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  • Writer's pictureJames G Yeo

The Author's Corner: The Rein Man

The ultimate power, the creator himself. With one thing that I know is that where I am approaching this essay in a different way. For this is my own take on the Higher Power/the Creator/ God if you will. On any given day I wonder what has created this world and universe and with all that we see, it is hard to imagine that this was just chance. From my own beginnings and what circles around my conception and birth I question why am I here?

I do not want to say that there is no meaning to everyone else’s life because everyone who is in this universe is meant to be here. So, let me start by creating a picture for you. In your mind picture a place that you find peace for yourself by yourself. It can be a place you know or it can be somewhere in imagination if you like. Picture yourself standing there all alone and in full peace, a peace that you have never felt before. Now picture me, I may come as an animal or as something that comforts you. Once you see me the picture will all go into a black abyss.

Now in this black abyss, picture a mountain lake with a waterfall in the distance and the soothing sound of the water splashing on the rocks fills the air. Around the lake is a lush forest with a log cabin on the right bank of the lake. Down from the cabin there is a dock with a rowboat that has a fishing pole leaning out of it. To your left is a garden and you can see a meadow where there are fruit bearing trees. Take a moment to hear the sounds of the forest and feel the gentle breeze that is flowing through the trees. Now, explore the area, I will be on the deck that is attached to the cabin in the swing. Go to the lake, the waterfall, into the cabin or wherever you want to. As you explore, know that time does not exist here so enjoy.

With everything that we do, we all have hopes and dreams for ourselves and somewhere along the path of life we lose them. It could come from when we lose our innocence during our childhood. For me, I lost my innocence at a very young age which made me to grow up quicker than those who I went to school with. It did not happen by an abusive parent, it happened by being bullied for ten years of my life. I lost my hopes and dreams which turned me into a very bitter person for a good many years after I left that town.

It was a time in my life when I move to Edmonton and I invited death because I did not want to deal with the pain of what happened to me. I was lost and walking in the worst area in the city with the hope that someone would end my pain. Nothing happened and I decide to walk home. I was walking up the street to my place when I met someone who would change my life.

This person that I met was a Buddhist Monk and he saw me walking at 4 in the morning. He walked out of the gate of his Monastery and stood in the middle of the sidewalk. For some reason I stopped, and he said, “Young man, you look lost. Not in where you are going physically but spiritually.”

He asked me if I want to have a cup of tea with him. I accepted the invite and went into the Monastery with him. The one thing that made this night stick out for me is that I had gone to the church around eight o’clock before meeting him and the church said that because I did not go to that church, they were not going to help me.

We made our way to one of the rooms and sat down with the tea. He said to me that he knew that I would be walking home but that I needed help that only he could give me. He only said one thing to me and that was, “Young man, tell me what is troubling you.”

For the next four hours I told him what I was going through. Then he asked as he poured out another cup of tea, “Is you cup empty or is it full?” I said that I didn’t understand, and he continued to fill my cup and when it was full, he did not stop pouring. I said that the cup was full for him to stop pouring and he did and he asked me, “Do you understand now young man?” This time I did. What the point he was making me to see is that if your cup is full, you can not fill it anymore. He then asked me the question again and that was when it sunk in. I had to empty my cup before I could fill it again. The emptying of my cup was telling him about what I had been through.

For the next several months that followed I would have tea with him at four in the morning one day a week. Each week he gave me a challenge as what he said was to help me to fill my cup with positive energy.

Then there was the last morning we had tea. We talked or better put I listened like a good student. He looked to me and said, “We have filled you cup halfway. Now it is your turn to fill it the rest of the way. Go into the world now as one with Buddha.”

That one chance meeting changed my life and gave me back my innocence. I had hope and dreams again. It is what helped me through my ordeal when I was in the hospital in Halifax back in January of 2005 when I was diagnosed with Schizophrenia. My cup had to be emptied again and it was my family that helped me fill it back up.

In every day that I get down on myself when I want to give up, I remember the advice that he gave me so many years ago in Edmonton. It was hard to fill my cup after Halifax, but I did not let the diagnosis pull me down. I decided after moving home that I would write and show the society that we live in, that people who have mental illness can accomplish their dreams and goals.

The Rein Man is what I call this old monk that changed my life forever. He said, “Remember me as Chris.” Those were his last words that he said to me.

Remember the only one who is holding you from your dreams and goals is you.

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