Friday, April 12, 2013

Refuge In the Sangha

Though I have never taken part in a formal ceremony, I have "taken refuge" in my heart many times. "I take refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha."

The Sangha. In all my years of meditation and Dharma study I have not fully connected with the last of the three refuges until today. I am so grateful.

Right now my beloved partner of 25 years is undergoing open-heart surgery. Right NOW. This whole experience is amazing - in the sense that I'm amazed, awed, by it.

I've learned so much from John about connection. I used to be deeply embarrassed at how open and forth-coming he is with a wide variety of people. I didn't want anyone to know "our business" and felt deeply unsafe about sharing.

The family "story" in my family of origin is about being self-reliant, not asking for help and not sharing vulnerability. It was seen as true that the world is fundamentally unsafe and most people are either too self-involved to care about others or could actually mean us harm. This seemed "right" to me emotionally even as I explored other ways to be in the world.  In an alternate universe, no one would know John is in the OR right now and I would be struggling alone with panic and fear.

Instead, a huge network of friends and family has been following John's story through e-mail lists, Facebook and the CaringBridge website. They know where he is right now and are holding him in light and love. And they are holding me, too. Many have texted or e-mailed me. I feel my connection to them and know that John and I are not alone. At first it felt awkward to send news of John's illness to so many people. But as the situation unfolded I felt my inner "story" shift and change to allow the possibility that we truly are connected and can not only give but receive strength and comfort during a difficult time. The world feels like a safer place today than it did when I was young. For that I am grateful to John for opening that door and to the Buddha for walking the path and leaving footsteps for us to follow.

Om Mani Padme Hum
I am grateful to everyone who is holding that loving, healing wish for John. The Sangha.

May all beings be safe.

May all beings be happy.
May all beings be free from suffering and the causes of suffering.