Last summer in Ubud, I happened upon a dessert shop with a drink called cendol. It was a mix of green worm-shaped rice-flour jelly, sticky rice, Azuki beans, and palm sugar, all sitting in thick coconut milk. It looked like the Vietnamese bánh lot, which I love (and it turns out to be though I still wanted to try out the Balinese variant of this), so I asked for it only to be told they were out.
The next day, I came an hour earlier in the day. Same thing.
In my disappointment, I stopped making it a priority, but every few days I’d swing by the place just in case. And each time, they were sold out!
After about the fourth or fifth time, I just gave up. There were so many other things to enjoy there, and I didn’t think about it afterwards.
Last night after dinner—or about ten months later—I was walking a different part of town when I saw a place selling coconut products. At first, I saw coconut ice cream, which didn’t appeal to me, but something about the presentation attracted me enough to stop and enter. Then I saw cendol! It was the same menu with the same chalk drawings and labels in fact! Maybe they had moved? Or maybe it was a chain? I asked if they still had any, really just going through the motions. But they weren't out! I wasn't even hungry, but I now had to get it. Of course I did.
It was good. Nothing out of this world, but enjoyable.
What’s the point?
Over and over, the same point keeps impressing itself upon my experience in this life.
Strong enough desires unattached to outcome come to be.
Oftentimes, they come when least expected, when I’m no longer thinking of them. And when they arrive, they’re exactly what I would expect of them. Nothing more, nothing less. Or rather, the level of fulfillment is in direct proportion to how heartfelt the original desire was. If it’s deeply felt, then there’s a deeper fulfillment. If it’s coming more from some sensory desire or a less heartfelt place, then the experience doesn’t go deep. Like the cendol.
Regardless, they’re rarely if ever worth any of the frustration, impatience, or disappointment I might otherwise experience in seeking and/or waiting, for two reasons: (1) Those desires that stem from deep within are always accompanied by a knowing of their fruition. In other words, there isn't frustration and impatience with those, and its inverse, (2) those desires associated with frustration and impatience aren't worth the trouble by the time they come to be. That is, I’ve now taken frustration and impatience as a mark of a desire stemming from the surface.
So what does this mean?
It means that it’s okay to desire, and it’s okay to want, but it’s also okay to rest and relax, knowing it’s on its way. All of it.
"There is No Truth of Suffering,
Of the Cause of Suffering,
Of the Cessation of Suffering, Nor of the Path." —the Heart Sutra
Here is my reiteration of the heart sutra.
Relax. There’s nothing truly going on here. Just an appearance of things. To make things real is to deviate from the truth of things, and grasping is to solidify that which is insubstantial. In this way, grasping to desire is the cause of suffering, which in itself is also part of the appearance of things ("There is no Truth of suffering..."). That is, seeing into the insubstantiality of suffering itself can be the entryway into the Dream.
But why trouble yourself as such? Why not remain in the knowing of the arising and dissipating of all phenomenon? This is called staying home, abiding in emptiness. It allows for all non-essentials to work themselves out.
And it’s all non-essentials.
Through relying on the Perfection of Wisdom, one can abide. Through abiding, the restlessness of the heart can settle. When the restlessness of heart is settled, everything is allowed to happen. Be on the lookout then because things will happen.
And soon, your heart will fill.
And that too will fade. It just keeps moving.
There’s only one center here. And it can’t be found.
So remain abiding.
This isn’t waiting.