During my 2 weeks volunteering stay at Sadhana Forest, Auroville. I gotta know Jonathan, a young guy from Canada. Jonathan always talked with a gentle smile, and had very sincere eye contact. When I first met him, I thought he was around 25, as he was very mature and had his own standpoints and thoughts. However, when I found out he was only 21, I knew he must have a very special life story.
Jonathan shared with me a few paths in his life which made him who he is now.
Jonathan has been a Vegan since 11 years old. He felt like killing an animal is equal to killing a human being. His dad was always a Vegan too, although his mom was a meat eater. However, he believed it is a matter of choice, it was easy for him to have that change cos he always wanted to be one. In his school days, he was being told by his peers he could not be a Vegan forever. They found him weird cos they never heard of the term Vegan before. Jonathan felt pressured eating food which were non vegan. However, he would always say no, he believed in telling why he didn’t eat meat. He found there were blessings with him, as he could stand for himself and stuck to his belief, no matters what was told. He was happy cos he was no longer participating in hunting any animals. Moreover, he saw qualities and blessings he got from being a Vegan, especially perseverance. It paved his path a lot, especially in situations when his friends got into drugs, but not him.
When Jonathan was 18, he thought of going to business and being an entrepreneur. He started a Segway Touring business with his friends. He was really into it. The business went so well and he could really save up money. However, there were some bureaucracy appeared caused by other rich guys from the nearby tour companies, he learnt that it wasn’t the path he wanted anymore. The rich people wanted so much in their lives, houses, properties, helicopters, it was a never ending game. At the end these people weren’t happy. Since then his belief started to change.
Jonathan was not a religious person before. One day he met a Shaman and slowly learned about God. Under supervision from the Shaman, he also took Salvia, a psychedelic medicine made from natural plant, and was invented by the native Canadian people thousands of years ago. They use the medicine as a means to help people and made them realizing things. Salvia is very popular in the West but some people use it for fun. However, after Jonathan took the medicine, he discovered himself and started to see things differently. The effect lasted only 5 minutes but it changed his life. He has become more grateful to what was happening in his life, how pure and beautiful it is to be good to people and do good things to the world. He realized he is a lot more than what he thought he was. Everything in the world is beautiful and amazing. He could learn from everyone and everything, even animals, trees, and rocks. They are all parts of lives. It was really an amazing influence.
Less than 1 year ago, Jonathan broke up with his girlfriend, even though they were together for 5 years. His greed and pride inside were developing, and he didn’t know what was happening. The broke up made him realized so much and he was finally waken up. He felt the broke up was beautiful and he was grateful it happened. If not, he would never be where he is now. It humbled him, and he learnt to be more open-minded and honest with himself, and be more willing to learn and grow.
Jonathan also took part in Vipassana Meditation. It was such an amazing experience to him. Until now, he follows the advised practice from the course, to practice Vipassana Meditation every morning and night. It makes his days more productive, his mind more in peace. He feels so much better, as it heals his body and mind. There was a huge change of belief in his life after he attended the course. Life was always amazing but he just didn’t realize where he was before, now he could realize all of them.
Jonathan’s dream is to be humble and grateful, never stop learning and growing, and to become a better person. Everyday is an amazing day. Everything around him is given to him as a gift. He feels really happy he is living, his future is still unfolding. Every second to him is a new opportunity. He could learn, grow and improve forever, which make him feel so good inside of him. Life is infinite, open his heart, and be honest with himself, because everything around can be gone the next day.
Sometimes Jonathan got bad feelings or felt stressed too, he learnt to just see and realize, not to react with anger or impatience. Just like what Vipassana taught, everything is impermanent. Even though sometimes there may be darkness, it will become bright again. There isn’t anything but present. One can only be in the present. It doesn’t mean one doesn’t think of the past or future. Instead, there is really no need to worry about the future.
Jonathan is really interested in meeting a Guru. He has been researching and found one in Nepal. He likes him a lot and would like to meet him there. However, if it happens it happens. To him, anything can be a Guru, mountain or human, all are parts of nature. Most importantly, it comes from within. There are lessons everywhere, people would keep on having sufferings till they learnt the lessons. He dreamt someday he could reach self-realization, realize who he is, not in words, but to see his oneness, see from ego, and be harmony with the true self.
Jonathan was in charge of the gardening section during his volunteering stay in Sadhana Forest. He shared with me why he likes gardening so much. Take a seed and plant it you will get fruit. You take care of a plant, a plant will care for you too. Nurture and love are in return. Gardening develops one’s patience, compassion, love, kindness, empathy, and generousity. These are all the qualities that make people rich inside.
Jonathan gave me a book in exchange, “The Art of Living – Vipassana Meditation”. He wrote some words to the next person receiving this book:
To whomever may hold this book,
May your life be flourished with real peace, real love and real harmony. May this book help in your own realization and grow your spirit through humbleness. May God bless you.
Also if interested, you might like the teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi.
Jonathan from Kelowna, Canada
15 May 2014
written in Haputale, Sri Lanka
夢想專訪6 – 加拿大素食者的自我實現夢
在曙光村環保森林(Sadhana Forest, Auroville)做義工的期間，我認識了來自加拿大的男生Jonathan。每次跟他聊天，他的臉上總掛著温柔的笑容和真摰的眼神。第一次跟他接觸，覺得他為人成熟，有主見有立場，我猜他應該有25歲。後來，卻發現原來他只有21歲。於是，我更加有興趣採訪這個男生，了解他的故事。
最後Jonathan送給我一本名叫「生活的藝術 - 內觀靜修」(The Art of Living – Vipassana Meditation)的書本作交換禮物，他在書中還寫了以下的文字：
還有，若果你感興趣的話，也可參考「拉瑪那．馬哈希」(Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi)的教導。