There’s a Buddhist parable I read at some point I think in one of Eckhart Tolle’s books that describes a man who won a gorgeous sports car in a lottery. All of his friends and family expressed their joy and excitement to him, informing him enthusiastically of how lucky and fortunate he was. His response to them was, “Maybe.” Not long after he had won the car, he was driving it and got into a horrific accident in which he suffered multiple injuries and was taken to the hospital. Upon meeting him in the hospital, his friends and family shook their heads and looked at him pityingly saying how upsetting this was, how unlucky and unfortunate for his new car to be totaled and for him to be laid up in the hospital. His response: “Maybe.” While staying at the hospital, there were severe storms that led to a landslide during which his house was nearly destroyed. Again, his friends and family exclaimed how fortunate he was to have been in the hospital and not at home during the accident. His response, again, was, “Maybe.” I remember the first time I read this story, I was in awe of this man’s lack of attachment and his absolute clarity and wisdom that led him to know he didn’t have the whole picture and therefore shouldn’t make judgments.
I began reading Buddhist and Hindu philosophy and texts first when I took a “non-Western mythology” course in undergrad. I found both spiritual paths fascinating, and hey, how often do you get to use the phrase that describes the Hindu religion, “polymorphous monotheism” (I’ve always liked big words). While I didn’t sell my books back after the end of that college course, I also didn’t pick them up much. Until, that is, I was in an Eastern metaphysical type shop a few years later and was absolutely struck dumb by a resin image of who I learned later was Green Tara. I had had no idea that there were goddesses in Buddhism. By that point, I’d begun solitary study of Witchcraft and Paganism, but was still piecing together what my beliefs were (as if that’s something that ever really stops…). I looked Green Tara up and discovered she was the Buddhist goddess of compassion. I learned about how she’d been told by a learned monk that she was so close to enlightenment and wasn’t it such a shame she’d been born as a woman because if she were a man, she could achieve enlightenment in that very lifetime. I read about her declaration to that monk and the Universe that she would only become enlightened in the body of a woman and about her steadfast pursuit from that point on to become enlightened. I chuckled at the idea that the monk had hit what we lovingly refer to in my family as the goddess’s “fuck you” button. I read about how Tara, according to varying texts had anywhere between 21 and over a hundred different forms. Over one hundred different forms of compassion. As I type this, I just need to sit with that, and I welcome you to sit with me. I don’t know about you, but I tend to focus on just two forms of compassion – the squishy, comforting kind and the tough-love variety. Over a hundred.
I frequently forget that I don’t see the whole picture. At best, I have a fraction of a sliver of it, and there is so much I don’t know and don’t see. How much the Goddess and God must adore me to patiently and lovingly listen to me bitch about things not being the way I want them to be when who knows what They have protected me from by imposing on me what, when it comes down to it, is some slight discomfort, inconvenience, and ego bruising! It is so much easier for me to complain and, like a three year old, stomp my feet and wail instead of trusting that, so very unlike me, They know what They’re doing, and They always have my highest and best interest in mind. And what if everything that has been taking place this past year and especially the past few months is really in my best interest to experience? What if it is a manifestation of one of over a hundred forms of compassion? What if I were to stop looking at the situation with my physical eye balls and even if I can’t see with my inner eye, trust that compassion and unconditional love are there at the root of it all?
Last night, our beautiful, amazing, and brilliant ten year old was throwing an attitude around and not following the bed-time directions that we’d given her. When her momma called her out to the patio where the three of us adults were and she tried to explain her rebellious actions, my wife, ever a reminder to me of the Momma, informed her that at that point, she was not interested in her opinion – just her obedience. I adore our little cherub-faced 10 year old and she has an incredible talent for pushing all my buttons in ways that make me want to just shoot right up out of my skin. And Momma frequently shows me how much she and I are alike. As crazy as she some times makes me, how much more crazy do I drive the Momma with my complaining and whining and bitching and moaning and not following directions and, and, and…?
So I’m going to try something. I’m going to try to trust that Momma has my back, that She and Papa not only will take care of me but are currently taking care of me. I am going to try to keep from bitching and whining and tantrum-throwing and pissy-opinion giving and instead quiet myself so I can listen to Momma and Papa’s directions. And then, crazy of all crazinesses, do my best to follow them.