I was glad to get this submission from Mimi and really appreciate the insights that she brought into consciousness from her dream state. She is clearly internalizing the Buddhist teachings that she has been studying.
A return to comfort and compassion
by Mimi Simmons, Washington State
Yesterday I stopped reading a long novel after a couple dozen pages. Already too many images I didn’t want in my brain. What a relief to make that choice, to stop going down that particular path. This morning I awoke far too early from a dream. A childhood friend from my home state was visiting. She and I and my daughter and one of her friends were on a little getaway for some fun and adventure. I had taken too many things – choices of clothes, bags and other small items. I was going off to dance with a man I had met on the trip. I wore a close fitting, short, silvery dress with long sleeves. The man and I were in his car and I had in haste taken two bags, unsure of which would be the best. In the car, I was sorting through the things in each bag, throwing out what was trash and moving only those items I might need that evening into the smaller, more appropriate bag. I had forgotten to take my phone and realized I hadn’t even brought my cell charger on the getaway. I needed to call my friend and my daughter and I asked to borrow the man’s phone. I saw a kind of radiant innocence in the man even though he had made some bad choices and was troubled by his life. Two large menacing men approached the car with guns. I felt just how much I didn’t want to be there, in this uncomfortably tight and short dress, with this troubled man and, now, with this threat approaching. I asked the man if he’d been vaccinated against the pandemic and he said no, he hadn’t. I saw how a string of my bad choices had led me to the moment and I began to back away from further danger. I was sorry for the man but moved away from involvement with him or that scene.
As I lie awake, thinking about the dream, I saw that I had corrected my course, was directing myself back to comfort and safety. I appreciated that I was able, within the dream, to do that.
After I stopped reading the upsetting novel, I returned to reading about Lojong, a Buddhist practice and mind training. I had been reading the book off and on for months and had been taking notes. The main point that has stayed with me is the idea of Relative and Absolute Bodhichitta. Relative Bodhichitta is defined as Compassionate Heart and Absolute Bodhichitta is described as Wisdom Mind. The teachings encourage us to return ourselves again and again to Compassionate Heart to enable a re-connection with Absolute Mind, our natural state of pure awareness.
Wanting to return to sleep, I tried finding the best position for my body, breathing and allowing various small aches and pains to dissolve into comfort. I thought of Ram Dass’ advice to have compassion for your own predicament.
I thought of Martin Luther King’s words about building the Beloved Community. If I can return to Compassionate Heart, I have the best chance to give myself a comfortable, healthy and safe environment and to extend that environment to all others and the world, the earth.
May it be so.