Monday, December 20, 2010

dubai lessons - part 1

I'm a single child and spent a lot of alone-time reading books when I was growing up. Socializing with flesh & bone humans was the least of my needs. In our tiny and very independent household, it was highly appreciated to be self-sufficient and asking help was something only needy people did. So I grew up with some defects in my sharing,helping, receiving cells.

During the Vipassana, there were evening talks about killing ego, genuinely being able to ask for help as well as being able to offer help for the sake of the other person, without boosting your ego. It touched a really deep place. It helped me realize how delicate and inter-connected our behavior patterns are; My inability to receive help fed my illusion of self-sufficiency (It is easier to believe that I am so capable that I don't need help, instead of saying “I don't know how to ask for it”). Whereas in reality, I was probably constantly searching for someone to lean on. Again, because I thought it was only the weak or needy people who needed assistance, my offers of help didn't come from a genuinely altruistic place. I probably liked helping people because it made me feel superior/better/more able in one way or the other. (Ouch, even writing this twists my guts and makes me feel horrible)

Last 5 months, I have been at my neediest. It was like a boot-camp for my ego. I didn't have money, a home, car and the brains to deal with the variety of difficult situations that I've been into. So I constantly needed to ask for advice, money, food, a bed and whatnot. It was like the life of a Buddhist monk in a very capitalist city that has no monks. (Oh well, I still could keep my hair and wearing nothing but an orange robe would be an immediate criminal offense in Dubai.)
Having very little and asking for help was ok in Bali but in Dubai where everyone is rich, able and powerful (or under the illusion of being rich, able or powerful), it felt like hell.

It was so much and too intense for me. There were days I simply felt tired because I needed to ask so many things from different people. The most difficult was when I needed anything from my parents...

It's way too early and too pretentious to say that I've learned my lesson, passed my exam and ready for the next grade. The roots are too deep for me to reach within 5 months only. Yet, looking back, I at least start to realize that my ego had nothing but rough edges and Dubai was my coarse sandpaper.


  1. I was really touched by your writing, you are quite unique in so many ways. Hope you have strength to continue on the chosen path, good luck my friend.


  2. Jarmo, I am lucky to have met you at an earlier part of my life and even luckier that we've kept in touch. Your support has always meant a lot! Please continue to be in our (that is, your angels) lives, no matter what the distance is :)