I’d like to start off by saying that this post will be on relationships in the broader sense of the word. Sometimes when we hear the word relationship we think of only romantic based ones. But the type of relationships I’ll be referring to involve a multitude of different types from friendships to family members and from co-workers to casual acquaintances.
My husband Mike and I gave a joint talk at our sangha last night – these were the notes I put together in preparation for it:
Last summer Mike and I went to Glacier National Park to attend a wedding there. We camped for two nights inside the park and seeings as it was June and the park was not fully open yet, on account of snow, it was relatively quiet and sparse in terms of visitors mulling about. We camped right beside Lake McDonald and the first morning we were there I went for a walk and found a lovely patch of rocky beach to spend time on. After some scouting around I wandered over to this large log and found a small snake perched atop it. It was a cute little guy and I was delighted, and quite surprised, to find that he let me approach him close enough to take some great pictures without slithering off. Not wanting to disturb him any further I walked away after taking the pictures. Well, the next morning I returned to the same spot to find him once again perched on the log. I figured it must be his morning routine to come out of the log and warm up in the sun. I watched him for a little while and then once again left him to his log. When I went back to our tent Mike was awake and I told him all about this little snake friend I had met and asked him to come and take a look at him. We walked back to the beach and found the snake right where I’d seen him the last two mornings. Mike looked at him for a few seconds and then went to pick him up and soon found that it was a rubber toy snake! I’m pretty sure Mike knew right away that it was fake – but I was totally surprised! Had it been a heavily populated spot with kids running around and what not perhaps the possibility of it being a toy snake would’ve occurred to me, but there on a deserted rocky beach with no traces of human activity I was convinced the snake was real, even though it never moved or stuck out its tongue or anything that indicated it was even remotely alive. We have a saying in our mindfulness tradition: Where there is perception there is deception. Thay (Thich Nhat Hanh) teaches that 99% of our perceptions are incorrect (and the Buddha taught that 100% of our perceptions are incorrect). Apparently Thay gives us a little bit of wiggle room to be accurate once in a while :)