Chapter 1 - A curious mind
I wanted a life different than others and this I got. I can’t say for sure what I expected, but it surely wasn’t this. What I got was a life hijacked by a disease that turned my body into a stranger. Lost in the fog of my disease — I clung to sanity with my fingernails — trying to make sense of a senseless situation. I felt that everything was connected, but now it was all falling apart; imploding into nothingness. Exhausted, with the weight of the world crashing down on me, it was tempting to give in, give up, and drift into darkness. This far out on the edge, the distance between is and was; is razor-thin. I died a hundred times that day like I did the day before, and the day before that. But I kept on waking up to the harsh reality at the ICU. In this labyrinth of forever interconnected series of sterile rooms and corridors; life had somehow managed to find me. Life was there, when I opened my eyes, it was there when my loved ones came to visit but most of all; it was there when my daughter was born.
My journey started by exploring the four corners of the earth. But it gradually took a more internal path as I got progressively sicker and sicker. My multiple sclerosis plummeted down a dark spiral as it turned progressive. This set off a series of ever-worsening pneumonia that led to a thirty-day coma, a year of eating through a tube, and using a respirator for three more. A soul-searching investigation led to thorny questions of faith; something larger than me, something to hang my hopes on, something that can explain it all. I have always been interested in Eastern religions but delayed practicing to another day. Now that other day had come and found me, and I found myself wanting. The road I chose was Buddhism, and for all intents and purposes, I am a Buddhist in training. But sometimes I feel as enlightened as an opaque jar that has been wrapped in duct tape, stuffed in a burlap bag, and pitched into a murky lake. Still, this does not stop me from trying to do better. My mind is constantly curious, crowded, and busy, which is not particularly good for meditation. But in keeping with teachings, I am trying to lead with a friendly heart and an open mind. Being open and vulnerable in the moment and in the worst of them has sometimes been painful but often, more often than not; liberating.
I have been living with my disease for a long time and I would like to share my experience with you. This book is an attempt to string together various notes and memories from the path I have traveled. It will take you deep into my mind, my memories, and my nightmares. From drowning in the pool in the lake to looking for God in a snowstorm, to wearing clothes made from the human genome. Writing this book has been a two-year-long painful psychoanalysis session. I am constantly rearranging my emotional, spiritual and intellectual furniture in order to better understand my journey.