Does everyone have someone they can reach out to with whom they play no roles, someone who answers the call when the crying out is about to burst through, someone who can listen but not judge? Does everyone have this person except me?
Why do I even ask this? The question started with a cup of green tea, a discussion of a wilderness adventure–not mine–and my meditation teacher simply asking: Who do you call when you feel tears of exhaustion or fear or longing for what never was boiling up inside you ready to push the lid off the pan of sanity and spill out? I thought I could answer but then…
Nothing came. I could think of no one with whom I don’t fulfill a role, know the expectations held, the assumptions made. Oh, I suppose I could have taken the glib way out and said “the cats.” But even they have roles for me: food lady; nighttime body heat provider; lap in a storm. I have many, many supportive people around me, supportive cats, too, but no one off stage. I found myself sitting looking blankly at him, rather the way the turkeys inhabiting the neighborhood look at me if I request use of my driveway when they are sunning.
His return gaze was equally blank. “You don’t have someone?” As generous as he is with his time and tea, he spoke with an “are you just trying to get sympathy” impatience. “No, no, I don’t think I do.” Both of us deftly moved the conversation back to the new Dancing Shiva statue he had bought.
And I was left only wondering whether everyone else knew the answer to his question. Even the Shiva, who dances only because she has one foot solidly planted on a small body below her, dances because she is grounded; even she seems to know.
I think I’ll pretend this was another koan.