This blog has been about my journeys, both here at home and abroad. Recently, I participated in another type a journey, one that took place between the covers of a book.
I am a some-time member of a local book discussion group and this month’s selection was Breakfast With Buddha, by Roland Merullo. It tells the tale of a modern man, successful and suburban, who unwittingly finds himself ferrying a stranger across America on a journey from New Jersey to North Dakota. The stranger is considered by many to be a great teacher, a mystic and a seer. The protagonist is having none of it, of course, which is what makes the story of their travels together interesting.
Some might find the plot predictable – along the way, the stranger teaches his travelling companion the meaning of life, which comes down to a very simple concept, namely……well, you will have to read the book yourself to find out!
It’s a spiritual journey, told in simple and often funny terms. It suggests that happiness is best found when we are internally based, that is, when we focus on the world within us rather than the trappings of so-called success – what car we drive, how big our home is or how many of them we have, where we went to college, how much money we have – that are the hallmarks of externally based people. And it suggests that we are all teachers and all pupils on the voyage of self-discovery we call “life”. I hope Mr. Merullo will not be displeased if I compare his words and thoughts with a those of a certain song writer who influenced a lot of people my age:
Imagine there’s no heaven. It’s easy if you try.
No hell below us. Above us only sky.
Imagine all the people, living for today…
Imagine there’s no countries. It isn’t hard to do.
Nothing to kill or die for. And no religion too.
Imagine all the people, living life in peace…
Imagine no possessions. I wonder if you can.
No need for greed or hunger. A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people, sharing all the world…
You may say I’m a dreamer. But I’m not the only one.
I hope someday you’ll join us. And the world will live as one.
Reading Breakfast With Buddha has been a transformative experience for me. Yesterday, I didn’t yell at a driver who cut me off in traffic. This morning, I elected to practice transcendental meditation – something I haven’t done in over 30 years. And tonight, at 7:42 p.m., I will be sitting on my back deck with my wife and granddaughter watching the full moon rise over the lake.
Perhaps someday you will join us?