Welcome and thank you for being here. Each post on this blog may stand alone as a contemplation. Yet, if you have not already done so, I suggest beginning with Chapter 1 and reading onwards to the most recent post. In this way the context of the journey will be more complete.
Omar is here and he is not. It feels like the magic is gone from the very molecules on the land here and in our life, and yet, the butterflies still dance and the willow tree still smiles. WIth deep sincerity. I ask, where is the magic and who is the polestar now, since Omar is not here physically?
On a silent retreat, this past New Year’s Day, I sat in silence with our teacher, Rimpoche Anam Thubten. A few days prior to the retreat, a pivotal event had occurred, priming me for deeper receptivity of the energies available for awakening. The unique relationship I had with our youngest horse, Taz, my “baby”, had abruptly shifted. Over the course of our relationship, I had fallen into a pattern of merging with her. It felt very familiar, for it was how my “Mama” had merged with me throughout my life. Taz was an extension of me and I of her. It is true Taz and I are sacred mirrors of one another. There are specific aspects of Taz’s and my evolution which are transforming in similar ways, but merging in such a limited way, filled with projections and anthropomorphic interpretations is not helpful or true (though it felt very comforting to the empty part of myself.)
Taz, bless her heart, changed all that in one night while I was feeding her hay, causing me to revisit the way I love. Last in the “pecking order”and caught in the high energy of the darkness and wind, Taz decided she had waited long enough for her hay, everyone else had theirs, and she would intimidate me into allowing her to claim hers before the hay net was in place. She began to have a little tantrum and kicked out at me, two or three times successively. I felt the air currents between her hoof and my body. After herding her around the corral, she eventually communicated with me more appropriately and then enjoyed her hay. But, something had been severed and it was not just our relationship, it was the whole way I was set up with the world! Contemplating this experience, I saw many things about the way I had arranged the flow of my love to her, with manipulative strings attached, so that this love would ensure my safety. In an instant, those strings were scythed. I began to see another layer of a path I had oft examined, of a way to love that was not based on controlling the world, or other beings, in exchange for this love. I saw that I had woven a false reality out of this false type of love, one in which my love was assurance that I would always be safe and loved. In a flash, I watched this crumble.
As I sat in meditation on retreat with Anam, my whole being was primed to transform: Buddha said, “Be a lamp unto yourself.” Anam recounted that, when he first heard those words spoken as a young boy, he felt it was not the most comforting or kindest of messages. But, over time, he was able to see that it was a highly compassionate pointer to the end of suffering.
If any being in my daily life taught me how this could be done and what it feels like to be complete in oneself and nourished by one’s inner beingness, It was Omar. He was so complete, contained and always radiating steadfast beingness. I somehow feel he would not have left his body unless he had inside knowledge that I was ready to embody Reality. But for so much of this life I have been set up to circulate love, watch it blossom, and to then nourish myself with the “fruits.” This meant that if the fruits did not come or if I missed harvesting them, I felt an unquenchable hunger. This is making love into a marketplace. It now seemed clear that not only was this type of love not pure love, it was also fuel for great disappointment, disillusionment and despair.
I decided then and there that “Be a lamp unto yourself” was the path for the New Year ahead. I did not know at the time that Omar would help me fully embody this with his disembodiment.
Every time I looked at Omar, and every time he looked into my eyes, with pools of light and love, my lamp was lit. Again and again. He was the wise oak tree that had been the witness to life’s vicissitudes and who knew the secret to life itself. I felt that just be being near him, he could pass on this secret of absolute contentment. Omar was a lamp unto himself and he spent countless moments entraining me and teaching me where that lamp is, and he is still showing me. Sometimes I feel so very blind to his wayshowing. Sometimes I have the eyes to see the eternal flame that Omar points me towards, the lamp unto myself.
There is a lamp within us and the flame actually never dies. Being nourished by that lamp is the art of remembering who we are. It is the art of unconditional love. I have not mastered this art by far, but the canvas is empty and the brush is in my open hand.