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VAST FORWARD – Trebbe Johnson

Grabbing the Great Now from the tiny now

Finding a place for your message in the future

Dec 13, 2018 04:43 pm

Yesterday I spent some time in the Rubin Museum in New York. This intimate, tranquil place is devoted to the art of the Himalayas, and I love it, because the exhibitions are both classical and traditional, contemporary and innovative. The goal of the curators is to make you think in unconventional ways… and it works for me.

Recently the museum has been exploring the story of Padmasambhava, sometimes called the “Second Buddha”. Padmasambhava was instrumental in bringing Buddhism to Tibet in the 8th century and interweaving it with the indigenous spirituality of the land. However, this great teacher knew that the world was not ready to receive all his lessons at the time of his own life. Therefore, he hid some of these “treasure teachings” throughout the Tibetan landscape and even in the minds of people who would not be born for many hundreds of years. According to the Rubin, “His legends carry universal relevance about triumph over obstacles, the power of human emotions, transformation, impermanence, achieving liberation from life and death, and notions of time—all of which transcend specific cultures and eras.”

However, what fascinates me about this story—and seems to carry a lesson about what’s possible in our own time and what will reach fruition in a time to come—is this idea that you can create a message for the future. I started to think: What if each of us had a message that the current world was not quite ready for, but that we knew a future generation would urgently need? 

Just considering this possibility—that each of us holds some wisdom, some gift that is valuable and necessary for the future—can ignite our curiosity. If we allow ourselves to believe that the future awaits what we and only we have to give it, how will that knowledge shift how we live today?

What is the one true thing that you want the world to know? What would you write out and hide in the landscape, that just the right person would discover it many scores of years from now?

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