Buddhist Friend

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Hannah and I were talking about friendship. She has actual friends that she hangs out with. For so long I was in a state of severe addiction. Reading a daily Meditation for sex addicts, I found many of the passages to be about Isolation. Every time I read the meditations, I could not connect to this isolation stuff. There were others that seemed to speak directly to me. Eureka. That’s me. Then the  next day back to a written Meditation about isolation. I could not relate. I am not isolated. I know the people at work well and can carry conversation. My neighbors and I are friendly. During Hannah and I’s conversation, I understood I did feel alone. Hannah helped me see that I was isolated. Our conversation gave insight. I was disconnected. Not present with family or peers. Now I do see in fact that I was on a Island.

During the course of Hannah ‘ s and I’s discussion, we both realized that I don’t have a best friend. A epiphany came to me. Time. Energy. Work. Cultivation of connection. Having a friend takes these things. Addiction takes these as well. Addiction is consuming. There is little time left for anything else.

I decided to make effort to connect with people. We thought about some neighbors that I could ask to hang out. On Saturday I had a SAA meeting. I usually just go on Tuesday, but because of my slip I’ve doubled my efforts. A young man started coming about a month ago. Will call him Steve. Steve’s shares have been profound. His words touched me. Are backgrounds with addition are similar. After the meeting I asked Steve for his number. I called later in the week. Kinda awkward but I feel worth the effort.

Sunday came and I traveled to the Buddhist Temple for the offering celebration. Fear coursed through the vibrations of my mind, body, and soul. Fear paralyzes my energy and thought. Would I be alone during my experience at the celebration. Maybe I should take pictures. “Experience this moment” these thoughts I told my mind during raging anxiety. Walking through the food vendors and enjoying the smells of delicious Thai treats prepared by little old Buddhist women. All slumped over red coals and small flames. Grilling meets on sticks or frying plantains or sweet potatoes in large woks filled with vegetable oil. Rice cookers scattered throughout. Veggies cooked in thousands of year old traditional preparation practice. Food is love. I pulled out my camera to capture these moments. Taking pictures of events of love and offering. Culinary Buddhist beauty.
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Feelings of anxiety persisted. Maybe I should find a seat in the tree line? I took a couple photos of passing monks. Walking into the temple I saw flowers and gifts covering the floor. I walked outside again. Searching I found a familiar face from Wednesday night Temple Meditation. Paul was standing by himself experiencing the event. Total peace in his demeanor. Buddhist prayer beads circling his wrists. Wrinkles of paths of enlightenment carved on his face. I approached. After pleasantries I questioned. Paul’s first responses were all one word. I felt I must continue pulling out response to have a meaningful conversation. Paul peacefulness attracted me since the first time I met him. On that first night at the temple I was surrounded in my bubble of fear, but as time passed I felt comfort. Monks make one feel at peace. As I continued to go to the temple I learned that Paul spoke Thai. I had to make a connection to him in this moment. Soon conversation flowed.  The peaceful elder to began to teach. Wisdom fell like a waterfall from his soul. He explained that coming to a celebration was entering the stream of consciousness and compassion.

We spent the whole celebration together. I learning and Paul teaching. My prayer for a friend was answered. Since the first portion of this post was written, I made it back to the temple. I spent time with John again but also made a new friend.

At each Temple there is one monk that is like the priest. After Meditation we all sit together and talk. I sat next to the monk and we all chatted. As conversation flowed, I learned he was traveling to India in a week. I asked him if he was on Facebook. I wanted to see pictures of India. I thought maybe the monk would post pictures during his trip. He laughed, “Of course I’m on Facebook. Many people follow me.” As he said this he touched my arm . Soon I pads were flying around and smart phones. Typing long Buddhist names. Searching, then bam. New Facebook friend.

As we talked he would brush my arm and smile a laugh. This monk is compassionate and cool. I’m making friends.

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