Friday, March 6, 2009

The accidental Buddha

If life in a communist country can be summarized as “living in a zoo cage” capitalist life would be then most appropriately described as “the wild life”
And the wild life has but a simple rule: You don’t hunt you don’t eat!
That means that if you are a new comer to the capitalist jungle and you have no “pack” to protect you, no friends and no relatives to teach and support you, your only help is your welfare check. Until you learn how to hunt you have to live on the crumbs falling from the table of plenty.
Welcome to America!

I spent the first thirteen month of my free life on welfare.
One month, navigating the bureaucratic paper work required for all political refugees coming into the country and just being blown away, dazed and confused of pretty much everything America was; Six month to learn the English language and six month in an ITT vocational school.

I remember running out of money at the end of one month. The hardest month ever.
All I had in the fridge was a couple of slices of bread, a quart of milk and three large potatoes, one for each day until the welfare check would come in.
I would have a piece of toast and a glass of milk in the morning then I would go to school. I would come home at five, bake a potato and eat it with a cube of butter.
I would do my home work and then just lay in bed in order to conserve my energy.
I have never had a harder time in my entire life before or after that.

I have left behind everything I ever had: The loved ones, my family, my friends all my possessions, my language and culture, my country my memories.
Here I was a stranger in a strange country leaving on welfare, three potatoes away from starvation; but I will tell you something stranger even than that.
Those thirteen month of my life as hard as they were, they were the happiest days of my adult life.

I would wake up every morning with a smile on my face. And that piece of toast and that glass of milk would be the best breakfast I could ever want. I wouldn’t have changed it for caviar and foie-gras, because you see those thirteen months I was living on dreams.
Those thirteen months were the months of infinite possibilities. Those thirteen month were the month of miracles and wonder.

I have never been so focused in my life. I have never had such a clear vision, such a purpose and drive.
I was the complete master of my destiny and like a conductor conducting a symphony every note was in perfect harmony every action and every thought was intertwining in a flawless melody.
I had nothing to loose and everything to gain. I was the fountain of my joy and happiness; I was the spring of infinite hope and inspiration; I was complete.

I was walking the streets of Hollywood an enlightened Buddha and I didn’t even knew it.


Val said...

Hi Buddha

There's another question I'd like to ask: how were those 13 months in America different from any 13 months at home?
You had nothing to lose and everything to gain, you say; was it not so earlier? What is there to lose in a Communist country that cannot be lost in Capitalist one? What is there to gain in America that cannot be gained in Europe?
What's that change that made you "Buddha"?

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

A lot of people here are complaining about immigrants coming to the UK with no other plan than to live for free off the benefits system - i'm glad that you have taken the time to improve your standing and work towards a future.

My granddad used to say that in a Communist environment you couldn't say a word against the state without being locked away, whereas in a capitalist state you can shout as loud as you want and no one gives a shit anyway!

The only freedom is in the mind

Chatty Crone said...

Those thirteen months while hard were simple - sometimes the simple times in life are best. The best years of my marriage is when we first started out and struggled. We had nothing. Then we added the cars, the house, the kids, the job - you know what I mean? One worry on top of another.

Not only am I seeing 'spring' here in Atlanta, I too yearn for the spring in the heart. I understand that very much.

We just can never give up looking.

Here's a site for the book.

Best wishes for you to find your spring.

Rachel C Miller said...

I think it is cool that you cared to share a stumbling moment in your journey. Sometimes we have to fall to get up and stand tall.
I was reading the comments, there is no right and wrong, just differences. That is what makes the world beautiful is the variables of our love and how we accept the challenge.
Very enlightening, I enjoyed reading a view of life through your eyes. It reminds me of when I was in school, you learn all this book work and than you get out into the real world and you find its nothing like the book. I find humor in that as people like to follow trends and jump on new wave journey. Life is best when you allow yourself to just be.( Not looking for approval or recognition,but simply exploring the world as it was meant to be) With love in your heart everything is possible... keep love in your heart.

Psiplex said...

Being your own fountain of joy and happiness is the ultimate treasure. Your discovery has already made you wealthy. Big respect Buddha!

One Love

molly said...

Buddha Of Hollywood--

Thanks for sharing this wonderful story. Wow. I was really moved. Where did you come to America from? Are you still walking the streets of Hollywood a veritable 'fountain of joy'. I sure hope so!

Alice said...

That reminds me of how I came to New York City 10 years ago (from Los Angeles) with just 2 bags and no prospects or contacts, staying in roach motels and eating bad food. I remember being grateful for everything and relishing every moment of my new life.

Now I actually have a 'home' that I share with an angel of a husband. Things are more settled and comfortable now, but I remember those days fondly, and with great joy and fondness.

Thanks for your inspiring post!

Aggie said...

It goes to show that "things" are not what makes for happiness. Instead, it is moving positively forward in the direction of our dreams. That is what makes us happy.

Buddha said...

@ Val –Of course there is no difference. It is all Hollywood magic.
So, relax and enjoy the show!

@ Pixie – LOL – I love your dad’s comment!

@ Chatty – I know exactly what you mean. Actually that is my next post :)

@ Rachel – Wow! That is such a nice and thoughtful comment. Welcome to our little discussion, it never gets boring around here!

@ Psiplex – I think everybody one time or another has discovered that fountain.
The question is how you keep it from getting away?

@ Molly – I am only content now and a lot older, still walking the streets of Hollywood :)

@ Alice – Isn’t amazing how hope can change your life?

@ Aggie – That is part of the secret. I’m still looking for the other half :)

The Aleph Point said...

Big Ups man!
It's no surprise to me that you eventually found your way to Zen. One of the things I've come to understand is that its the journey that matters, not the goal: to focus on the now, make the MEANS mean something and not focus too much on the END. During those 13 months, you were forced to focus on the now, and live the journey.
Really cool stuff, dude.

This Brazen Teacher said...

I have experienced exactly what you describe. Only I had moved from Ohio to Miami, Florida. No money, a crappy serving job, and two times the cost of living. I should have been stressed... and instead I couldn't stop smiling. Great story.

LLnL said...

I remember my first apartment: rent $35/month, file cabinet for a TV stand, air mattress for a bed. We did not have a vaccumm clenaner so I would crawl on my hands and knees pickup up lint and dirt by hand. I loved every minute of it. I was proud to invite people over. I did not stress about having to impress anybody. I felt free to be and I believe that their is joy that comes form simple living.

You need a little hunger in your life to be comfortable and motivated.

Talon said...

There is so much joy in much joy in having possibilities...

C. Om said...

Beautiful story. I can relate on many levels.


Brigit said...

We all leave 'home' with the hope of fulfilling dreams. We are all enticed by what somewhere else, another life, has to offer.

Freedom from whatever entrapment we feel is a joyous thing. Wars are fought for freedom, with the winners often having nothing but the release from entrapment