You Will Get Better or Die!

I got a chance to meditate with friends yesterday. That was nice. I haven't meditated since I got sick with this stomach issue last year. It was good to get back to it. I think I will meditate regularly once I get back to Korea. There is a discipline of doing it that reminds me of dealing with writing. I would like to cultivate that.

Besides meditating, I went out to eat with all my Buddhist friends. They were all quick to make fun of my condition.

"So what can you eat?" one friend asked.

"Uh," I paused. "Not much."

"Can you do Indian?"

"Well," I paused again. "Maybe, some things."

"Saag paneer is not spicy," another friend remarked.

"Here, have some chocolate," another offered.

"I can't have chocolate," I said. 

"No chocolate?"

"No, I can't have anything with caffeine."

"No coffee?" 

"Yeah, no coffee, soda, nicotine, chocolate, tomatoes, onions, fatty foods, or spice."

"Wow," my friend Darreck smiled. "You might as well join the monastery."

"Yeah," I said. 

Once we got to the Indian restaurant, everyone was curious how the condition came about. I explained how it was difficult to take in the spicy food in Korea, and how stress, late night eating habits, and working way too much, may have also been a winning combination. 

"It is a serious condition," someone said gravely.

"I am feeling better now though," I smiled. 

"Yes," Darreck agreed. "You will get better or you will die. That's the way it is."

"Yes," I agreed. 

Then, without pause Darrick, decided on a dish I could eat without spiciness. "You can get lamb biryani," he said proudly. "We will ask for it not spicy."

"Okay," I said. 

We spent the rest of dinner telling stories of drunken stupor or adolescent angst. I told a few eye openers. They were a bit crude. I was unsure about telling some because there was a minor present, but that didn't seem to matter among these Buddhists. They were the real deal. Completely open and real. It was good to be with them. 

"I will see you soon," I said to Darreck when he dropped me off later that night. 

"Take care of yourself in Korea," Darreck smiled.  

Moksha, the friend who I have been staying with the past couple days, walked me upstairs to his apartment. "You had us all in stitches," he said, and patted my back. "Everyone had a good time. "

"Really?" I asked. 

"Oh, yeah," he smiled. "You've been in Korea so long you've forgotten how funny you are."

"I guess so."

Moksha and I stood on the patio for a while. Night was coming. The rain kept touching everything so it seemed like we were in a memory of the present moment. I held up my camera against the wind. I figured I'd capture Seattle's skyline so I could forget.     

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