Dear India: When Will I Come Back?

We hope everybody had a solid Easter out there in the wide open world. No matter what your spiritual path/religion/culture is, getting together with family to share food, fun, and fellowship is healing. If you weren’t able to unite with your family and friends or you don’t have any family or friends, please write us and we will send thoughts your way.
I (Bob) traveled to India back in 2009, and while I was there I kept two journals. One for poetry and one for prose. After six months, both were full and I was working on seconds. India is the most inspiring place I have ever been both spiritually and artistically and I long to return every single day.
Due to everything that is going on right now in the world, my wife and baby are planning a trip in the fall to travel around our own country, but just below the surface I am seething with desire to bring the family to India and Nepal. Hopefully sometime in the near future.
In the meantime, I will share a poem with you that I wrote while I was there. This was written the day after I finished a 10 day Introduction to Buddhism Retreat at Tushita Meditation Center. It may seem quite elementary to any reader above the age of 12, all for a good reason. My understanding of Emptiness and Interdependence is on a beginner level.
Take care all, and I hope you are writing and smiling!

Dharma Bus

Everything is empty, 
It’s all within our mind,
We create these odd delusions, 
There is no such thing as time.

The tree is not just a tree,
It is the sum of many things,
Sun, rain, and moonlight,
Countless living beings.
Nothing is like we think it,
For we have not thought at all,
Nothing is independent,
Not a birch tree or a doll.
Because we are all empty,
Yes, I am certain it’s a fact,
Entirely interdependent,
I will not fade in tact.

My name and where it comes from
Is a story in itself,
And I shall try to tell it,
While I have my health.
First my parents, they were born,
But before that don’t forget;
Their parents’ parents’ parents’,
Now the story it is set.

So let’s just make this easy,
And start it off with me,
And then— oh yes —I do believe
You will begin to see.

I thank the sperm for traveling,
A path I cannot grasp,
Reaching an egg and fighting,
I am sure it had to gasp.
While Ma was pregnant she ate tons,
The food it fed me, too,
Which came from many places,
Boiled into a stew.

The sun, moon, and stars,
Soil & blessed trees,
Insects, truck drivers, oil drillers,
Factory workers who canned the peas.
People who made the plastic,
Rain, clouds, and sky,
Every object that exists
Came together so I did not die.

After my birth I was cared for,
But never did my parents know,
Where we would call home,
We were always on the go.
Only because our van,
Which was made by many men,
Gas, bars, quarrels,
Forced a split which happened then.

We moved to Nome, Alaska,
To live with Uncle Don,
Airplanes, workers, and food again,
The list goes on and on.
We settled in quite nicely,
And spent there many years,
Ocean, natives, four wheelers,
Sand, gasoline and gears.

For some strange karmic reason,
I was born with hearing shot,
My speech developed poorly,
Tongue always tied in a knot.
The R’s were W’s which meant
That every time I said my name,
“Woberwt” came out— older boys laughed,
All thinking that I was  lame.
Don’t forget their parents’ parents’ parents’,
Or they never would have been,
We are all entirely dependent,
On each other again and again.

After a long day of harsh teasing,
I ran straight home to Mom,
Asking for a nickname quickly,
She thought real sturdy and strong.
“Well Robert, there’s many a’ men 
With a Name like yours
And you know what most of them do,
They go by Bob, to make it short, 
And I’m sure that you can, too.” 

That night I changed my label,
No one could tease me again,
All of these things had happened,
Thanks to billions and billions of men.

We are all one, there is no I,
Quit fighting over useless fuss,
Come on and see, come join the crowd,
Take a ride on the Dharma bus.

Being in India taught me what ritual, faith, and gratitude are all about. This photo was taken 12 years ago, I’ve wanted to return everyday since.

Published by secretgardenalaska

Family of four living off-grid in Happy Valley, Alaska. We grow food, write stories, make jewelry, and live a sober life.

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