If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
Why Did Arthur Lose His Head?
On December 19th 2017, two days before the Winter Solstice my Random Dialogue's partner, Arthur Partridge, and I stopped off at the The Medicine Garden in Cobham for a late afternoon coffee.
Whilst parking the car, he seemed disorientated and agitated, arguing with a lady about a parking space, when there were plenty of others to choose from. I remained quiet and just observed what was unfolding. He took a while to calm down and was quite upset by the way he reacted and behaved, later thanking me for staying calm. We didn't know at the time, but this irritability and confusion was related to his deteriorating heart condition.
The Possibility of Courage
Today was the first time I have visited the gardens since and on arrival spotted the above sign: courage. Courage was one of Arthur's values, he used to say 'I am the Possibility of Courage, Love and Vitality'
A Beheaded Buddha
In the shopping area, I also noticed a 'whole' Buddha, and whilst checking the price and tilting him back slightly, his head fell off! Left holding the detached head and unable to balance it back on properly, nor spotting anyone to explain the incident to, I slowly edged away. Friends soon arrived for a Random Dialogues meeting and I told them the story, they discovered quite an amusing and interesting scene. We moved beheaded buddha into the Autumn Equinox sunshine and played with different settings on our cameras to capture the moment.
We were joined by his owner, curious to know what had happened. Over the weekend she explained he had been OK and wasn't in this place.
Your thinking determines actions, your actions determine the result
Feeling strangely embarrassed and uncomfortable to tell her the full tale, I remained quiet. We started to talk and found out she had recently returned from a Buddhist meditation retreat, she thought the broken ornament might be a lesson of some sort. As we spoke, I felt worse for simply not having the courage to speak the truth in the first instance, so told her what had happened, and apologised for moving him.
Practising Non Attachment
In Buddhism Non Attachment ultimately leads to care, compassion and freedom.
Have a search for this, you will see it doesn't mean to be cold, non caring or disassociated.
Perhaps the statue is practising non attachment, and my lesson was not to attach to the outcome of having the courage to speak the truth in the first place! What do you think?
The poem 'If' by Rudyard Kipling came to mind, here is the first verse:
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
On the 21st of December, Arthur shared the note below on his timeline, we had been reading and discussing the book Buddhism Plain and Simple by Steve Hagen and asking our funny Buddhist friend Yeshe Trinley for clarity:
"Reality is something you can see. You can't conceive of it, but you can perceive it"
A Final Farewell
On the 22nd December 2017, after sipping more coffee together and putting the world to rights, Arthur walked back to his car and shortly after, I discovered him collapsed en route, a team of 3 ambulances were unable to revive him. The coroner confirmed the cause of death was a blocked artery.
As we left the Medicine Garden, Arthur and I took this photo of the sun setting. It's a nice memory to be attached to.
Keep Your Head On