By Klaire Balmas
It is often times in the least likely of places we find the most beautiful things, like say, a dark and dirty Goth/industrial club, which immediately after visiting one feels the need to shower. We all have our own reasons for frequenting a place like this, where the lights are almost off, the dress is beyond slutty, and the music is way too loud; my reason lies some where between nostalgia, friendship and escape.
So for another weekend in a row I found myself in this seedy little club of people, having conversations about gender relations, and spirituality where I could find them, but mainly looking to escape the drudgery of life in the ‘real world’. Yet again the universe decided to backhand me for having expectations, poor expectations about everyone there I did not know. For in this dark place I found Nick Hytinen, a seemingly lost, yet very contemplative young man, who to anyone else might have seem arrogant or uninterested by the people around him. In spite of this, he caught my eye; and, in true girl fashion, I tried to catch his. I played the coy bar eye flirt games, walk past him a few times and try to get him to talk to me-as par experience I dislike making the first move. When I was about to give up, him and I ended up catching each other at a wall, on my way to a smoke. After brief invite to join me, we walked down the stairs to the most popular room in the club, that one that looked as if it was on fire because of the amount of smoke rolling out.
Both him and I had expectations of how our conversation was going to go, slightly awkward at first, introductions, what do you do, oh I work here, kind of a thing. To both of our surprise, we ended up debating the truth of Buddha’s teaching, describing our spiritual awakenings, and finally discussing the importance of meditation to any practice. He began introducing me to his spiritual ideas, and I introduced mine to him. It seemed as if we both spoke different dialects of the same language, as he took to Vipassana practice-simply a type of Thai Buddhist mediation-and I to my more Yogi approach. Now having two people together who know the lingo, and have very little defining to do to one another, leads to a very interesting debate on faith structors. Hytinen and I found ourselves teaching each other about our importance in words and phrasing.
Much of the time the language is over looked, people look to get some sense of a message out, how or how much always an after thought. Nonetheless between Hytinen and myself, it was almost completely about the way we said things and how we said them. At different points in the conversation the two of us would pick at each other for the use of this word, or that phrase; and as much as the two of us would have liked to just pass it off as, oh well, there was none of that between the two of us. So now the universe was not only slapping me for my expectations of people, but also forcing me to grow in vocalization as well. Hytinen and I were caught in a logistical game of words, making us both speak very clearly about our ideals.
“Now heres an interesting scenario,” the two of us thought later. On hand, we were two people dedicated to truth seeking, and we meet at a place that advertised anything but truth. That is not to say there spiritual people do not exist at this club, because I know many of them, but there is still the club-like atmosphere to include in this particular schtick. Even with the above average conversations that will take place here, it is not every day that two strangers will be blown out of the water of their expectations with bar talk.
For the both of us, this was a lesson in expectations, a common theme in spiritual practices. For even the most awakened spirit will find that there are certain certainties that we all feel are entrenched in the world, it is the lesson that these do not exist and only the Prana-or life force-is Truth.
Believe it or not, much of the truth that I have found has been in places like this seedy club. It is the learned taboo from our culture that a ‘polite’ person abstains from speaking on sex, politics, and religion. Yet here I am again at a unlikely place finding one of the most spiritual people of the world, and breaking the age-old taboos of our culture and starting the conversation with, “well I am a Yogi who worships Shiva”.
Of course Hytinen and I exchanged phone numbers and were in contact from that night on. It was a happenstance, to me, seemed to be one of the biggest life savers for the two of us. For as the path to the spirit goes on, there are moments of doubt in the human spirit. Many of us feel as if we have to educate on points, and finding the good debating partner to delve deeper into the ideas of Truth. Finding a person or two, who are in the same chapter, and the same book, can be daunting. I was blessed with many friends who are intelligent, and can keep up with me on conversation, but alas our spiritual paths are different, and to meet someone who was not only educated on my ideals, but on the same path! Whoa!
Hytinen is in a similar place with his life. He is just starting down a path of spirit, and is rapidly changing and growing. He was losing his faith in humanity and connections with people, to some extent; and I was becoming frustrated because many of my friends whom I discuss Spirit with were intrenched in their own lives and asking me why I came to them with every Spirit related question. We both needed a person, in some capacity, to bounce ideas off of and debate.
This is how the universe works, there are moments of doubt and moments of question, but in these moments we find each other in the unlikely places that we visit for the number of reasons we do. Nick Hytinen was looking to let go of his past, I was looking to reconnect with mine; and we found that in some sort of beautiful surrender, a friendship that transcended the likelihood of a seedy little Gothic club.