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Lions Roar : September 2005
SHAMBHALA SUN SEPTEMBER 2005 67 so on. We meditated a lot together and continued the breath work with further martial arts training, and once again we drew closer. Then I left for the retreat with Thich Nhat Hanh. Alexander saw me off at the airport and the real test, both for him and for me, began. He had to choose how he wanted to walk through life, and I had to allow him the freedom to choose. IT HAS BEEN A FEW YEARS since the day I left Alexander at the Glasgow air- port at a critical juncture in his life. His progress after our intensive time together was not unlike how it has been for so many young people—two steps forward and one step back. Yet the alternatives were very clear to him as he began to place his life within a different orbit. Several years later, the new trajectory of his life took him and his Irish girlfriend to Vietnam and Cambodia, where they touched base with Buddhist sites and temples. They grew closer and now have a beautiful baby daughter. The responsi- bilities of parenthood sit well with them. The seeds from The Miracle of Mindfulness and our adventure in Glasgow continue to be watered. In the midst of Punk Palace and the Glasgow drug world, I learned firsthand that when all else fails there is still mindfulness. It can work miracles, as the title of Thich Nhat Hanh’s book suggested. In the midst of squalor, alienation, and despair, my son and I found humor, goodness, and wonderful surprises. I discovered that when we stop discriminating against others, we can know wholeness. “Interbeing”— one of Thich Nhat Hanh’s central prin- ciples—has became so much more than a good idea. If what we seek cannot be found in Punk Palace, it is doubtful we will find it at all. © IAN PRATTIS is a dharmacharya in the Engaged Buddhist tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh, and gives talks and leads retreats in Europe, India, and North and South America. He is the author of The Essential Spiral: Ecology and Consciousness After 9/11 and the forthcoming The Buddha at the Gate.