Ondy Willson

Ondy's Story

My past seems, on reflection, to be about navigating a series of stepping stones across a river whose other side is hidden in mist. But like a nasty video game, as I step out, the stone behind me disappears. So that I have to move forward, and the beginning is somewhere I am no more able to return to. Like the past, you can’t go back. That life is a journey is a common enough metaphor, but it seems one that is driven by necessity rather than the wish to get anywhere. This is because we don’t have a map or a destination in mind but merely the experience of being alive and having to get on with it.

This book is a result of my life so far and after I have written it no doubt another stepping stone will appear to take me further across the river. I have had varied experience in life, and can offer up some little wisdom and advice like anyone whose life has spanned six decades, but the wisdom that has stabilised the slippery stones of my grown up years feel more like rocks beneath my feet. There is a map and a destination. I am now landscaping as opposed to being lost in the wilds, you might say.

In 1980, at the appropriate adult age of 29, I landed on a rock that changed the course of my journey. That I had been dogged by misfortune and lost dreams sounds self-pitying in a world as volatile and as full of suffering as ours is, but never the less, it was enough to make me wonder again and again, why, what and how is it all happening and where am I going and what is it all about.

In that year, just leaving behind the assassination of John Lennon and a haphazard career in teaching, I sold my house, gave up my job and moved into a community of Buddhists to be near a Tibetan Lama I had fallen in love with. This asexual exotic monastic appeared to me to be unlike any other human being I had ever met. It wasn’t a romantic kind of love although it delivered as many blows to my ego as any marriage. Yet these smacks and kicks and sound bashing and beating of an image I had spent a lifetime creating, paradoxically left me wanting more, and I’m no masochist. After a session of meditation and teachings about the nature of our minds, I felt the ecstasy time and time again of self-discovery that I can only liken to giving birth after a tough labour. Was I born again? Or had I just woken up from a confusing dream? Whatever it was, I finally felt that this was where I wanted to be, had to be.