I am with two friends of mine who attend a teaching by a Tibetan master. He has a clarity and depth I have rarely seen in anyone. Afterwards, he comes up to me. I get the sense he sees something in me, assume I do the same, so he doesn’t need to address it verbally or even nonverbally. After we talk for a bit, there is a sense that he sees us as the same, cut from the same piece so to speak, and is slightly surprised when he realizes I don’t recognize it the same way. To him, I – at one level – pretend to be confused and in pain, and it’s just a temporary confusion. He refers to a couple of books he has written, out of a set of six. He then says: There is a fear among us Moby Dicks that the pain of contraction will be too much.
What’s below is a bit rambling since I was clarifying it for myself as I wrote:
This was a vivid and quite strong dream. I noticed I wasn’t too interested in his teachings at first, since it reflected what I had discovered on my own (life had noticed it for itself through this life). He had a clarity and depth I rarely if ever had encountered in a teacher or anyone before. He ignored me at first, because he saw life noticing itself in both of us. He didn’t really address me during his teachings. H, and comes up to me afterwards. Throughout this, it’s clear that life appears as all of us and everything, that life is noticing itself through the two of us, that life appears as these two individuals, and that he has a bit more depth and maturity in how it’s lived and expressed, and I am a bit more of a novice. He is slightly surprised that I seem to pretend – to some extent – to be confused and in pain. We are cut of the same piece, and have a similar role in the world – a similar function (not necessarily the same role at the surface). As he understands that’s the case, he does say a few things to me. And at the end, he makes the Moby Dick reference.
In waking life, I have had a similar experience with a few different teachers. When I met Adyashanti, there was a sense we were the same, yet it was lived in a more mature and clear way through his life, and I pretended to be a bit more confused and in pain. It was similar with Boonie G. and also with Barry.
As we talk, it’s as if a Native American holy man presence comes more in the foreground in how he is. The quality is of a Tibetan Buddhist teacher and a Native American holy man. Life awake to itself in a very clear way in him, and lived and expressed with a depth and maturity.
The two friends of mine in the dream are two Norwegian friends I got to know through the Tibetan Buddhist center in Oslo in my early twenties. They were both monks for a few years. The books the teacher has written reminded me of the books written by Jes Bertelsen, combining western psychology and depth psychology with Buddhist understanding, and quite free from although completely aligned with tradition.
I haven’t read Moby Dick, although I am somewhat familiar with the story. Moby Dick is, in a way, life itself taking us all down – all my identities, beliefs, who and what I think I am. It’s all taken down, swallowed up, and it can be a bit dramatic. I wonder if what’s what he refers to, someone whose path it is to have this – identifications, beliefs – “eaten up” in a somewhat more dramatic way. And who then has a particular role or function in the world, in some ways the same as everyone (a) whether life is awake to itself or not, the same as everyone (b) where life is awake to itself to some extent, and the same as everyone (c) who has gone through a similar somewhat dramatic process with a dark night etc.
Throughout this dream, there was a very clear sense that (a) life appears as all of this, (b) life is awake to itself through some of these lives, (c) life awake to itself is lived with more clarity and maturity through some (this teacher), (d) life awake to itself pretends to be a bit more confused and in pain through some (me), and (e) we – the teacher and I – have a similar role or function in the world, through having gone through a dark night. As any experience, going through a dark night has done something with us which gives us a particular function or role in the world.
The pretending to be confused and in pain is, in one sense, not necessary. The clarity and recognition is here. In another, it is. He had the support of teachers and a culture helping him to live it with clarity and maturity, and I was a bit more lost. And it can wear off. It doesn’t have to stay. (Unless it does, of course.)
Note: When I write “pretend” here, it doesn’t mean a conscious or intentional pretending. It happens due to innocent beliefs. One way of saying it is that Spirit temporarily pretends to be something else – to experience itself that way. Spirit takes certain stories as true, and pretends to be an I with an Other, it pretends to be this particular human being, it pretends certain thoughts are true, and through that experiences itself in that way. As someone said, the infinite wants to experience itself – for a while – as finite, and does so in a myriad of ways.