West London Buddhist Centre

Square pegs and …

Published on Jun 13th 2024, in Blog

Square pegs and …

In discussing his decades of practice and imminent death,* Kamalashila refers to the experience of being a square peg.

This term ‘a square peg in a round hole’ (meaning not quite fitting in) has always appealed to me – perhaps that is because that is how I have felt for a great part of my life.  However, my relationship with being a square peg has shifted dramatically over time.

So many of us feel that awkward ‘I’m not like everyone else’ or even ‘anyone else’ at different times for different reasons. Coming from the States, I am familiar with the tension between being independent, an individual and not being too different. Confession here: along with a friend, I was voted ‘class individualist’ in my last year at secondary school (amusingly, my photo under the attribution showed me in a monk’s robe I had sewn myself). At the time, being different for difference sake felt right – but that is a somewhat superficial understanding of what difference can offer.

Gradually, with practice, time and maybe the odd dash of wisdom, I am moving closer to what might be a deeper appreciation of the square peg: authenticity. While we might work or live or practice within a particular community or context (job/family/neighbourhood) which connects us at some level, we each have our unique combination of body, heart and mind which we bring to each situation. How that combination manifests in the world may vary depending on the circumstance. Yet it is through this precious diversity that unity can be more flexible, more able to respond to challenges and still stay strong in its own communal authenticity.

May we each celebrate our inner square pegs and direct the power of authenticity to the greater good…

With a bow
* thank you to Kamalashila and Dharmachakra for this sobering and inspiring podcast

from the WLBC Newsletter, 12 June 2024
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