Tuesday, March 17, 2020

We're On The Road To Shambala

Gracie and I walk through this lawn every day. To tell you the truth, in real life, it's lately been a muddy meadow of sodden soil and spring weeds. But this week, I noticed that precious daisies have begun to bloom. Apparently, Gracie noticed too. 

Hugo Reyes believes he's been cursed.

Sure, he won the lottery and became a millionaire overnight, but since then, seems like nothing but bad things have come his way.

He bought a house for his mom, and it burned to the ground.
His fried chicken franchise got hit by a flaming meteor.
And his flight back from Australia crashed on an increasingly weird tropical island. 

Yeah. That Hugo. Also known as Hurley. The big guy from LOST.

In the episode I watched tonight, Hugo wrestles with this idea of a curse. As he broods, he also finds a decades-old abandoned VW van in the underbrush, hauls out the dead body of one of those Dharma folks, and reckons to take it for a joy ride. 

And here is what happens.

* * * * *

In my enthusiasm for their beauty and miraculous rebirth, I whipped out my phone to take a photo of the flowers. But immediately I discovered that looking down at the flowers through my viewfinder lent me a mostly drab and uninspired vision of the surrounding mud and weeds. Not so cute.  

This scene stands on its own two feet as one of the sweetest bits of film I've ever known.

But the power of the unintended and wildly timely metaphor is not lost on me.

Here we are, in the grips of this crazy COVID-19 epidemic, and our sense of normal is careening down a steep slope at least as fast as that Dharma beer buggy. 

Our world feels out of control, and unstoppably dangerous. 
We'd have to be crazy not to feel at least a little bit afraid.

But there is going to come a moment when we manage to pop our global clutch, start the engine of physical healing and economic recovery, and steer ourselves out of this tailspin. 

Hopefully, we will not come quite as close to crashing as Hugo and Charlie do.

And then, when the wild ride ends, the jams are gonna kick in and we are going to find ourselves spinning in happy circles around a grassy meadow, just like Hugo and the guys.

* * * * *

In that pivotal moment when the rusty, decrepit van sputters into life, the music that suddenly erupts from the 8-track player. is a song called Shambala by Three Dog Night. Not surprisingly, the lyrics are also prophetic and healing.

Wash away my troubles, wash away my pain
On the road to Shambala
Wash away my sorrow, wash away my shame
On the road to Shambala

{In Buddhist tradition, Shambala is a mythical kingdom, as much a visionary and spiritual destination as it is a physical or geographic place. It's a place of deep purity and power.}

Everyone is helpful, everyone is kind
On the road to Shambala
Everyone is lucky, everyone is so kind
On the road to Shambala

How does your light shine
In the halls of Shambala?
Tell me, how does your light shine 
In the halls of Shambala?

* * * * *

The trick, I learned, is to bend down low and tilt my camera at an angle, so that the photo captures only the sweet blossoms and fresh green growth. Beauty is not so much what we see as how we choose to look at it.

You may not feel it yet, but I know that all of this is true. We may feel like we are riding the runaway van of a pandemic and our lives are dangerously out of control. But the lovely truth is that we are on the road to Shambala and I truly believe that when we get there, we will know it was worth the trip.

* * * * *

Read more stories about life with Covid-19 here in suburban Seattle:

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please comment...I'd love to hear from you!