A Simple, Sacred Life
I wanted to write about my stepfather's novel The Temple of the Heart, but I didn't know where to begin. So I decided that the best route would be to take on something huge, something we all have to deal with, like the meaning of life. What is all this for? There are many answers out there. Everyone must find their own. I can only say what life means to me. To me, it is a sacred personal spiritual journey. I did not always think so.
The universe must know that I enjoy theatrical drama, because it sent me an epiphany in a most dramatic fashion. I was walking down a street in San Francisco, fooling myself into false contentment with a lifestyle that was ultimately unfulfilling. The sky was cloudy. I had arrived before daybreak and found myself walking down a steep hill. All of a sudden, the sun came up over the clouds and struck me with the force of the divine. It was the sort of thing I thought only happened in novel or movies - or maybe to the really fortunate. It was the first and only epiphany I have ever had in my life.
I have come to realize that the media, and society in general, teaches us some very harmful philosophies. Fashion magazines and television ads show young women in their formative years that they are not good enough. We are taught to measure success by wealth in America, and we neglect our souls, caught up in the struggle as capitalism leeches our humanity. Last night I was in the martial arts studio, reflecting on the psychological challenges of begin a female martial artist, of wondering how people will see me (overly agressive? weird?) because I too have been programmed over the years in ways that I struggle to comprehend. My reawakening of spirit has seemed a long time coming.
Without my stepfather's spiritual guidance from the age of nineteen on, my young adult years were subject to the unholy influences of a very misguided world. Grief made things immeasurably harder as I struggled for identity and inner peace. My kind stepfather was Richard Albert Anderson, a man of many talents. He was - at various times throughout his life - a Navy man, an art teacher, a state worker, and a Buddhist monk. But beyond his personal background, he was a shining, noble soul - one of those brilliant shooting stars that blazed across the sky and faded all too soon.
He wrote The Temple of the Heart, a semi-autobiographical tale about leaving the monastery to pursue life in all its richness and glory. In dealing with this crazy world, reading it reminds me of my spirit, of the strength of noble compassion and trying your best. Reading his work reminds me not to neglect my soul.
My stepfather's manuscript is now available from Decadent Publishing, with a portion of the proceeds being donated to the American Diabetes Association.
When Joseph Banquo saw that girl come through the gate, it was the end of his life in the monastery.
He had seen her years before in a more innocent time and silently had cast his furtive glance. Now she appeared again. Dressed in a sky-blue sari, she stood by the water on a trellised landing, absorbed in her thoughts. Joseph found himself absorbed in her. Smiling coquettishly, she turned to walk away upon catching his stare and it seemed as if Divine Mother Beauty herself had taken human form. If only he could talk to her, but he was too shy, too hung-up with austerity and discipline, rules and monkish restraint.
What delusion is this? It was a burning desire but seemed so much more, and he wouldn’t admit the power of the physical over the spiritual.
She was forbidden, woman oh woman, but he had begun to notice the female form once more, to not turn his eyes away, to see the languid curve of the supple spine. And the outrush of thoughts after two youthful celibate years had caused him to lose his edge—the wisdom and discrimination that protects the monk. In making progress, in overcoming his strong sexuality, he had relaxed, thinking he had won and that was the end because he found that he no longer had the desire to fight.
Buy from Decadent
Buy from Amazon