I spent the majority of the day yesterday at the Beacon Theater listening to The Dalai Lama speak. It was a wild experience. There was a line wrapping around the block, several groups of protestors, and once inside I just sat with my friend and did my best to understand what was being said. I didn't. I implored myself to focus, to take in the soothing cadence of His Holiness, to follow the arc of the translator's words, but oh was I lost. Certain words popped. Emptiness. Attachment. Suffering. Liberation. Truth. I decided that just being there was a privilege, that it was okay not to know.
We live in a world where we are constantly hungry for information and explanation, where we yank out a phone and Google something if we are faced with an ounce of uncertainty, but what if there's something to be said about owning our own ignorance, revering it almost? Yesterday brought me back to many afternoons on Yale's campus when I would sit in a seminar room doing analytic philosophy. I would sit there, my brain on fire, trying to follow, to make sense. And sometimes I could. And sometimes I couldn't. Either way, I was gaining something. Either way, I was lucky.
An observation from yesterday: The Dalai Lama sat up there in his robe flanked by dozens of monks in their robes. They all looked simple, the same. I imagine this was the point. I didn't notice their bodies, if one was bigger than the next. They were just people. And it got me thinking. What if we focus too much on our bodies? What if this really isn't all that important? Yes, it's important to keep our bodies strong and healthy and well-rested, but what if all else is truly meaningless? What if what matters, or matters most, is the contents of our mind above all else?
I thought about this when I woke up early this morning and stepped on the scale. The numbers did their dance and settled. I felt a flash of foolishness, a glimmer that I'm missing the point. I stepped off.
And here I am. Alone at my kitchen island, thick in thought, waiting for the day to begin. It already has, hasn't it? Soon, the girls will barrel down the stairs and I will hug their small bodies and kiss them good morning. We will do what we do - eating breakfast and tying shoes and zipping backpacks - and then they will go to school and Husband will go to work and I will go back to my seat at the Beacon Theater to listen some more. I have a feeling I will understand more today. Or at least forgive myself better for what little I do.
Moments have passed. Big Girl is awake. She's huddled on the floor, copying a Kadinsky. Art is her thing; it wakes her up. Words are mine. More coffee now. My mind is buzzing, my body is catching up, a body that's just fine at this size. Off we go.
How do you handle not understanding something?
Are you familiar at all with Buddhism?
Do you weigh yourself each morning or at all?