Light in the shadow

In the light of emptiness we are all one (borrowed from the Prajnaparamita) And yet it is so easy to see ourselves as set apart either in the shadow, unequal, unworthy or the beaming light, out-shining all beings around us, creating the shadows and blinding the seekers.

I had the great fortune to learn a valuable lesson this weekend. One of light and love and room for all. I invited my teacher, guru, learned friend, lama, whatever you want to call him, to my house for lunch. He is quite a famous guy in the world of western Buddhism, so I never expected him to agree as I thought he may not find little me worthy. But he did agree. And as the big day came closer I sent a confirming email, assuming he may need to back out, and didn’t hear back. And so I sent another, the day before the big lunch. And didn’t hear back. So as my mind filled in the blanks and created a story I told myself this was bound to happen and he’s very busy with more important things and people. So I didn’t prepare for his arrival. I worked and played with my son and gardened on the sweltering 90 degree day. And then sat at the kitchen counter dripping sweat, cooling off with a beer when a little voice in my head said “what if, just what if he still comes?” Ignoring it I chatted with my mother in law visiting from out of town and my wife – as I casually checked my email to find an email from said guru. “Beam me in Scottie- I am 20 minutes from your house and need directions.” Shit!! I hadn’t made the promised lunch, beer and chips were on the counter and he was minutes away.

We managed to clean up and throw a blueberry tart in the oven just as he pulled into the driveway. When I greeted him and mentioned that I didn’t think he was coming he was perplexed. “I said I was coming, why wouldn’t I come?” I explained the email exchange and of course there was some technical issue with his email and his responses didn’t go through. But that isn’t the point, the point for me is two fold – what my mind does when something seemingly goes awry, the story I concoct is usually not a positive one. In this case I assumed something/someone more important came up. Which leads me to the second point, Lama embodies equanimity – to him I am a person, just like him. He doesn’t differentiate between beings, he sees the inter-being of all of us.

It was a lesson for me in seeing the light and the shadow as two sides of the same, one not better or worse than the other, not more or less worthy.

If we shift our thinking of light and of shadows and of emptiness we can see it is all one. You cannot have one without the other – thus we can learn to ebb and and flow and make space for the great equanimity of life.

Namaste my friends

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