It was the autumn of 1993. I was at Reading Priory preparing to leave on a trip to Shasta Abbey. My elderly neighbour, Mrs Butcher, had given me a box of Black Magic chocolates as a leaving present.
We, Rev. Mildred and I, were relaxing after evening meditation when the telephone rang. Without thinking I answered with a mouth full of chocolate. ‘Hello this is (gulp) Reading Buddhist (gulp) Priory’! Robust laughter met me from the other end of the line. It was a senior monk from the monastery in America. With a chuckle he asked,’Are you eating a chocolate Mugo’? He was calling about arrangements to pick up me and my traveling companion.
The same thing happened today during a long phone conversation with a fellow monk. ‘Are you eating something Mugo’? Unmoved and unashamed, I responded that indeed I was and what’s more it was chocolate. Particularly fine chocolate as it happened. What a wonderful surprise gift to find in my mail slot after lunch.
I have done a lot of leaving places since becoming a monk. One time, when moving back to the UK in 1989 due to immigration regulations, was a particularly hard leaving. ‘Home’, we would say, is where your Master lives and I had to go. Everybody seemed to be talking about my LEAVING. So sorry you have to leave Mugo. And then I struck on a different word that better described what was happening. Transition. I’m in transition, not leaving.
With very many more ‘transitions’ under my belt, many painful ones, I’ve learnt that ‘home is where ones heart is’. And also where ones original Master lives. That’s no matter where one happens to be, or transitioning to.
6 thoughts on “Transition Chocolate”
Hello Rev. Mugo,
Home certainly is where the heart is and mine aches for the heart of the monastery! Hope you are well.
Every time I visit Throssel Hole Buddhist Abbey it’s like coming home. I think a lot of people feel the same way.
“Going home” has always been one of my favourite phrases for Buddhist practice. Whether it’s “I’m cold, lonely, scared and I wanna go home now!!”, or just that gentle feeling I sometimes get of being closer to home.
What never ceases to confuse me is that, even though I usually feel closer to home when I’m meditating, there always seems to be some resistance in there to getting down to it. It’s not until I jump the hurdle of physically sitting and mentally *accepting* that I’m sitting, that I actually get there. A bit like most things in my life come to think of it. And come to think of it too, bowing helps me a great deal :-)
I can relate to the resistance you describe. It’s as if as a human I resist the very thing which I know helps me. It’s always been this way for me.
And then there are people who love to sit & find no difficulty in getting down to it.
Gosh! Would this be a conversation developing?
Would it be good to develope this thought about home? Spiritual home, going home, being at home, away from home and lost…
I’d like to, yes. It seems to point to the heart of what’s most important to me.
I really wanted to write something more about it, but the subject is so overwhelming I don’t know where to start.