters had to face both before and after their freedom and although it isn’t nice while suffering hovers over us, but I guess the more extreme our suffering, the more we understand, forgive and able to love the most evil beings. In balance, there won’t be much gain without great loss. May all beings who seek truth find it in whatever situations they’re in 🙂

  2. Ok one thing I need to tell ya. She not just say good things about u sometime. She always say good thing abt u to other but behind ur back. When u turn up she can just flip her mask around and yell at u instead. Haha I know it’s weird. I don’t really get it. But I think it’s Thai elders’ perception, “they think that if u give ur kids or younger one too much compliment. We will think that we r way too good”. So according to this we always feel that we have disappointed them. and this feeling is always pain both sides. And i just want to tell ya abit more. Oz ppl always tell us oh how good we r. lots of compliment and appreciation. But it’s just don’t happen to Thai exp ur mum. She always give me a quick call just to tell me, how proud she is to have u as a son. ” he’s been organized and done everything for me. He is so nice” she say it too often until can remember the line. She even said on the day that both u got back fr Springwood. But when u got up fr down stair she just walk off. So I just want to tell ya that sometime it’s not all about u not making her proud but it’s just her perception

  3. Thanks Phra Ji ) I see you story as a story of everyone’s life and anyone’s relationships. As “In the end, it simply accepts” is the only solution not to make any story that were already baked as it is 😉 to be burnt out.

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