The blue-jacketed border patrol agent is bored and more than a little sleepy as he flipped open my passport. Tired, just off a flight from Beijing, I look blankly at him. And I smell awful.
“I live,” I tell him, “in the space between business and spirituality. I live in the place where who we are overlaps with what we do.”
He looks at me, blankly.
“I live in the place where money meets meaning; where soul meets spirit, where the left side of the brain finally communicates with the right, where business meets the spiritual, where meaning finds sustainability.
“My town,” I continue, “is a classic border town where cultures, values, and noises clash and synthesize a whole new experience; a dangerous town, there aren’t enough of us to translate, left to right, right to left, up to down, down and up, inside and out.”
I’m complaining I realize and of course he doesn’t expect that so I quickly add, “but we make do. Sometimes we teach. Sometimes we annotate, cogitate, ruminate. But mostly we just listen.”
There, I think, that’s right.
“Of course it can be draining, exhausting, demanding. Being present in two places, living in the Mandorla of your own being isn’t easy. Poets imply that falling towards the center of your being, melting into the heart of who you are–even if who you are is an interlocutor with a passport filled with visa stamps–is the ultimate existential expression and, therefore, is a step towards enlightenment.”
And then I pause for effect,” But I know that while it may be all that, it’s also tiring.”
“Where do you live?” the Border Patrol agent asks as I step to his plexiglass booth, fresh off the plane from Beijing, just returned from yet another trip into the Tibetan Plataeu. And I dismiss what I’m thinking and tell him my address.
“And what was the purpose of your journey?”
“What was the purpose of my journey?” I repeat, smiling to myself…