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Lions Roar : November 2015
She was so embarrassed that she avoided talking in public for decades. At some moment, under the giddy influence of koans, she thought of amplifying her shame instead of squashing it. “What if it’s part of being me?” she thought. Excitedly she asked herself: “What if I should be more ashamed?” She went looking for more things to be ashamed of. “What is it with my voice? And I’m short and my nose is too big. Definitely I should be more ashamed.” After we all fell about laughing on hearing this, her voice sounded a lot clearer to me. Or perhaps I could hear her because everything around her was more intimate. This had a follow-up effect. She had a grandchild coming, and an ultrasound indicated the girl had a cleft lip. She worried and worried that the child would not be okay, just the way she had worried about her own voice. In the course of things, the child came and everyone loved her. It was a bit hard for the baby to nurse, and that was all. The father, an engineer, turned out to enjoy making baby dresses. Making Friends with Reality. Ultimately, we can come to no final assessment of our lives. We just have them. We are enough. Then it’s easy to love other people and the trees and birds. Making friends with yourself is making friends with reality. We lose the mind that is afraid and criticizing everything in order to make it conceivable. We lose that mind because it is too confining and it makes things, well, conceivable. The circumstances of this life go all the way back to the beginning of the big bang and all the way out to the farthest galaxy. A calm presence is looking out through our eyes and recognizing itself in everything we see. Of all the things we might be able to know in life, there is only one that is not a theory: What’s it like to be me? How long have you been you? As for me, as far as I can tell, I’ve always been here. After all there’s not much to the teachings. LINJI YIXUAN ♦ PHOTOBYLUCYGOODHART/MILLENNIUMIMAGES,UK SHAMBHALA SUN NOVEMBER 2015 57