Learning to become more human. 

-Jose Zamora, a BA student from Costa Rica

Buddhist doctrine states that events and experiences arise due to causes and conditions, some of these may carry the quality of causing suffering and others may be beneficial and bring immediate good fortune. Ultimately, it lays upon us the capacity to respond to the present given circumstances and make lemonade with the lemons we are handed (or rather handed ourselves). This is the power that resides within the miraculous opportunity of humanhood. However, I will not be precisely expounding on this topic, but will share an interesting story about how blessings, in disguises, later reveal themselves as evident, and somehow baffled me into humility and presence.  

It is incredibly puzzling and paradoxically self explaining too, how the human mind lives everywhere else but here and now. It is also enraging and hard to grasp, how we put ourselves in positions we said we were not going to, again and again. I may be generalizing when I say these things, because it may be something I perceive in myself (and my surroundings) and per consequentiam, in every other human being. However, by observing my surroundings, I notices similar patterns in others, that instead of saving energy, they waste it through heat and short circuiting. Again, so that we can remain in loops, my surroundings may condition me to see things in such a hue, whereas in another environment surrounded by different fluxes of people and behaviors, the standards may be different. Whichever is the case, looping back again, its up to me to make my lemonade, and I am applying my efforts to make my ideals into my standards and eventually my surroundings (most importantly my inner ‘surroundings’ so that I may vibrate such lightness and strength in any surrounding). Anyhow, this is a big introduction, full of ideas and words for something simple and heartfelt that I will now share with you.  

Now, the first month was a disaster, I had to withdraw Kenpo class because I was running out of time and could not manage it all. Withdrawing Kenpo class, Uttaratantrashastra, can you imagine? My hard earned money started to decrease here in Europe (I am doing voluntary work at this school, aka no income), I can’t attend my classes, will probably loose my scholarship, and now I have no idea how I will proceed next semester, what was I thinking when I chose to come here? Things got even worse. It was my partner’s birthday, her last few birthdays have been tough. Now that we are both in Europe, why not make it meaningful? Well, long story short our budget plan crashed and we ended up having to spend a lot for emergency reasons, now we really have no money. So, what is the only option I thought I had? Flee to Nepal with the remaining bits of money and figure out the rest later. I decided to wait for a week before feeding into this impulse and here is when the magic started to open.  

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I am a heavy conceptualizer, that is my personality type, but with a degree of inner conflict as my rising sign is water element and my sun sign is fire, to top it off, my moon sign is air element and nowhere in my chart is there calming and grounding earth. So I am not only a heavy conceptualizer, but one that feels a lot, and struggles to find the balance with these too. Yes I know, relative here, relative there, empty here, and empty there. We can discuss that in another blog post. The fact is that I feel for stability, and that, 3 months ago, would have meant moving to Nepal, getting an apartment, attending live classes and grounding. Initially this is what I intended. Another side of myself, was craving for something new and challenging, and here is where the door to move to Spain and work as a teacher at a fairly incredible school (Shambala for kids) opened up. I took the risk knowing that it would be a challenge with my university classes, repeated my tendency to movement, and ran away from the beloved art of grounding and focusing.  

I realized I could not leave this place. I am working at a school with children from 3-12 years old, and on top of that I am living with two boys, one is twelve and the other fourteen. I start to notice how big of an impact I am leaving here, and above all, how much I am learning from these young minds. These are my gurus! I began to let go and trust. To make lemonade with my lemons, to accept the position I’d gotten myself into, but above all, the hidden blessing that I was trying to run away from, by judging my human experience and learning process! I am surrounded by caring and present families, by children that have been raised in a school that respects them as sovereign beings, these children are uncommon, what I am learning here is precious. These children bring me to the present moment, they shatter my conceptual mind, my monkey mind, my desire to remain in the past or the future, in ideas and fears. These kids require me to be here and now, in their realm of awe and discovery, innocence and faultless learning. These kids require well intentioned words and communication, intuitive and conscious adults surrounding them. They require a lot of energy and play, but also the capacity to provide accretive and respectful love. They require us to be wise, to understand and dive into the human mind, to look into ourselves in a very distinct form. These kids require me to understand myself better, my habits and tendencies, the way I was raised, the beliefs that I hold and the collective as well. These kids require me to comprehend the Buddhist teachings much more closely. The mind, the emotions, feelings, forms, consciousness, compassion, wisdom, the paramitas, all of it comes into play if I want to truly play the role that these small beings require me to! A blessing beyond anything else, to be challenged everyday, and come back home with a filled heart and much to reflect upon. 

Joy, presence, rejoicing, learning to come back into the frequency of play, care and love. My chest is filling with so much that I know will multiply when I finally place my feet on some solid ground, where I can bring into light the surroundings that I am building on my insides, through the many hidden blessings, some not so evident as the challenges themselves, and some obvious yet hard to see for a present-less being like me. Ultimately, a lot to learn and a lot learned, but most importantly is what Buddha has taught us so well and that is to think of all sentient beings and develop our wish to grow for their benefit and directly benefit them. Honoring that, this experience has truly awakened a deep desire to benefit and impact the younger generations, something which has been latent on me but never thought I would directly engage in. I call for all of you to cultivate such a wish and truly pay attention to children, from a respectful and horizontal plane. So much wonder is hidden here, a fountain to be rediscovered by each one of us.  

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