I Stink at the Subtle Game

“But in the context of death and birth, shunyata refers to a direct experience of disruption felt at the core of our being, when there is no longer any use manufacturing artificial security.

We’re not talking about giving up our precious human life here, of course; we’re talking about giving up on this subtle game. We hold pictures of our ideal self in an ideal world. We imagine that if we could only manipulate our circumstances or other people enough, then that ideal self could be achieved, and in the meantime, we try to pretend to have it together. It’s the game we play all the time: we keep postponing our acceptance of this moment in order to pursue reality as we think it should be.

When we suffer disruption, we find we just can’t play that game anymore. The bardo teachings are really about recognizing the value of giving up the game, which we play without even giving it a second thought. But when we are severely ill or in hospice, and we have to cede control over our own bodily functions to strangers, holding it all together is not an option.” PEMA KHANDRO RINPOCHE, http://www.lionsroar.com/four-points-for-letting-go-bardo/

This article speaks to me in a way that is rare. It expresses exactly where I am.

I can’t hold it together. I can’t even pretend to hold it together. And I’m done playing the games. Love me, hate me, I just don’t care anymore.

I’m not saying that I accept this moment. Many times I don’t. All I have is the hope that eventually I can start my own life and not be an eternal caretaker anymore. Hope is not Buddhist. Perhaps this is a leftover from my Christian life.

I cannot manipulate anything or anyone. I wonder what it’s like to be a good manipulator, to have faith that one can get what they want from others when needed. Perhaps that kind of security is delusional. But it would still be nice to have.


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About cdhoagpurple

I live in Michigan. I was Greek Orthodox (and previously Protestant), but now am more Buddhist than anything. I am single now (through the till-death-do-you-part clause of the marriage contract). My husband Barry was a good man and celebrated 30 years in AA. I am overly educated, with an MBA. My life felt terminally in-limbo while caring for a sick husband, but I am free now. I see all things as being in transition. Impermanence is the ultimate fact of life. Nothing remains the same, good or bad.

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