I admit that before I personally met Eduardo, I imagined him as a thin, bearded, long-haired man with much inner peace. And that’s how he was. “Ten years ago I decided to renounce a lot of the ordinary things that fill up people’s lives: money, material goods, and always following the mass media…” he says calmly.
He lives in a tiny workshop with wooden walls and a tile roof located in the backyard of a friend’s house, where he makes ceramics for a living. At first glance, he seems to have few possessions: a handful of books stacked on shelves, a sleeping bag, and, perched in one corner, a laptop where he stores more books in digital format, along with documentaries on subjects such as philosophy and meditation.
According to Eduardo, his philosophy of life is inspired by Tao, Zen and the practice of yoga. “My life was in a rut. I wanted to do more and couldn’t; I wasn’t finding a sense or a way to achieve well-being. I learned about the ideas of many religions, but none of them satisfied my inner questions. I decided to practice yoga, and around that time I got a hold of a copy of Tao Te King, the book by Lao tsé, a Chinese philosopher who is said to have been the teacher of Confucius.
That completely changed my life, even though I read it only once and have not looked at it again. I learned how not to dream, not to think about tomorrow; to live solely for today. Thinking about tomorrow only gives you a life of anxiety and stress.” Nevertheless, he makes ceramics that are sold. That is, you do think about tomorrow? You need money? I ask him quickly.
He smiles. “That’s not exactly how it is. I gave up remunerated work; I prefer to exchange. I exchange the money I earn for food or materials for my work. But I don’t think about tomorrow; I’m conscious of the fact that this money is useful for being here, today, now, for living today. Work gives me tranquility and inner peace.”
He wears a pair of brick-colored, paint-stained shorts — his work clothes. I look at his long, grey hair, tied back in a ponytail. He is barefoot, tanned and slim, but not bony. I tell him that he reminds me of the Hindu saints, and he smiles, seeming to like the comparison. He was born in Guantánamo and lived until the age of six in Nuevitas, when his family brought him to Havana. Eduardo eats only fruits and vegetables. He has two meals daily: breakfast and another later on. It seems like he would get weak eating so little.
“I never get sick,” he says mischievously. He devotes an hour in the morning to meditation and another hour in the evening before going to sleep. It seems like it would be hard to lead such a life in a society as busy as ours. Then I ask him about death. “Death is a step to another state of being. Every day we die a little bit. When you are in harmony with the universe everything flows; therefore, you do not experience the agony of death because you’ve left everything of this world behind a long time ago, and you’re living within yourself.
You realize that the energy that people call God is everywhere, in the present, and that you are part of it; therefore, you are also God. I believe in reincarnation, but I would prefer not to return to that world.”