On the road to Shambala


Wash away my troubles, wash away my pain
With the rain in Shambala
Wash away my sorrow, wash away my shame
With the rain in Shambala

This is the theme song, stuck in my head all week, to the movie “Madison.”  It’s a good movie, by the way, based on a true story about one small-town man’s struggle to try and win the regatta – against Miss Budweiser.   The key scene in the movie is on a rowboat, with Bruce Dern telling the man’s little boy that real heroes are the ones for whom winning doesn’t come easy.  There’s only one winner, and he takes all the glory, but how sweet is that glory when it is earned with years of blood, sweat, and tears.  It’s the mud and grime everyone’s watched you slog through that elicits the most respect when you finally get the trophy.

The trick is to persevere,  even when it seems the very definition of insanity.  Don’t look at the stormy skies and choppy water, or the corporate bucks that take the championship every year; look at what you came here to do, and do it the best you can.

This is the road to Shambala.  According to my wiki search, Shambala is a Tibetan word for purity.  It’s actually a place, and all powers of hell will assail you to prevent you from reaching it.  It is our job here on Earth to rebut those powers and reach our rightful trophy.  It is absolute purity, and it is a destination that can be arrived at.  As a Christian, I know I approach it differently than your average Tibetan monk.  But it’s a really cool concept.  The description I read sounded like what I envision heaven to be like.   I just have to be careful where I tread here.

I find myself too often double-minded, just like the kid in the movie, wanting to stay with my father and his purpose, but eyeing the shoreline for options should I need it.  And way too preoccupied with who’s watching me.  It’s all about focus, and keeping my eyes and mind trained on the goal.

Everyone is helpful, everyone is kind
On the road to Shambala
Everyone is lucky, everyone is so kind
On the road to Shambala

So often, as in the movie, this isn’t necessarily the case.  The road of life is hard enough, with rain and stumbling stones.  But the competition wants to undermine you, too, and  even family and friends can’t believe you’re so hyperfocused on this “stupidity”.  Don’t you understand what this is doing to the family?

Only too well.  I hope the family will come along with me, but this is the road I’ve chosen.  Or maybe I’ve been placed on it, I can’t tell anymore.  But it’s my mission, and I will either attain my goal or die trying.

How does your light shine in the halls of Shambala?
How does your light shine in the halls of Shambala?

Light and purity.  Winning and losing.  It’s all about focus.   “The light of the body is the eye; therefore when thine eye is single, then is thy whole body light: but if thine eye be evil, then thy body is dark.  Take heed therefore, that the light which is in thee, be not darkness.”  (Luke 11:34-35)

I cannot serve two masters.  I cannot strive to win and watch the shore.  I must, at some point, make a decision.  The shore looks so secure: shady trees, sandy beaches, and colorful beach chairs.  Sometime, I would just like to sit and watch the racers go by.  Out on the water, there’s so much danger and vulnerability.  People get killed all the time.  But I came to win, and spectators don’t take the prize.   I am driven by something beyond myself, which dulls the pain of the doubts which plague me.  The road to Shambala is anything but easy.  But I see that these troubles are purifying rains – put here to strengthen my focus.  It is giving in to defeat that will  destroy me.

I read something recently about the devil being the embodiment of evil.  He was not created evil; he chose it.  And each choice down that path led him to the point where there was no good left in him, and he was booted from the rolls of heaven – along with all the angels that followed his lead.  Makes me think twice about free will, and what I do with it.   And how willing I am to toy with the light before and within me.

Troubles, pain, sorrow, and shame are not playthings, and can take me under mentally.   I must not buckle under, no matter how dark those clouds and how hard the rain that beats on me.   And while the trials may look different in my life than in hydro racer Jim McCormick’s, we all go through them in some way.  Everybody understands when you fall down and get out of the game, but when purity triumphs over adversity, failure, and rejection – oh, so sweet is the victory!

But my little victory also brings glory to God.  As a Christian, it’s His team colors that I wear.  I am sobered to notice that I wear his jersey day and night.  Nothing I do is only for me; everything reflects on Him.  How I do it is as important as that I do it.  I may hold the trophy, but the whole team shares the glory.   I must accomplish what has been set before me, and do it with complete purity of mind and heart.  I sense a lot more riding on me than I can see.

Like in the movie, my road is marked by my father before me, and I trust that he will never lead me astray.  The closer I stick to him, his light infuses into me and becomes my own.  But I am all too human.  I know that purity and true light are only possible with divine infusion.

Is my light bright enough to show others the way?  Have I been transparent enough for my children to see what purity looks like in real life, and held them close enough to the source of  light that they’ve caught fire themselves?   Whether I actually get my picture in the paper with the roses and trophy or not, if I’ve spent my life pursuing the Source of all light in all I do, I will find myself in the winner’s circle.

How does my light shine?


2 thoughts on “On the road to Shambala

  1. I have found myself recently in the dilemma of how to let go of what I love and still hold on to it. Oddly enough, it seems that you can’t have it both ways. Instead, I have to find a third way. How to let go yet still be close. This is a double edged sword in that I have to let go of what I love in order for her to find her own path and repair the damage that life has wrought, and still be there as a friend and talk and spend time with her while dealing with the feelings still in my heart. Time will ease many of the issues along with due dilligence on my part to repair my own damage. Point being, you can’t have it both ways. Oh, sure, there is always a middle ground and room for compromise, but a choice must be made. My mantra lately has been, this isn’t what I want, but it’s the reality of the situation and I must accept what is.

    Brenda, you may think the choices you made are your own, but I have a sneaking supicion that those choices were part of God’s plan for you. Accept what is and and run the race to win. Doing anything less is a disservice to yourself and the people close to you. The decisions you need to make may seem untenable, but in the long run, the results will far outweigh the sacrifices made to get there. At least that’s what I keep telling myself.

  2. My decisions are made, but the second-guessing and focus in spite of obstacles is what pulls me under. I just found that clicking on that little link at the top and listening to the tune kept me cheerful and de-worrified for a long time. God’s in charge of it all, and I just need to relax and not worry about jeers from the sidelines or how shaky I know this engine is. I just hope this post made some semblance of sense. Sometimes I wonder if the metaphor hasn’t gotten too thick.

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