Today I had lunch with my friend Lex. Lex lives in San Francisco, and has come to El Salvador for a short time for quite sad reasons. His father just passed away after struggling against an unrelenting cancer. Lex is not the kind of person to get devastated by death. He is a Buddhist as well, and although we have different teachers and schools, he has an understanding of impermanence; he rather spoke to me about his feelings and beliefs. How we are caving in to cancer by living such unhealthy lifestyles, eating every and anything, creating false necessities that drive us to lead such stressful lives, forgetting to honor the necessary balance between nature and modern life, and how this leads more and more people to long sad illnesses.
I believe him. I believe my friend is right. He was also quite articulate discussing how the christian frame of mind makes you 'accept' and 'surrender' to 'bad things' instead of taking the opportunity to better ourselves and let our true selves shine. He feels this even more strongly because his mother is also a cancer victim, although in remission. We all hope she will never relapse, and I wish her the will to get over this sickness, to actually vanquish it completely, and to shine brightly over her world.
This topic also brought back memories from long ago, when my own father died of cancer, and how people came to offer their condolences and told me this was 'God's Will'. I remember the rebellion in my heart against a God whose will it was for my father to wither away and die like that... This actually sort of set the pace for my life in this country, to which I had just arrived, but that's a whole other story.
Lunch with Lex lead to many other interesting conversations. I shared my quasi permanent irritation about being here, and not feeling a part of it anymore, especially in areas close to my heart, and he gave me direct and clear teachings, reminding me how to be compassionate with myself and others, how to truly be useful to others and how to actively embody the values I so strongly advocate.
Listening to my friend talk about the loss of his father, about how he worries about his mother, about his love for this Earth we all need so desperately and constantly forget about, I suddenly felt my strength coming back to me, and was filled with purpose.
Ever so subtly, without seeing it clearly, I had done what needs to be done in times of confusion and disturbances. I went for refuge. And I found it.