Look. This is your world! You can’t not look. There is no other world. This is your world; it is your feast. ~Chögyam Trungpa
“You may not feel the light, but you are the light.” That’s going to be my topic tonight, I decide. I am outside the studio before sitting, looking at this big December moon, the cold moon.
I vacuumed, set a few geranium blooms in the little vase on the altar. I brushed off cushions, made tea, sifted incense, lit the candle. Now I am waiting. Night becomes so obvious when there is more of it than daytime. I can’t really avoid it. It’s dark all around. I see someone, probably Mike, walking down the alley.
“The moon is trying to come out of the clouds,” he says.
Saturday morning, I’m in my car, spewing thoughts, plans. Nervous about this improv. class I’m about to teach. Then I try being interested in what I see. Trees cut down to stumps along the side of road remind me of my fingernails. The stumps look so cut against their grain. My nails are misshapen and in the way. I usually see this and rip them off with my teeth. Now I am using small clippers, the ones I use on my cat’s nails. The fingertips feel raw and bald, like when my head was shaved. I understand why a new mother would tear the cord with her teeth.
Tuesday, before Yoga class, I talk with Jeanine at her reception desk, in the Mead Town Hall. She comes out from (what I assume is) the bullet proof transparent shield in front of her area, to talk face to face. Even though this morning I woke slightly afraid of leaving my house and the intimacy of strangers, I really see Jeanine. At first glance I am slightly afraid. I’m afraid I’ll get a migraine, that the world will go crashing in, and reality be blocked from me. I’m afraid of the looks of concern, being separate—the one who has the weird ocular vision thing. The one who is not quite right, couldn’t quite make it. Then, I remember everyone has their personal version of suffering.
Tibetan Buddhist master, Chögyam Trungpa says we’re afraid of ourselves:
“We feel we can’t hold ourselves upright. We are so ashamed of ourselves, who we are. What we are. We are ashamed of our jobs, our finances, our parental upbringing, our education, and our psychological shortcomings.”
I pause to look. I know Jeanine went to school for opera and I can imagine her on the stage. And she is sincere and has good politeness and also tells me things about herself that I appreciate—close things. She has a beautiful sculpted face, her eyes and small nose and bright smile. I see the beauty, the light—It’s me too, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to see it.
“We experience glimpses of goodness all the time…When we see a bright color, we are witnessing our own basic goodness. We can appreciate beauty…the best of this world: The yellowness of yellow, the redness of red, the purpleness of purple.”
Consciousness, light, big mind, original nature—It’s there, as I look outside of myself, even though I don’t feel it inside. This is what it is to trust, I think.
Trungpa says: “By simply allowing ourselves to be, as you are, you develop genuine sympathy towards yourself.”
So— I try it.
I breathe in and out. I notice that I am breathing. I let myself be. Letting myself be is so tender. Some of the hardness drops away. I try to feel the light. Inside I feel like a blob— an undistinguished kind of feeling. Unsettled. Not quite right. A covering is over my direct experience—as if there was smeared mashed-potatoes over my skin and they were sort of hardening, and some fall off, and as I breathe, bits of potatoes drop off, here and there.
I take a chance in sounding like a cliché, and say to the small group, “You may not feel the light, but you are the light.” And that’s my five-minute Dharma talk. And we drink tea. And we talk about it, our individual versions. And what we can do too practice this in the world. How we can see, hear.
When we leave, I feel a shift in the atmosphere.
Even this Winter moon is trying to become uncovered.
I think I could plant some potatoes this Spring.