A few weeks ago, I had the great pleasure of watching a documentary at the Hawaii International Film Festival called Becoming Who I Was. It follows the journey of a young boy born in India who is discovered to be the reincarnation of a high ranking Tibetan religious leader (Rinpoche) at age five, and his experience as a child with knowledge beyond this lifetime.
The film captured the essence of what it is to be on this plane of existence. To live. To be human.
Never have I laughed at a movie so much, not for its comedic value but because of the pure joy experienced by those in it. But also, never did I expect that I would see some of my own thoughts reflected back to me through the silver screen.
As I’ve shared before in previous entries, I struggle with the concept of worth. The idea that I could be magical of any kind or have some kind of great destiny before me seems unfathomable, let alone that I may be a deity — an aspect of or reincarnation of Mansa Devi. My path up until this point has been simultaneously unclear and obvious, and even with the discovery of a part of my karmic past, I find myself mired in self-doubt.
I find myself thinking things like, am I really an aspect of a Goddess? How can I know what I think I know to be true? What can I really do in terms of my goal to bring balance when I’m just a nobody? It’s not like anyone could or would verify or validate my ‘claim.’ And assuming that I am who I think I am, how could I even begin to change my reality in the way that I need to to do the work that I need to?
Then there’s Rinpoche. A being who has been verified by others as a reincarnation of a spiritual leader with a path that seems as clear as day. And with self-doubt, just like me.
There’s is a scene in the documentary that perfectly captured the humanity of this spiritual being. A 9- or 10-year old Rinpoche is sitting with two of his friends who have come over to play while the Rinpoche’s caretaker is away. The three children are laughing, having conversations that only kids can have, when one of the friends says, “Rinpoche, you’re a really happy person.” Rinpoche somberly confesses, “But you know, there are people who say I am not a Rinpoche. And I am not at my monastery. And no one from my monastery has come to get me. And I do not have my disciples. So how can I really be a Rinpoche? Sometimes, I feel pretty worthless.” His friend replies after some thought, “No. You’re a good Rinpoche.”
Really, their conversation is paraphrased above, but the essence is there. After his friend responds, the Rinpoche laughs and hugs his friend and the tension is broken. But I sat there, and I realized again (and again and again) that even though I do not know this boy, neither of us are alone in our journeys. I am not the only one with self-doubt. That even the divine are human. That even though the path isn’t smooth or clear or straight, and I have no road map and no (human) guide to lead me, and I may sometimes feel ‘pretty worthless,’ that it’s okay. I may just need an occasional friend to believe in me and tell me I’m doing a good job.