Someone recently asked me "what gifts have you received from your Buddhist meditation?" Since they were not Buddhist, they didn't understand that the activity of speaking about one's meditation practice is fraught with peril (pride, boasting, exaggeration to name but a few..). I mostly deflected the question saying that the primary gift I received from meditation was acute physical pain… and since meditation is a practice, now that I don't practice it - I am deep in the shit like everyone else is..
Even though I am a failed meditator, there is however a lasting gift that I have received - and that is the simple exposure to Dharma teachings themselves. My first teacher told me to beware of the Dharma because it is like walking in the finest of mists. By the time you notice you are wet - you are soaked to the bone. And so it has been - a heretical Christian carrying the persistent saffron stain of the Dharma. And thank God too, because the Dharma provides me with perspective in hard times, the kind of perspective Christianity simply cannot, with all its talk of Jesus being with us and God having a plan and on and on and on.
The kind direction of countless Buddhist Teachers have taken me by the hand on so many occasions - especially in times of illness, pain, and deaths of those close to me.
Such is the case now and in the days ahead as I mourn the death of a long time colleague and friend who passed from this life yesterday morning.
May he be happy