I’m in Halifax, presently, visiting my mom.
Halifax is a center for Buddhism in the West, and I’ve been running into all kinds of folks I’ve known all my life. I ran into one gentleman at the Shambhala Meditation Center, today, where we were practicing the beautiful Sadhana of Mahamudra.
And this gentleman asked me if I’d recovered from living at a Buddhist retreat center, as a child—the only child among many adults—a meditation center where children really weren’t, at the time, welcome. Everyone, understandably, was there for meditation, and romance, and to be grownups, to be serious and serious about their fun.
Children were and are as we all know disruptive and annoying and spontaneous and loud and chaotic and…in my case, I was there for a different reason than everyone else (I attended a high school nearby, St. Johnsbury Academy).
So I spent a few years being told to shut up in just about every room I went into. The Buddhist community was like that, at the time. It was all very lids, and not so much flowers.
I was a big loud happy dorky boy, and it took years to recover from that…from that notion that my joy oughta shut up. But it wasn’t traumatizing. And it wasn’t therapy that helped me overcome that sense of shame…for my shame was neither solid nor a source of resentment. It just was something I got to work (and play) on. And, ironically, it was my practice of Buddhist meditation, and the path of Kasunghood, that helped me overcome that conflict between my wildness and others condemning me for being so…”me.”
In any case, this quote meant something to me, when I first read it, and has ever since. I don’t normally go in for New Ageyness, so please forgive me if you find this touchy feely. I don’t. I find it tough, and important and awesome.