Dharma Glimpse by Dayamay Dunsby
This time of year can really be a bit of a struggle for me. My psychological baggage relating to childhood and early manhood, wounded and exiled parts exerting their influence and dominating my thinking, and the impact of the dreary weather and shorter days with less sunlight.
It is a time when I can lose sight of the blessings in my life and dwell too heavily on the negative aspects of the world. The cost-of-living crisis – not enough money (although I’ve got everything I need and more), bleak prospects for the future of our planet and personal health issues, all contribute to a sense of lack in me that feels ingrained and pervasive.
My training and my societal conditioning point me towards a stoic perseverance narrative, which often feels a bit more like avoidance than real, genuine strength or resilience. But it does tend to keep me moving, for better or worse.
And I set off for an overly busy day on Sunday. Starting with a visit to a very old friend, who, for one reason and another, I haven’t managed to connect with in person for nearly ten years.
As she opened the door, I noticed how much she had aged since I last saw her and that she was clearly struggling with serious physical issues, even more debilitating than the ones that I was experiencing at the time.
When her face lit up as she saw me, I realised how deeply I had missed her and how much our friendship meant to her. She had been one of the critical influences and lifelines in my struggle towards a normal life, whilst in the thick of all the pre-recovery and early recovery chaos that I went through on my journey. She was always there and an incredible source of support and inspiration for me. She told me how proud she was of me and that she had such faith in me after watching me come to life and begin to heal and grow. It felt like staring into a portal of truth that helped me to glimpse a different angle on the facts of my life, rather than just the ones that I had selected to wallow in.
It reminded me that I’m not really just here for myself, nor, as a spiritual practitioner, could I really justify neglecting the reality of the effect that my existence has on the world around me. Whether I like it or not, my life is profoundly embedded in the intricate matrix of people, things, feelings and experience which constitutes the ongoing saga of this incredible universe.
We talked about the past and some of the terrible things that we had both experienced, heart-breaking, life-changing catastrophe; and yet here we both were, still striving to make some good happen around us and help to reduce some of the darkness. This, in itself, is a miracle.
So despite my internal nagging, I left there in a completely different frame of mind, nourished by our connection and encouraged by the fact that there is something else going on in the grand scheme of things. Something that operates beyond my self-judgement and negativity; something that can hold both my darkness and my inherent usefulness, while I grapple with the realities of just being human!
Namo Amida Bu.
Sign up to the temple newsletter on Substack for teachings, Dharma Glimpses and news from Bright Earth.