22 May 2012

Dear Ed,

Years ago, when I came to Buddhism, I was basically heartbroken because of my disappointing and painful experiences with this love business.

Not only romantic love, almost any kind of human love in me… there was always a painful awareness of the flipside of the coin – rejection, traumatic loss, abuse of trust, impermanence in general, all the feelings too strong to bear that are associated with it.

Thus I felt very much at home with traditional Buddhism, which at its core shuns human love and emotions as inevitably leading to suffering and being a hindrance to one’s spiritual progress.

Four years ago, when I met my girlfriend, I was very intent on becoming a monk and told her so from the beginning. We went through a lot of pain because of my inner conflict between somehow wanting to be in the world yet to be free from it’s painful side. I often left her alone and stayed at monasteries for weeks or even months at a time, leaving her with a lot of pain and uncertainty.

Then came a turning point in my practice, where I became so frightened with what I now think was just becoming more and more empty that I basically abandoned most of my Buddhist practice and became more laid back.

It took some time and twists and turns until I found my old zest for spirituality again – and then I found you.

You talked enough about emptiness that I could accept you as “the real deal”, yet you helped me to allow myself to be vulnerable and open to the world again.

I found many interesting things because of this…

The feeling which I call “I am” basically IS love. Holding on to it, I became so confident that now I can open up much more to the full range of my humanness, feelings and experiences whether pleasant or unpleasant. It’s not so bad after all. It’s as if as long as I know “I am”, nothing poses a serious threat.

Because you told me that my love for my girlfriend is not necessarily a hindrance to liberation I can feel it so much more and also show it to her – silly that it took your advice for that, isn’t it?

Really, that is something so beautiful and precious to me, and of course her also noticed it and reacts with even more love and devotion than she showed me before (which was an incredible amount already…)

I still feel much love for my last teacher, XXXX, and even though my path seems to have changed quite drastically, many things he speaks of and thought me have become my experience only now, after I basically turned away from him. I also feel that without the emptying process before, I could have never come to the understanding I have now.

Perhaps I don’t understand many things you teach yet, but I feel such gratitude and love for you already. Thank you so much.

I hope I can visit you one day… the sooner the better :)



  1. Charlie, this is so beautiful.

    I can relate to much of what you share here.


  2. Hi Charlie, just wanted to say that as I read this letter it was almost like listening to myself talk. I can definitely relate to having a lot of Buddhist ideas about spirituality that have in the past told me to stay empty and untouched by anything. It easily becomes an excuse for being distant and detached at times from those I love as well as from my own emotions. What a revelation that Ed brings in showing that we can embrace EVERYTHING that comes our way instead of fighting the visitors that arrive. Someone recently sent me a Rumi poem that puts this well:


    This being human is a guest house.
    Every morning a new arrival.

    A joy, a depression, a meanness,
    some momentary awareness comes
    as an unexpected visitor.

    Welcome and entertain them all!
    Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
    who violently sweep your house
    empty of its furniture,
    still, treat each guest honorably.
    He may be clearing you out
    for some new delight.

    The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
    meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

    Be grateful for whatever comes.
    because each has been sent
    as a guide from beyond.

    -- Jelaluddin Rumi,

    Thanks for posting this, Ed and for writing Charlie, it's very timely for me!


  3. Thank you, all.
    I love the Guesthouse. It helped me deal with physical pain and I have shared it with many others suffering emotional pain.

    ~ Rick

  4. If you believe you are the body and mind then everything in your life will impact on you. Theres no point artificially pretending that earthly love, pain etc cannot impact you because unless you are seated in "I am" you are living in the dream. The more you can sit in that moment, which is a microsecond after you realised you exist, the less you will react to everyday stuff going on around you. But dont be afraid to enjoy this world and everything in it.......it is not something to escape from! "It is", good or bad, whatever....and as Robert said, every hair on your head has been counted. you are here for a reason, who knows what....thats not important. Dont take it too seriously, love your girlfriend with all your heart, love everything around you, nothing here will cause you harm. Once you have sat in the bliss of your birth ( and death) theres not that much which goes on here that is important.

    Once again......Just follow Ed and Roberts teaching. Find the "I am" sit there and see what happens. thousands of folks writing on these boards who cant be bothered to work on themselves before bombarding Ed with questions which you can answer yourself if you just "follow the teaching" !

  5. To Anonymous:

    If I could substitute "you" with "I" when talking to people, everything becomes much more clearer :D It is really nice technique which can be applied at certain situations. Though, I believe, it reveals itself naturally to everyone at some point or another.

  6. It is good to see that others had or have similar experiences.

    Regarding Buddhism I think it's all to easy to misunderstand in a way that leads to aversion... "THE GUEST HOUSE" is a beautiful metaphor for what is skillful practice.

    Thanks everybody for sharing!