What does a Les Paul guitar have to do with the path to enlightenment?
One might say the stars and planets aligned the day Maggie took Troy to her favorite second-hand shop to introduce him to Abe, the shop owner. Browsing through Abe’s shop, Troy discovers a weathered and dusty guitar case and opens it to find a vintage Les Paul guitar. Troy is a college student and low on cash, so Abe gives him the opportunity to barter for the purchase.
A Vietnam veteran who is well into his sixties, Abe has strength and energy that defy his years. He and Troy spend two long days working together to move furnishings from a home into Abe’s shop. Through conversations that flow from the Vietnam War to Kerouac and to Buddha, Troy learns that there is a way to turn the pain of loss and dark regrets into a path where kindness replaces grief and compassion replaces fear. Although Troy never served in war, he carries dark regrets of his own. Inspired by Abe’s ability to be happy even after the horrors and loss he experienced in Vietnam, Troy is eager to tackle whatever is involved to practice the things Abe teaches him.
Verses from Master Shantideva’s chapters on Conscientiousness and Guarding Alertness provide the backbone of wisdom to the message Abe delivers to Troy. This message is the invaluable guide when another unexpected discovery requires that an important decision be made.
About the Author
Janet Kathleen Ettele is a musician and author who draws from her background as a student of Buddhist dharma to bring its teachings into contemporary practice through her writing and her music. Two CDs, Piano Mandalas and Piano Mandalas – Compassion, are collections of her meditatively improvised music. She graduated from Berklee College of Music in Boston and worked in the entertainment industry until becoming a mother. She lives in Connecticut, where she has raised two sons. How the Root of Kindness Works, the second book in the How Life Works series, is her second writing of fiction.