Many miles from home, Atalwin Pilon recalls a teacher’s wisdom: Clean up the relationship with your parents and you can do the marriage with your left hand.
Atalwin Pilon is currently on a trip around the world. This is his latest dispatch. To read more about Atalwin’s travels, check out his archive.
Last night I spoke to a dear friend of mine. He made the request for the title of this post so here it is. I wonder what it means. Ideally, it means that I am in the middle of the night of my journey and it will get only lighter from now on. Just allowing this thought to come up brings up many things.
But first of all it means that I am in Mumbai. It is warm and sticky here. But it is less shocking then I expected (or feared). It is a big noisy place with many people shorter than me. People stare at me and the brave ones want to squeeze my biceps. Traffic is chaotic, the auto rikshas are fun, cheap and practical. People are nice and they make funny wobbly gestures with their head what can mean about anything: yes, hello, maybe, I don’t know, whatever, what were you thinking and of course is what I have figured out by now.
I am sitting under the fan and next to the window of a modest apartment in Kandivali. An Indian lady who is also a ‘traveller on the path’ hosts me. Just minutes ago she told me how her inner journey got started. What strikes me is the similarity of our human paths. A less than perfect childhood leads us to bring all our stuff into our first relationship. The relationship fails and we repeat the cycle, hopefully becoming wiser and softer. This happens in Holland, Israel, Lebanon, Iraq and India. And everywhere people have partners who are supportive or who are not supportive. In some way we all have to leave our parental home not just physically but emotionally, psychologically and energetically before we can come home in our relationship and adult life. As a Dutch teacher once told me: clean up the relationship with your parents and you can do the marriage with your left hand.
My friend contacted me yesterday to let me know he is getting married. I am very happy for him and very proud of his step. I am also sad because physically I will be very far away from him and his bride on the day of the wedding. And it saddens me that is not my turn. I feel like I have been put back to the end of the line again.
I cannot say that I am in a very dark place right now. There is a constant sadness about the loss of my relationship but it is beautiful too. Because when I am not confused by my concerns about finding the balance between giving her space and attention and am not trying to simultaneously cater to the needs of my journey and her path I am free to just love. I don’t have to worry if it is too much or too little because it is mine. This feels free. Sometimes it is a blissful love, sometimes it is a sad love, often I wish I could share my experiences with her and often I feel that I am on a good path. I don’t feel I should be somewhere else.
Once I was talking with my Portuguese Dharma brother, who lives with our teacher in France. His pattern in relationships and breaking up relationships is different from mine. I asked him if he ever doubted his decisions. When should one let go and when should one make an effort? He said that he trusts that he leads a good life. I realized that I feel that too. On the surface there might be many waves but deep down there is trust.
I have witnessed a young guy move from being a solitary spiritual being to a devoted family man in 7 years. In some way this is nothing less than a miracle, in another way this is just the natural flow of things. I feel encouraged by his example (and hers). Alles sal reg kom. I am grateful for their inspiring example.