A Gift of Dharma for 7.22.10
by Danny Fisher
Today’s dharma quote is yet another from the Vidyādhara, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche (1939-1987), whom I first quoted and wrote a little bio for here. This is it–courtesy of a post today from our boss Waylon Lewis at elephantjournal.com:
[The cocoon] is the shyness and aggression in which we have wrapped ourselves.
A warrior, or pawo in Tibetan, is a brave person, a genuine person who is able to step out of the cocoon—that very comfortable cocoon that he or she is trying to sleep in.
If you are in your cocoon, occasionally you shout your complaints, such as: “Leave me alone!” “Bug off.” “I want to be who I am.” Your cocoon is fabricated out of tremendous aggression, which comes from fighting against your environment, your parental upbringing, your educational upbringing, your upbringing of all kinds. You don’t really have to fight with your cocoon. You can raise your head and just take a little peek out of the cocoon. Sometimes, when you first peek your head out, you find the air a bit too fresh and cold. But still, it is good. It is the best fresh air of spring or autumn or, for that matter, the best fresh air of winter or summer. So when you stick your neck out of the cocoon for the first time, you like it in spite of the discomfort of the environment. You find that it’s delightful. Then, having peeked out, you become brave enough to climb out of the cocoon. You sit on your cocoon and look around at your world. You stretch your arms, and you begin to develop your head and shoulders. The environment is friendly. It is called “planet earth.” Or it is called “Boston” or “New York City.” It is your world.
Your neck and your hips are not all that stiff, so you can turn and look around. The environment is not as bad as you thought. Still sitting on the cocoon, you raise yourself up a little further. Then you kneel, and finally you stand up on your cocoon. As you look around, you begin to realize that the cocoon is no longer useful. You don’t have to buy the advertisers’ logic that, if you don’t have insulation in your house, you’re going to die. You don’t really need the insulation of your cocoon. It’s just a little cast that’s been put on you by your own collective imaginary paranoia and confusion, which didn’t want to relate with the world outside.
Then, you extend one leg, rather tentatively, to touch the ground around the cocoon. Traditionally, the right leg goes first. You wonder where your foot is going to land. You’ve never touched the soles of your feet before on the soil of this planet earth. When you first touch the earth, you find it’s very rough. It’s made out of earth, dirt. But soon you discover the intelligence that will allow you to walk on the earth, and you begin to think the process might be workable. You realize that you inherited this family heirloom, called “planet earth,” a long time ago.
You sigh with relief, maybe a medium sigh, extend your left foot, and touch the ground on the other side of the cocoon. The second time you touch the ground, to your surprise you find that the earth is kind and gentle and much less rough. You begin to feel gentleness and affection and softness. You feel that you might even fall in love on your planet earth. You can fall in love. You feel real passion, which is very positive.
At that point, you decide to leave your old beloved cocoon behind and to stand up without touching the cocoon at all. So you stand on your two feet, and you take a walk outside of the cocoon. Each step is rough and soft, rough and soft: rough because the exploration is still a challenge and soft because you don’t find anything trying to kill you or eat you up at all. You don’t have to defend yourself or fight any unexpected attackers or wild beasts. The world around you is so fine and beautiful that you know that you can raise yourself up as a warrior, a powerful person. You begin to feel that the world is absolutely workable, not even merely workable, but wonderful. To your surprise, you find that lots of others around you are also leaving their cocoons. You find hosts of ex-cocooners all over the place.