Sunday, October 4, 2009

I don’t pay much heed to my dreams. I hardly remember them any more. Dreams, as far as I’m concerned, are little more than the your brain entertaining itself while in defrag mode.

Which makes me wonder what my PC dreams about during its defrag cycle.

But that’s beside the point. This morning I want to talk about endings…and beginnings…

Early this morning I had a dream that stuck with me. Not only did it stick with me, and I spent the better part of half an hour contemplating it after I woke, because this dream came with a message. The message, I’m sure was lurking around in the back of my mind for some time now, but the dream I had caused it to rise to the surface.

So here’s the dream. Make of it what you will.

I was walking through a large pasture filled with rice seedlings. (Yes, we do grow rice here) and high on a ridge was a ramshackle house. I walked up to it and there was my former BFF, with her father and some relatives of hers. She didn’t say much, although her father talked at length about a great many things, none of which made any sense. All I knew was that I didn’t need to be there. But instead of walking out of the house, which probably would have been the most sensible thing, I walked to the back of the house where an elevator door opened. The elevator was beautiful, glistening gold and red. There was a young woman in it who told me it was out of order but I could go through the little door instead.

And sure enough there was a little red and gold gilded door next to the elevator, small and ornate, like something from Alice in Wonderland. I opened it up and went inside. How did I fit? Frak I don’t know, it was, after all, a dream.

I entered a beautiful banquet hall filled with laughing happy people. My husband and son were there, and everyone was happy to see me. The tables were impeccably done and sitting on a dais on a high throne was a lama whose face I could not see.

That’s when I woke, thinking, I’ve left one friendship behind in search of something better.

And instead of feeling great sadness at the ending of a friendship, I felt happy and content knowing that something much better was heading my way.

In the Heart of Compassion I read this:

In bad company the three poisons grow stronger
Listening, reflection and meditation decline
And loving-kindness and compassion vanish
To avoid unsuitable friends
Is the practice of the bodhisattva

It occurred to me then that your friends don’t have to be criminals or addicts or bad people at all to cause the three poisons (greed, hatred, delusion) to flourish. They could be quite ordinary beings who simply don’t follow or understand and could never understand your desire to advance upon the path of enlightenment, to follow Buddha’s and Chenrezig’s teachings and become true bodhisattvas. It’s not their fault, nor is it yours. It is simple impermanence. And for the sake of your practice, it is best to bless these folks, love them and walk away.

Which is what I have done as of today.

Am I angry with my former BFF? Am I resentful? No not in the least. I still love her, but on a kinder, compassionate level. I’m sure we’ll see each other again and we’ll talk, and I’ll be cordial, but I realize after experiencing the dream and knowing that it means that I’m on a path towards something ordinary friendship cannot offer. And that our paths have finally parted. She has moved on with ordinary mundane things and I’ve moved upwards into a realm that she, bless her, can’t understand. (This isn’t arrogance speaking, she’s already told me so.)

Such is the way of impermanence. We often see impermanence as bad, but more often than not it’s a blessing in disguise. At first I was afraid I’d miss her, her warmth, her friendship, her humor. But I came to realize after talking to JW about it some weeks before that those things had already dissipated, and I was hanging onto the friendship more out of habit than anything else.

And so now is the time to let go. To love, and yet, still let go.

Such is the way of the Bodhisattva. And the path of the bodhisattva is what I strive for each and every day.



  1. Your courage is beautiful!

    Om Mani Padme Hum,
    Lama Jigme

  2. we'll see how courageous I am after my trip to the dentist tomorrow. Strangely enough, I'm looking forward to it.


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