I asked him where the tattoos came from and whether he had been some place that had prompted them.
He said "No, I just make tattoos as a hobby. I do it for other people, too. I don't charge for it. If someone has an idea and they want one, I just give them a tattoo."
"You must feel very creative," I said, "being able to offer this to people."
"No. It's just a hobby," he said. I don't know why I do it."
"Your tattoos are really intricate. Is this what you do after work?"
"Not really. I have alot of tattoo equipment sitting around that I bought years ago. But I don't use it much. Most of the time I spend fixing up my motorbikes and then reselling them."
"How many do you have?"
"Oh, four or five right now," he said. "I've been doing it for quite a while."
"You must be good at it. Did you ever think of making it a business?"
"Not really. It's just something I play around with. It's just a hobby."
No matter what I said to this very generous man, he diminished its importance. If I took something seriously, he made light of it. Unwilling to recognize the deeper impulses operating within himself, he resided comfortably in his own view of what he was about. This view, in its fundamental structure, had been chosen on a soul level prior to birth. And yet its choice also created new opportunities for growth and healing of the very things that involved limited thinking. Thus, his relationship to his inner life was one of the main paramaters of what this incarnation was about.
In relation to healing of any kind, fear, more than anything else, perpetuates the desire to remain unconscious or shut down. Fear of feeling too much; fear of seeing too much. Even fear of having a spiritual life. These fears travel with us from lifetime to lifetime, often unknown to the outer self. As a result, one may choose, for a time, to remain fully immersed in the outer world rather than the inner, and to see everything as "just a hobby."
Soul-mysteries belong to everyone, for each heart has its own secrets, often kept from the outer self. This was the case with "just a hobby." "Just a hobby" means 'it doesn't matter much'. It's not serious'. And so it was that this very kind-hearted, secretly spiritual man passed time, for a while, with things that didn't mean much, before he could allow himself to return again to things that had deeper meaning.