I occasionally have Dharma dreams, but very rarely ones with Geshe-la. I had one last night. I’m writing it down so I do not forget it and sharing it in case others might benefit from it.
It started and I was at a festival with some people from other countries I had just met. Somehow we were told or decided through some strange circumstances to go for a drive. So we went driving, I was in the back seat, and we were just talking about nonsense in a worldly way. We then come out on this country road with nobody around and Geshe-la was standing in the middle of the road like he was waiting for us. I had the feeling in the dream that we had been set up to go for the drive so that we could meet Geshe-la, even though there was no way we could have known he would be on the road.
We stopped the car and he came to the back window where I was sitting. He started greeting us and I noticed he was wearing a very warm ski mask that covered his whole face, except his nose and mouth, and I recalled how he often liked to stay warm, but went into cold climates for us. I then noticed that despite his eyes being covered by the sky mask, he was nonetheless able to see and talk with us perfectly, as if he could see everything. (I didn’t understand this at the time, but I understand this to mean despite from an ordinary perspective we mostly related to his speech, in reality he was omniscient able to see everything).
He then stuck his head in the car through the window where I was sitting to greet each person in the car individually. Each person gave him their name and he nodded as if meeting us for the first time. When it came to be my turn, I told him I was Ryan and thought he should know me, but he didn’t seem to know me which reminded me of the first time I had a close encounter with him at the Creperie at Manjushri, so I then started to describe myself in detail, but realized that was being needy of wanting his recognition, so I just said I used to be a Resident Teacher. He then just took that in stride without any additional recognition of me, and I accepted it didn’t matter if he recognized me.
And then the person sitting next to me started going off about how many people I help. This got Geshe-la’s laser like focus on me, and then he put his left hand squarely on my heart and his right hand on my shoulder and started to pray and bestow blessings into my heart while holding me. I felt like I was receiving a huge empowerment for the future to be able to help more people, and I remember remarking how incredibly physically strong he was despite the fact that I knew him to be seemingly very old and frail, knowing he was going to die soon.
He then somehow appeared to be in the front passenger’s seat in the car, directly in front of me since I was in the backseat (American style car with left-side drive). He then started talking and he gave me two predictions about the near future. First, he said I will soon be tested to see how I respond to some situation about the killing of something like animals, but he couldn’t come up with the word to describe it, and so I suggested the word “hunting?”, and he indicated kindof yes, that could work, but it wasn’t quite the right word. I mentally thought it interesting that his world is so pure he doesn’t even have the word for such things. He then said I will be tested to see if I allow the G20 (something that will preoccupy a good deal of my time at work over the next year) will become a weak excuse for why I am neglecting my spiritual life. I then thought that I needed to mention this to one of my work colleagues at USAID who I work closely with on G20 issues who I also understood in the dream to be a former Resident Teacher now working (she is not, but in the dream she was).
I then woke up and debated with myself whether to get up to write down the dream. I thought if I did so, I would wake up for the day and then be really tired (I have been very and easily fatigued ever since I got COVID about a month ago). So I said I would just try remember the dream and went back to sleep. I then had a second dream where I ran into my work colleague at USAID and I was all excited thinking, “oh, I’ve got to tell you about the dream I just had!” I started recounting the story, and I began by saying Geshe-la had told me to go to sleep, and then in the dream I found myself in the car and we ran into Geshe-la on the road – it was a dream in the dream like I had recently had and wrote a blog post about. I then realized that was not true, my original dream was not a dream within a dream and so I had just lied to make the story sound more impressive than it really was, but then I thought “oh well, I shouldn’t lie, but it doesn’t really matter in this context, so just be more careful in the future to not do that.”
I then started telling my colleague about the dream and mentioning to her the part where Geshe-la was mumbling trying to find the right word for the killing of animals, and she misunderstood the meaning of this and revealed she had a somewhat critical attitude towards Geshe-la because of the way he spoke unclearly and this was one of the reasons why she eventually stopped being a Resident Teacher. I then remember thinking I need to be careful, considerate, and compassionate about how I talk to people who are no longer actively engaged with the tradition, to not assume they have no problem with things, but understand they may have some mental obstacles which prevent them from having a happy mind towards the tradition which need to be skillfully worked through and addressed. I then woke up.
After I woke up, I then started wondering what he meant by the killing of animals, and it came to me that it would be more about what I think about what will happen with the war in Ukraine.
In writing all of this, several themes stand out for me. First, how I still have residuals of excessive concern for recognition by Geshe-la and my spiritual teachers, but I have made a lot of progress since the Creperie about 20 years ago. Second, I struggle to tell stories or talk about myself without my self-importance creeping in, like I am habitually bragging, but don’t want to. Third, Geshe-la doesn’t care about our position, but what gets his attention is our helping people. Fourth, we shouldn’t grasp at how he conventionally appeared, but realize how strong and all-seeing he was. Fifth, I still have tendencies for minor negativities, which is not good, but not something I should overly dramatize or beat myself up over – just acknowledge, course correct, and move on. Sixth, I have been a supporter of Western support for Ukraine for geopolitical and protection of others reasons, but fundamentally it is still like animals killing each other, and perhaps the test will be what I think about some sort of peace proposal that will come in the future – do I support that proposal or support the continuation of the killing. Seventh, I need to be clear where my priorities lie between work and my spiritual life, and not allow the former to become a weak excuse to neglect the latter. Eighth, I will not look at my work colleague the same, perhaps she was formerly some sort of spiritual person who somehow lost her way, and perhaps I need to be skillful in helping gradually guide her back. Ninth, there are all sorts of people who used to have a positive mind towards the tradition, but then had some negative experience or misunderstanding which caused them to leave. Instead of judging these people, we need to be considerate and compassionate with their mental obstacles, accepting them where they are at.