The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso was in Maryland yesterday. I know this because my Facebook feed was full of my friends posting pics, quotes, and effulgent effusions describing the nirvana-like peace they enjoyed while experiencing his holy presence and pontifications.
I missed that. So I liked the Dalai Lama’s page on Facebook. Whatever works, right? I confess, at first, I was envious. I quickly awakened to the realization that envy was not the part of the circle in which I should be living, and I made my way round to celebration by quoting the Dalai Lama:
“When you are discontent, you always want more, more, more. Your desire can never be satisfied. But when you practice contentment, you can say to yourself, ‘Oh yes — I already have everything that I really need.”
Exactly. Nirvana is always accessible, it presents itself to us in every moment if we can just recognize it. Lessons are there for the learning in every moment. Lessons like, not only was I not with the Dalai Lama yesterday, I also wasn’t with Cheyenne Jackson and Jeremy Jordan. Look:
But wait – all this focus on what and where I was NOT, can’t be healthy. I need to…… re-think. Clearly, my path is not meant to put me in the presence of the Dalai Lama nor Jeremy Jordan nor Cheyenne Jackson, but, rather, my enlightenment is meant to come from the wisdom of those with whom I spend time, all my Gurus.
Received Wisdom #1: I woke and showered and went to the gym. My workout partner, A, had a session with her trainer, so I grunted and groaned my way through my first workout in a week without conversation. On the way home, A responded to my complaints about muscles aching with; “It would be easier if you didn’t skip a week.”
Lesson Learned: Friends tell you the truths you ignore and don’t want to hear.
Received Wisdom #2: I went to dinner with friends to celebrate one of their birthdays. These friends were named A2, A3, and D. The gentleman who served us was also covering the bar. The following conversation ensued:
A2: Are you working the bar and waiting?
WAITER: Well, the waitstaff got slammed earlier and they’ve been on shift all day. They wanna go home and I’m a team player. Take one for the team, you know? Plus, I like you guys. [Waiter exits scene.]
ME: I wonder what team he plays for?
A2: Not yours.
ME: That’s not what I meant.
A2: That’s exactly what you meant.
ME: He’s too old for me anyway. What is he? 40?
A2: Maybe he has a son.
Lesson Learned: Friends tell you the truths you don’t want to hear and ignore your denials.
Received Wisdom #3: I went for a late-night hang out with another friend, R. I don’t care that much for pancakes; but a pancake joint is about the only 24 hour place around, and the usual waiter was a long-haired sort of unkempt-pony-tail falling down sort of mess, wearing baggy pants that were somehow still tight in the crotch sort of, with shirt un-tucked in the back sort of half-covering a sort of non-existent ass, that sort of slightly un-clean sort of guy whose every other utterance was “man” and who walked with that particularly sort of lazily, casually erotic gait that sort of says, “Yeah man, I’ll meet you, man, out back man, or in the head, man, on my break, man and we can like, man, you know, cool man,” which is just the sort of sort of’s I cannot resist and all of a sudden I was “in love” again which means 1)I would totally meet him out back for ten minutes and 2)that’s never going to happen because I only imagine those things and never, ever let them show, because 3)I am no one’s type and never have been, so 4)I’ll end up making him a character in the latest novel. I said:
ME: I’d definitely do 10 minutes in the bathroom with that waiter.
R: Pretty sure he’s used to being done 10 minutes in the bathroom.
R: This is a huge work-release location.
ME: How do you know?
R: Uhm . . . I’m a (unspecified job which would reveal this info)
ME: Shit. So he’s probably some kind of criminal?
ME: Even better.
Lesson Learned: Friends illuminate for your truths that you sort of wish you could ignore.
I don’t know. Contemplating all this sort of left me a mess. It left me a mess because, the truth was (is) about all the places and things I wasn’t and hadn’t and couldn’t and didn’t get. The truth was (is) I was thinking about the meaning of my having missed the Dalai Lama because it was symbolic of all the other things I felt I was missing or people I hadn’t gotten or things I should have done and songs I should have sung at which I was failing – all of which, in TRUTH, I sort of did NOT want to think about.
Because I wasn’t getting whatever it was I was supposed to get. Or, my idea of what I was supposed to get was skewed. And maybe, after all, THAT is the lesson. It’s okay NOT to get it. And so my day came to an end. I didn’t get to hear the Dalai Lama, I didn’t get self-pic-ed with Cheyenne and Jeremy, I didn’t get to hook up with any waiter, and I didn’t get it. Period.
Received Wisdom #4: In a world so often full of wondering why, the helpless feeling of watching good, loving people suffer inexplicable sorrow you are powerless to assuage, and the mysteries of the symbol you somehow became in stories other people have written which you can’t for the life of you understand, with all the things you don’t quite “get”; there is something so beautifully peaceful about leaving the butter out to soften for the red velvet cupcakes you’ll be baking tomorrow.
Gotta go. The butter is softened and the eggs are room temperature. This, I get.