I have the greatest privilege of being associated with Native cultures of many continents.. thus satisfying my curiosity and desire to travel and the chance to help them with my medical expertise. these notes are from those travels. I am a professor at the University of Havana
mardi 17 janvier 2017
WISDOM FOR AN ICY CHILLY MORNING
“Wherever you have friends, that’s your country. Wherever you receive love, that’s your home. Whoever gives you love, that’s your parent.”– Tibetan saying.
As quoted by the Dalai Lama.
David Spero RN writes a blog bringing in philosophies from all parts of the world and blending it, making sense of it for our daily living.
This morning he had a note with ten quotes and the one I tagged on to was this one from Dalai Lama.
There is a great attraction to Buddhism among the westerners, especially among the Jews, for its independence in thought, consideration of others, lack of violence and a calm way of life.
It is said that the best known Buddhists in the west are mostly Jews and there is a delightful book called The Jew on a Lotus about the Jewish and Buddhist interaction, which HH Dalai Lama had requested.
I very fondly thought of my Cuban Mother, Lucia, who said to me all those years ago: Most outsiders come to Cuba and fall in love with a Cuban, you have fallen in love with Cuba! The above wisdom from HH Dalai Lama fits to a tee my affection for Cuba and the love that awaits me there.
Now that there is easier methods of communication, I always look forward to affectionate notes from Cuba. This morning already I have received notes from Moa and Havana. One of them beseeching me to cover myself up in the cold weather, a cold that they cannot even imagine.
Time to fix a cup of coffee (powder bought in Cochin) and look at the Yoga Sutra, opening to page III.50
From desirelessness even for that, the seed of conjunction being destroyed, comes Kaivalya
Dr Jayadeva Yogendra has an erudite commentary on it. Kaivalya is liberation or freedom.
While wandering around Barbados, dr FF from Ivanhoe in Melbourne asked me: you are truly trying to be free, arent you?
I had always wanted to free myself of attachments. I even made a list of things you have to be free yourself of and I can tell you that I have manage to be free of most things in that list, compiled such a long time ago, except one which I will explain.
First of all free yourself from the way you look and do not act that is congruous to other eyes to your looks
I am constantly asked whether I am from here or there, to a degree that it has become amusing, still trying to figure out why they think I am a Brasilian when I am in Spanish speaking South America. I also do not strongly identify with the passports that I carry, even though I have tenderness towards Australia, an attachment that took me nearly a decade to get over.
That brings to the second attachment, your nationality or your passport or whatever. I am not talking about a cultural identity, but a nationalist identity, especially those you long for. While I was a student in London, I realized that living there for centuries will not make me English, but may afford me a British passport. Currently my love for Cuba and American Indian is not an attachment but a sign of respect for them. I am grateful for the love shown to me by Cubans and Omaha Indians.
Free yourself of your profession. In USA especially and in the west, your character is associated with your profession. I am a doctor, a Specialist Physician but you will never guess that when you meet me, I have gotten rid of that white coat and the cultural uniform of being a doctor. As my friends know, I love being a doctor, in the sense of being involved in the stories of the people I am honoured to look after, the Indians. When travelling which I do with regularity, I am not very sociable but when someone does ask What do you do?, an oft asked intrusion in USA, I say, correctly I am an Anthropologist and the conversation does not proceed further. With newer model planes, A350 or B787, I request a single seat, affording me the privacy on long haul journeys, one of which is coming up in just one week.
Free of your skin, free of your white coat and free of your passport, the next easiest thing was to be free of family. In countries such as Cuba or the American Indians, this idea would be considered sacrilegious, but to me it was one of the easiest thing to do.
Unlike most people, I never grew up with my parents and when I saw them together for the first time, I had already formed my personality and looked at them as strangers, which they remained for the rest of their lives.
This brings me to the greatest gifts I have received in my life, the greatest of which is that I am a Jew. Other gifts include Being Australian, Being a Doctor to the Indians, Being associated with Cuba. as you can see it is the greatest gifts in your life that you have to free yourself of.
Other great gifts have been friends, some came and gave their love and their kisses and left, nonetheless they were great gifts, others stayed for the journey. From medical school days, I can think of only three who have stayed: MGW, RH and NK. Jamaica offered some of its flavours which I enjoyed but when it came time to leave I left with no regrets, same with Baracoa in Cuba. London, Paris, Brussels, none of them have given me good everlasting friendships even though I enjoy my visits to these places.
Friendships with deep meanings, for me, come from Omaha Indians and Cubans.
I still remember, a Cuban artist telling me: You are not a friend but a tatoo in my heart
So the greatest gift I have received, Je suis Juif, I am not sure I am ready to free myself of that.
Coming back to the Freedom and how to achieve it, I remember sitting at the El Modelo restaurant in Piedras Negras (since then closed, an elegant reminder of yesteryears), Dr San Pedro with his west african accent asked me: can you summarize for me, how to achieve personal happiness
I did not have to think too much
To become happy, decrease your desires, I told him.