I’ve been feeling hopeful the last couple of days. Pleasant change from some of the sadness and confusion I had been experiencing in the last month or so.
There had been a bad taste left in my mouth from the poor treatment I had received by both my employer and some senior members of my spiritual community. I honestly was not expecting apologies from anyone, and thought that I had accepted and moved on. So, I was taken by surprise at how verklempt I got when I actually did get those apologies. Granted, they did not come from the people who had been disrespectful, but rather their proxies. But, I so appreciated the kindness that came in the form of a simple “I’m sorry you had to go through that. You didn’t deserve to be treated like that.” Silly, isn’t it?
On Saturday there was a farewell get together for my former teacher. It was odd. We merely greeted each other when I arrived and then said good bye when I left. I thought there might be some acknowledgement of everything we had been through together, but it was a simple “good bye”, no more emotional than saying good by to a pleasant stranger who you had just met at a party. I view her behavior as somewhat pathological – she has an inability to be close to people in a genuine, heartfelt way. Yet, by treating me as just a pleasant stranger, could she be demonstrating some equanimity, free from attachment or aversion? We never truly know what is going on in another’s heart, so I shan’t judge her. She’s been judged enough. I hope she finds some peace, and that she finds that happiness can only come when we crack open our heart, exposing all the soft vulnerable bits. As a teacher, she was able to bring the dharma to life when she was on the throne teaching. Yet, off the throne, her actions felt contradictory, and she hid behind this false cloak of the infallibility of the teacher. Dharma is how we live our daily lives, not just the words we speak when we’re in a “spiritual” setting. And our teachers of all people need to demonstrate that. People aren’t stupid. If you aren’t walking the walk, despite how well you talk, people know.
At the same party, I met the new teacher for the main center. Lovely woman. Down to earth. Very approachable and not at all intimidating. I was able to tell her where I was at, my doubts re: the NKT, and what I felt I needed to be doing now. She understood. She simply said that when I was ready to start teaching again to let her know. No pressure. No guilt. I felt accepted right where I was at.
The next night I went to one of her teachings, and my initial good opinion of her was further validated. I felt inspired. I feel like the path I’m on – one of uncertainty, curiousity – is the right thing for me to be doing now. Maybe I’m still coming down from my old teacher and studying Shantideva (who definitely was one hard core Boddhisattva dude), but I’m feeling the need for a gentler, more organic touch in terms of my dharma practice. Yet with this new teacher in place, I feel like I can stay on the fringes and be completely OK to take what I like from the NKT and not get involved in those things that disturb my mind.