Practicing Detachment

January 4, 2010

Playa Las Muertos - as it normally is.

My morning ritual: a café Americano and a walk to a beautiful beach with the unlikely name of Playa Las Muertos, (Beach of the Dead because you walk through a cemetery to get there.) My stroll takes me past a huge tree that is an iguana sanctuary and I espy two giant iguanas perched precipitously above my head. My coffee tastes exquisite; it is as the Mexicans say “muey bonita dia”. (I had learned that this morning from the hotel owner, it means it’s a beautiful day) From Toronto snow, I had arrived in Sayulita on the Pacific coast of Mexico on New Year’s Day. My first day had been cloudy with occasional showers but today was perfect. My walk curved around the beach, pelicans cruised the ocean seeking a snack and the sky was blue. It was exactly what I had been looking forward to and I reveled in the prospect of a quiet contemplative morning in one of my favourite locales. My confidence underwent a shift as I descended the hill surrounded by the ornate graves of the catholic cemetery and heard what I thought was the sound of a Sea-doo. “Surely not” I recoiled, “Not those horrific contraptions here.” Well it was not Sea-doos. It was worse. Two ATVs driven by young girls were careening around this small beach. The senses were repelled as the smell of gas and the incessant whine of the two stroke motors filled the air. I felt my reaction building inside of me. ‘How could they be so inconsiderate? How could their parents allow them to inflict this on the other beachgoers?” My mind became a torment of outrage. I could see myself making a scene “Excuse me do you plan to torture or us for very long because if so I will leave.” I sensed myself wishing bad things on the drivers before retracting such negative thinking. So much for a quiet meditative morning. I picked up my journal and began to describe my angst when it struck me. What a perfect time to try and practice detachment. The Buddha stated that attachment leads to suffering so if I could truly detach perhaps my experience would shift. I lay working with my breath, trying to resist the glow of pleasure when the little girl suffered engine failure and was stranded for a while. In fact the joy of the moment soon paled when a young man took over and began to do wheelies emitting clouds of noxious vapours. However as I worked to let my feelings go it all became more tolerable. Harmony was restored. As more people arrived the circuit decreased in size and moved away from my immediate area and then the two little girls were lured by the call of the ocean and quiet descended. I lay back appreciating the calm, beautiful surroundings; I closed my eyes and relaxed. Peace without attachment. My reverie was almost immediately disrupted. “Boom, boom, boom” a noise like mortar fire disturbed the peace. I looked up. A huge pick-up with massive tires had driven down onto the sand and was sharing its 120dbs soundtrack and heavy bass with us all. Then the two Atvs started up again. Peace was gone yet I found myself smiling. God does have a great sense of humour.”