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Pero Rico vacation (life lesson) 2016

Vacations or a life lesson?

As you should know by now, last week I spent some much needed vacation time in my birth-town of Puerto Rico—a small island in the Caribbean which is part of the US by Commonwealth.

I spent seven days with a dual purpose: To please my wife’s desire to spend time with her family and for me to have some rest from the overwhelming work load that takes to fulfill this endeavor of mine.

After being away from the island for over four years and after having learned “the other side of life” for almost seven years, I found myself in new grounds I had to experience for the first time in my life.

I saw families (and I mean extended families)  spending the day at the beach, camping for a day’s cook out, partying late at night at the streets of Old San Juan while dancing, drinking or simply having a good time.

I saw how people customized their cars with the latest trends, I heard the latest music, the peculiarity of the culture, and so many other traits that made me ponder and observe, rather than mingle, as I experienced it all.

From my new perspective I could see what “enjoying life” meant for them and at a certain level I became the observer in such a way that I could almost taste it.

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Old San Juan Plaza people staring at mobile devices

I could see their meaning of life when laughing at jokes and smart remarks, drinking one beer after the other, playing dominoes, billiard, or staring at their mobile devices looking for Pokemon, the latest Facebook update, Instagram, Snapchat or texting; playing loud music, dancing, enjoying typical foods, driving across the island or walking down the main strips, downtown, and those places you want to be seen.

Its was lot of fun to see and experience firsthand how humanity think, from a new perspective and in an “old place” that now seemed new to me. I felt amazed seeing how people enjoyed life, becoming worried free, and gathering together, to the point that I was touched by how much I’ve changed my ways since my 2011 experience.

But I also felt sadness as I saw how we, humans, thought—not by their words but by their actions. And saw what we, humans, have become by thinking that “you only live once.”

I could feel the self-indulgence in each action and the carelessness for the environment I saw. I could almost taste the lust in the eyes of many, sensed greed from far away, and saw animal cruelty in the hands of the perpetrator and the ignorant as well.

There I was, surrounded by the good and the bad; the humble and the pretentious; the selfish and the benevolent; the courteous and the improper; the moral and the immoral; the hypocrite and the true in many who crossed my path.

How could I help awake humanity in spite of all this? I asked myself many times. And by the third day I was reminded how Gautama Buddha walked away from his family to find himself; how Jesus departed from age 12 to 30; how mother Teresa of Calcutta walked away from her convent to do her calling; and how Mahatma Ghandi abandoned his law practice to become a yogi, just to mention a few.

That doesn’t mean I would become a yogi myself, but that’s how I was reminded that what keeps men from awakening are the many distractions keeping the soul from finding the way back home.

It is not by having one beer after the other that one finds himself. Neither is doing a family gathering or partying with friends day and night. It’s not about laughing at the smart remarks or a joke, nor social gatherings from left to right.

—Crying over a lost loved one will make you more human, but less spiritual.
—Social gatherings will make you be known by others, but not by yourself.
—Bonding with family and friends will keep you close to them, but far from detachments.

Don’t take me wrong. I enjoyed my vacation time and my eyes were mesmerized by all that I saw: I enjoyed most of it…in a different way.

Let me now bring an analogy to help define “enjoying life” from what I’ve learned from the Transcripts: Enjoying life is like having a meal: You may try it, enjoy it, engulf with it, share it, sell it, hoard it or simply try it, acknowledge it, and move on… or abstain.

Let me repeat myself again: Try it—acknowledge it—and move on…or abstain.

I danced, had fun, ate, drank, enjoyed the island…..but also knew my limits; what was good for my body and what wasn’t. I knew what to see and when to face the other way. I experienced life with a clear perspective to what my physical senses were experiencing and saw no attachment to it. I shared time with old friends and family knowing I was just a bystander. Memories of my past were felt like the fragrance of an old perfume knowing it was just a fragrance and nothing else.

No attachments and no expectations. I experienced it all knowing it was just life experienced through the senses.

My patience was tested—more often than expected, I felt the powerful grip of temptation in many occasions, I saw injustice and had to bite my tongue more times than I thought I could.

None of what I saw was new to me, but having experienced “the other side of life” through the eyes of my new consciousness became somehow overwhelming. I never though I could possibly see how disrupted we, humans, had become, through the undimmed eyes of the awakened.

Now I understand the frustration many great masters must have gone through although they all knew what I know: The simplicity behind the complexity; the rebalancing by the law of cause and effect and the limitations of the human mind.

This vacation of mine turned out to be the second toughest lesson I’ve experienced in this lifetime and I couldn’t wait to go back again to the quietness of my mind and my peace.

As I made it to my new sum total of all my experiences since the first movement took form, I ask you to ponder about your life, look around you and awaken to the new reality that is in front of your very own eyes.

Every change starts with you. Stop dragging the inevitable, for the longer you wait the farther you may turn out to be from the path back home.

“Truth is one…interpretations many”—Transcript

—Francisco Valentín

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