Buddha sat crossed legged on a grass mat. “Ok, sister, let me have it.”
I picked at a corner of my thumb nail I thought… the problem was that I had so many questions I didn’t know where to start. “I’m not Buddhist, you know…”
“Yeah,” he smiled softly. “I get that. Try not to get caught up in labels. Just let it fly, don’t think about it first.”
I mentally reviewed how I managed to be here, sitting in front of Siddhartha… One minute I was rubbing a laughing Buddha belly at the counter of the Natural Foods Cafe, and the next, I found myself in this ethereal forest breathing Nag Champa incense.
Strangely accepting of this surreal moment I leaned forward. “Can you foresee the future? Or are just going to tell me to look within? Because I’ve tried that. There’s not a lot there.”
“So you think there’s a within… and a without?”
I blinked. “Isn’t there?”
He smiled. “I can see the future sometimes… but to be specific, I can definitely see your future now. And here’s the fortune in your fortune cookie: You’re going to live a long life.”
I cringed. The suckage that was my existence stretched into a distant future. This wasn’t exactly good news.
Narrowing his eyes, he continued. “Yeah, a long life. Along the way you’re going to be surprised by yourself. You’ll make some bad choices, some elegant choices, and then you’ll come to a ‘big decision.’ I’m not talking about something like should you take a new job or stay where you are, growing your 401k. I’m talking about life. And death. Bliss.” He settled deeper into himself, closing his eyes. “You’re going to decide if you’ll become … me. And that decision will come up again and again until it gets answered.”
The incense started to burn my eyes. A vibration started at the base of my spine like the singing of a Tibetan bowl. Time was almost up.
Suddenly the light around me grew brighter and brighter. I could barely see Buddha’s outline as I became engulfed in golden flame. “Om mani padme hum, sister.” He opened one eye and winked. “Just remember… being the Buddha is no excuse to let loose on the donuts. A big belly is optional. And one more thing… I believe in you.”
The buzzing sensation grew louder, until I couldn’t think. As quick as a snap, I was back at the cafe. “Well, miss, have you decided yet?” I looked at the cashier, my eyes wide. “Yes.”