Dis­cov­er­ing a pur­pose

South Western Times - - FACES & PLACES - Mitchell Wood­cock

ED Cawdell was miss­ing some­thing in his life.

He had a job and he had his health.

But he still felt there was a void and it was not un­til 14 years ago, when he vis­ited the Hospice of Mother Tara that he then found what he had been search­ing for.

The then 52-year-old had al­ways been in­ter­ested in Bud­dhism and wanted to learn more.

“I was work­ing hard and was happy, but there was some­thing miss­ing,” he said.

“There was an inkling in my mind, that I wanted to learn more about be­ing a Bud­dhist.”

Lit­tle did he know, that he would dis­cover a side to him­self he never knew ex­isted, a side which wanted to ded­i­cate his time to help­ing oth­ers.

Now re­tired, the for­mer lawn mow­ing man leads wan­der­ing souls through an en­light­en­ing path, help­ing oth­ers med­i­tate to open and clear their minds.

He started ‘lead­ing’ eight years ago af­ter tak­ing refuge and be­com­ing a com­mit­ted Bud­dhist.

“I don’t ac­tu­ally teach med­i­ta­tions, we call it lead­ing,” he said.

“When the pre­vi­ous leader left to di­rect a Bud­dhist cen­tre in Mon­go­lia, I thought there was go­ing to be a huge void here and I de­cided to lead the med­i­ta­tions.

“I was never step­ping into her shoes, but my­self and a few oth­ers vol­un­teered to help.”

Ed has held a num­ber of jobs in his life­time, and de­spite not call­ing his Bud­dhist lead­ing work, he ad­mits it is his favourite job he has ever had.

“When I first started I was quite ner­vous,” he said.

“But the more I did it, the more I felt at ease do­ing it and re­alised that peo­ple were get­ting some­thing from it.

“I re­ally en­joy it. It has be­come my pas­sion and now I have re­tired, it is go­ing to fill my life quite a bit.”

Ed said Bud­dhism had led him to re­alise he was re­spon­si­ble for how he felt.

“It has given me the abil­ity to work with my own mind to over­come dis­turb­ing, emo­tional thoughts,” he said.

“It makes you re­spon­si­ble for your own life and to fol­low a path.”

Ed said he en­joyed help­ing oth­ers through the power of med­i­ta­tion.

“It helps you con­nect with your emo­tions and when I see peo­ple do­ing that, I get a won­der­ful feel­ing out of it. A great sat­is­fac­tion,” he said.

Ed’s jour­ney has even led him to help­ing pris­on­ers, vis­it­ing the Bun­bury Re­gional Prison once a fort­night to lead a group in med­i­ta­tion.

“I am not pop­u­lar out there,” he said.

“But those who do come along do get some­thing out of it.

“It is some­thing that the ones who come along need.”

Un­for­tu­nately for Ed, he paid a price for his lawn mow­ing ca­reer, de­vel­op­ing adult sco­l­io­sis.

The con­di­tion be­came worse in the past six years, leav­ing him hunched over when he stands.

“I am hav­ing surgery to fix it in April,” he said.

“My goal is to then do more here (at the Hospice of Mother Tara).”

Ed said Bud­dhism was now a part of his life, al­though he only took parts of the re­li­gion in “bit by bit”.

“When I first started here, they told me to take what I needed when I needed it,” he said. “I am a com­mit­ted Bud­dhist. “My life is much more set­tled.”

Picture: Jon Gell­weiler

Ed Cawdell felt he was miss­ing some­thing spir­i­tu­ally. Be­com­ing a Bud­dhist has helped him change his life and given him a pur­pose – help­ing oth­ers.

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