Thursday, June 16, 2005

Asking for Blessings

I've only ever tangentially approached the question.

Some questions, of course, are best approached tangentially. Some can only be approached tangentially. This isn't one of them, I think.

I skated past asking Sarah that. Left the question out on the coffee-table, where she could pick it up if she liked. That's as close as I ever got to asking it. She left it on the table.

I recognized even then, that there's only thing I ever want to ask a teacher: "Please, give me your blessing!"

I watch the question and answer sessions at KCC with a mixture of impatience and amusement. One in every twelve questions, maybe, is a real question. The rest are all, in one disguise or another, "please, Lama Michael, give me your blessing!" And people are happy or sad at his answers, pleased or angry, according to whether he's answered with what looks to them like a blessing.

I almost never ask questions now. I guess partly because I'm ashamed, and partly because to sit in the room with him already feels like receiving a blessing. Asking for more would be just greedy.

Lekshe would say, I guess, that ordinary standards don't apply here. Here, greedy is good. Here I should be a glutton. But I'm not sure about that.

Or maybe it's just that at the bottom of this murky glass lies the dread that the question, asked directly, would get a direct answer. What if he said "no"?

Really, you know, the whole tiresome business of falling in love is the same thing. "Give me your blessing!" And we do give each other such blessings as we can muster. But like everything in this world, it's never enough. And so we start to doubt. Is this really a person who can dispense blessings? Isn't there maybe someone else who could do it better? Are these real blessings?

As usual, with the obstinacy of our kind, we clutch the wrong end of the stick. Anyone can give blessings. The hard part is learning to be able to receive them.

That's another reason I don't ask, "Lama Michael, can you give me your blessing?"

In my head -- with a kindly, weary smile -- Michael always says, "I don't know, Dale. Can I?"

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