Binding Judgment | Beatific Smile no Black and White

Binding Judgment | Beatific Smile no Black and White

brett and carol

Does it ever make sense to judge a book by its cover — literally or metaphorically? Tell us about a time you did, and whether that was a good decision or not.

“…the men I have noticed, the ones with the particular blend of nuances that speak to me with a silvery cord, a unique alchemy,” (from an earlier post: List Lesson | Things I Remember).

The first time I saw him, I just knew. A kind of knowing you have little control over. I think it happens on many levels. Pheromones definitely come into play, as well as mostly subconscious linkages that hook into a kind of emotional, unspoken secret, that which attracts one to another. It has happened this way a handful of times and in my experience, only happens this many times in a lifetime.

It was his height, at least 6’3″ that first caught my eye. A lovely construction of the face and the beatific smile. Just as one can imagine a thousand ships launched for Helen of Troy, so this particular construction launched my ship. His hands, sculpted, like the hands of David. And, that smile! In matters of the heart, the rational mind does a kind of disengage. So, even though one knows on an intellectual rational level, that this may not be workable for you, it is overridden by the primitive brain, the basal ganglia do “get it” first. Researchers at the MIT Picower Center for Learning and Memory in the Feb. 24 issue of Nature, 2005, found that the primitive areas in the basal ganglia, do seem to have a greater role in high-level thinking processes than thought before. However, it takes some time for the cerebral cortex to catch up.

By the time my cerebral cortex caught up, it was too late. The pathways were already carved. Did the original response to the judging of the book cover link to a good or bad decision? I prefer not to think in these matters in black and white. Love is something beyond these climes and for me, was a valuable and life changing experience, a kind of honesty, never mind the fallout. In the words of the timeless Viktor Frankl:

“Love is the only way to grasp another human being in the innermost core of his personality. No one can become fully aware of the very essence of another human being unless he loves him. By his love he is enabled to see the essential traits and features in the beloved person; and even more, he sees that which is potential in him, which is not yet actualized but yet ought to be actualized. Furthermore, by his love, the loving person enables the beloved person to actualize these potentialities. By making him aware of what he can be and of what he should become, he makes these potentialities come true.” 
― Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

Did I grasp the “other” innermost core? Yes, I did. Did this person actualise his potentialities? No, he did not. I can still glimpse him in others, many years later, a particular walk, height, bald head, build, but never again that beatific smile.

Brett and I with our precious teacher Geshela Damcho

Brett and I with our precious teacher Geshela Damcho

Images courtesy of Carol Knox.

Brett Pelser: May he find peace. I discovered this notice in the Sunday Tribune of 2007. PELSER Brett, father of Trinity-Ann. Service at Glenwood Community Church, Glenwood on 28/03/2007. Now I know when to remember his passing.

To see some information about the Venerable Geshe Damcho Yonten, see the Lam Rim Buddhist Centre.

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