Saturday, August 6, 2016

Grey Worm, the Unsullied

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I just finished watching season 4 of Game of Thrones, and was amazed at the insight that one character, Grey Worm, displayed. Grey Worm was enslaved at the youngest of ages, neutered, and trained to become a killing machine. After he is freed from bondage, he pledges his allegiance to his emancipator, Daenarys. Targaryen.

In the scene I am referring to, Grey Worm is speaking to Missandei, with whom he is falling in love. Missandei shares his affections, and so says that she is sorry that he was neutered as a child (and therefore cannot be with her, so to speak). Grey Worm says that he isn't sorry. Puzzled, Missandei asks why.

Grey Worm explains that if he had never been neutered, then he would not have been a soldier. If he had never been a soldier, then he would not have met Daenerys, and therefore he would not be speaking to Missandei at this very moment.

What an amazing insight into conditionality! Grey Worm deeply understands that where we are now is the sum total of countless conditions. It is impossible to remove even one factor from our past without changing who we are entirely. We all have moments in our lives that we would like to re-do; but this is not only impossible, it is ignorant. As Marty McFly from Back to the Future knows all too well, altering one event in our past would alter everything.

Who we are and where we are in time (and space) is the matrix of infinite factors. Grey Worm understands this. And he loves Missandei so much that he wouldn't even consider changing his past--as painful as it was--because he knows that he would inevitably lose this moment with her.

Zen practice trains us to accept who we are in our entirety. That means all of the bumps, scars, and disappointments. It's the fantasy that we can go back in time to change our history, or the desire to be someone else, that causes us so much heartache. The Buddha Way is the footsteps right in front of you. The Buddha seat is where you are sitting. It is nowhere else but here.

Check out the scene here. (I can't embed it so fast forward to 1:42 to watch the exchange.)

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