The universe lost a good soul last Saturday. One of my favorite teachers. Funny and absolutely brilliant, Dr. Dan Davy. He made me want to read and learn because he was just so awesome, I wanted to be like him. I miss sitting with my coffee in our small discussion classes and listening to him speak/rant/joke. He was a great listener too. I felt heard in his classes. He always spoke to us about cross-pollination of knowledge. How the more we learn, the more we will see crossovers in different worlds and make connections. For example he knew I was studying yoga and the Bhagavad Gita and encouraged me to do my final paper for him on The Mahabharata, the play by Peter Brook, even though it didn’t have much to do with our class at the time. He wanted me to write about something that was inspiring. He was the inspiration. Om Shanti Dr. Davy.
On a similar note, (I think Dr. D would have liked this next piece) Nadine read a Pema Chödrön quote coming out of savasana in Sunday night’s class and it has stuck with me.
I was once invited to teach with the Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, my teacher’s eldest son, in a situation where it wasn’t exactly clear what my status was. Sometimes I was treated as a big deal who should come in through a special door and sit in a special seat. Then I’d think, “Okay, I’m a big deal.” I’d start running with that idea and come up with big-deal notions about how things should be.
Then I’d get the message, “Oh, no, no, no. You should just sit on the floor and mix with everybody and be one of the crowd.” Okay. So now the message was that I should just be ordinary, not set myself up or be the teacher. But as soon as I was getting comfortable with being humble, I would be asked to do something special that only big deals did.
This was a painful experience because I was always being insulted and humiliated by my own expectations. As soon as I was sure how it should be, so I could feel secure, I would get a message that it should be the other way. Finally I said to the Sakyong, “This is really hurting. I just don’t know who I’m supposed to be,” and he said, “Well, you have to learn to be big and small at the same time.”