I went to see the Lama just before Christmas to catch up and to gain advice for the next few months which will be huge for me. One of my questions was about my continuing inability to get to his teachings - something always seems to come up. For some time I battled it, and all that happened was that my ME symptoms got worse which I was able to deal with. Latterly people and animals around seemed to be getting ill so I felt it appropriate to leave it for a bit. This is not to imply in anyway that the teachings were having an effect on my nearest and dearest, it's just sometimes Dharma seems to have a need to manifest itself particularly clearly! Also the things I'm facing atm are in a very real way for me, much harder than attending teachings, the lessons I'm being offered are getting to my core. I checked this feeling with the Lama and he confirmed it with a kind smile that I'm right in the middle of raw Dharma right not, and it's good to go with the flow. I like the way that raw and roar sound the same, and also the fact that I do feel that Dharma is ROARING at me right now. It always is of course, whether or not it's in Chenrazig's gracious smile or in Manjushri's sword cutting through delusion.
Someone very close to me is having a re-emergence of a long-standing health problem. It's not something that can ever be resolved, and will get worse although it can be helped by pharmaceuticals, so in a way it is to be expected. Pregnancy hormones are not known for making women rational *sigh* and nor does our flawed understanding of the world through attachment to objects. Of course behind and perhaps in front and running right through the situation I can hear the roar of Dharma, calling me back to that place of ... well I don't know really. I'd like to say something wise (well a first time would be nice) about the illusion of shared paths, whilst the reality is that we're all on our way. I think that's it, but the expression is lacking. It feels on the one hand like a very isolated position, but on the other hand of total unity with Buddha nature. Maybe it's like carrying this baby - for 9 months we are sharing almost the same physical space, yet this person is still a stranger to me. As I feel they should be - the Lama said something about a woman's body being a perfect expression of Buddha nature through it's ability to nurture and give birth. Again badly expressed, but the original sentiment was rather better expressed.
The Lama also told me (not literally!) to put my mum in the corner - I think for years I've misunderstood the limits of responsibility and compassion. For me part of the challenge of being a Buddhist is learning to retreat back into me and not divert someone from their path by my mis-guided but well meant love. It's proving hard with mum - she senses change and is resenting it, becoming more clingy and needy in response. So hard to stand in my Buddha nature and just stand. For some time now I've understood that this will do my mum no end of good if she is encouraged to stand on her own 2 feet and not be pitied for living with manic depression, for years the hushed conversations of "isn't she doing so well now!" or the reverse have been my triggers - they are so hard to let go of. Now I'm faced with understanding that I have to make these changes for me, and really for me alone. Like the baby in my womb, me, my close someone, mum is simply another sentient being. Buddhism is beautiful in it's simplicity.