Recently, I have been searching for a new gym. Similar to walking into an expensive store (or even an inexpensive one!), I feel there is this process of assessment…the employees seem to look for contextual clues about your ability to afford what they are offering. The size up seems to often be an assessment of one’s clothing…does this person dress like they can afford to purchase here?

It is a horrible process that I hate…but it really goes on everywhere. Job interviews, the workplace…even church! Does your clothing suggest that you belong here? Are you “one of us”?

All of it reminds me of one of my favorite Zen stories:

Wealthy patrons invited Ikkyu to a banquet. Ikkyu arrived dressed in his beggar’s robes. The host, not recognizing him, chased him away. Ikkyu went home, changed into his ceremonial robe of purple brocade, and returned. With great respect, he was received into the banquet room.There, he put his robe on the cushion, saying, “I expect you invited the robe since you showed me away a little while ago,” and left.


In reality, clothes, cars, shoes, and things are shiny illusions that cover the biggest illusion of all: our physical form. [I believe that these things can be enjoyed, the challenge is to not become attached. Everything transforms.]

Instead of seeking to compare how others differ, there is so much more to be gained by recognizing similarities. That is how we get to the oneness. I believe that is the essence of true love.



Photo source: Tibetan Woman and her Yak at Scorpion Lake by Nora de Angelli

Interesting note by photographer: “I photographed this nomad Tibetan woman and her traditionally ornated yak on the shores of The Scorpion Lake, Yamdrok Yumtso Lake. According to local mythology, the Scorpion Lake is the transformation of a goddess into a Sapphire Sea, being revered as a talisman in the life-spirit of the Tibetan nation.”