Jaci Stephen: 'As I set off to the book store, I was optimistic about finding Buddhism'

Way Out West

Share
Related Topics

It's a thin line between Buddhism and being a serial killer: that's what I've so far learned in my quest for the spiritual enlightenment that everyone is seeking here.

As someone who believes everything she reads and instantly puts into practice, I was optimistic about my chances of success as I set off for my local Borders bookstore, in search of a calmer life.

After all, I bought Alan Carr's Easy Way to Stop Drinking, and stopped drinking. I bought Blake Snyder's screenwriting book Save the Cat! and came to Hollywood to put it into practice. I don't do things by halves, so try to avoid sections of bookstores with titles like Bonsai for Beginners, as I really don't want to spend the next 10 years fiddling about with small trees in my kitchen sink.

But I'd always rather fancied being a Buddhist. Any religion that had you sitting down with your eyes closed for most of the time had to be better than singing "Bread of Heaven" in a Welsh chapel.

Although I drank my "Calming" Yogi tea in advance, it stressed me out a bit, because no sooner had I started walking than I needed a toilet. I had also taken my calming Kava Kava pills, which have replaced two bottles of wine as a means of soothing my nerves, and despite feeling them regurgitating in my chest, I kept thinking about the good they were doing me and just breathed deeply: calm, calm.

Then I arrived at the store and wanted to knock the head off the small child who was screaming for sweets in the restroom. But calm, calm, I said, as I headed towards the spiritual/new age religion section. I chose about 20 books that were to be the foundation of the new me, and was already feeling very smug in my new skin.

Two hours later, I took them to the cash register, deposited them and asked the assistant to keep an eye on them while I went to the restroom again (note to self: drink less tea). He assured me he would and that I could pay on my return.

So, ablutions once again completed, I returned to discover that my two hours' worth of research was all back on the shelves. "Where are my books?" I squealed. No, if I'm honest, I screamed. Louder than the child. "Oh for goodness sake you turn your back for one minute and your life's ruined and if I wanted this kind of incompetency I'd have stayed in Britain and whatever happened to customer service and look at the time . . ." Calm, calm.

Two hours more again, I had pretty much recouped my selection and re-grouped emotionally. I returned home, sweaty, with, I am sure, high blood pressure, and set about reading Buddhism for Dummies.

The little I knew about Buddhism, I liked, although, with my new 7 stone 5 lb frame (yes, more loss – and please stop asking whether I have anorexia; no, I don't), thought the weight thing might be an issue. You know: did I have to turn into an overweight, squat bloke in order to meditate?

But I instantly took to my new philosophical path and was on the floor, crossing my legs, before you could sing Karma Karma Karma Karma Karma Chameleon.

By lunchtime, I had Buddhism sorted. Off I went to the bank, the calmest I had been in weeks.

Now, despite the efficient service almost everywhere in LA, the one thing my bank has difficulty with is the transfer of money to Europe. Had I asked my guy to pilot the next space shuttle, he could not have looked more terrified, nor been slower at working out the logistics. I wasn't so much tapping my fingers as running them through my pockets in search of a handy weapon that might speed things along.

One fundamental of Buddhism is that pain and suffering are caused through our attachment to permanence, and that when we stop pursuing it, we will be happier. Try explaining that to a bank clerk when his finger is permanently stuck on the conversion key on his computer.

No longer able to stand it, I did what any self-respecting citizen would do and put into action what I had learned from watching US telly. By now, I am sure the LAPD will have got there in time to untie everyone in time for the weekend. Me, I'll be reading The Krays' biography.



To read Jaci Stephen's blog LA Not So Confidential, go to: lanotsoconfidential.blogspot.com

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Regulatory / Compliance / Exeter

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: Exeter - An excellent opportunity for a Solici...

Ashdown Group: IT Support Technician - 12 Month Fixed Term - Shrewsbury

£17000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Helpdesk Support Technician - 12 ...

The Jenrick Group: Maintenance Planner

£28000 - £32000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Maintenance...

The Jenrick Group: World Wide PLC Service Engineer

£30000 - £38000 per annum + pesion + holidays: The Jenrick Group: World Wide S...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Mary Christmas: the Bethlehem story is Mary's moment, when a poor peasant girl gives birth to the Son of God in a stable  

The appeal of the Virgin Mary: A supernatural hope at a time of scepticism

Peter Stanford
 

Letters: Why Cameron is wrong about EU child benefits

Independent Voices
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there