None of us know anything.
Who am I to write a letter that anyone would read? Who are you to bother reading it?
Truth is, of course, I’m nobody. I’m a bag of bones and heart and stardust, as are you, and in however many years—tomorrow, or 50 years from now—I’ll be fertilizer for daffodils, as Robin Williams aptly reminded us in that amazing scene in Dead Poets Society.
It’s a central Buddhist tenet—no one is “up there” on a pedestal. It’s not that we’re all equal, or the same, so much as we’re all unique, and equally fundamentally aok, and so there’s no need to search for wisdom out there.
I’m reminded of my own fallibility frequently: lately I’ve been sad, and lonely, unappreciative of the many blessings in my life, dear friends, past lovers, mentors…I’ve been blue. Sure, I’m lucky and successful, thanks to education and a great mom and the Dharma (which keeps me present, and returns my self-concern to sanity) and a single-minded focus that allowed me to sacrifice 10 years of fun, bbqs, relationships.
I’m lonely, I’m listless, I’m temporarily lost, I’m bitter.
I’m just like any of you—full of goodness, full of affections, full of occasional sadnesses and blind spots.
And so, each morning, I return to the essential. And so, each evening, I return to the essential. I meditate, for a few minutes, or many minutes. And I read a little Dharma. And so my heart remains open, and my eyes remain open, and my ears remain open, instead of buying fully into the whirlpool of ego.
With a deep bow to all, I’ll leave you with my favorite Dharma quote, perhaps, ever. It, too, is apt.
Yours in the Vision of an Enlightened Society,
September 6, 2014.
“The genuine heart of sadness comes from feeling that your nonexistent heart is full. You would like to spill you heart’s blood, give you heart to others. For the warrior, this experience of sad and tender heart is what gives birth to fearlessness. Conventionally, being fearless means that you are not afraid… Real fearlessness is the product of tenderness. It comes from letting the world tickle your heart, you raw and beautiful heart. You are willing to open up, without resistance or shyness, and face the world. You are willing to share your heart with others.”