Golden Tie

January 22, 2012

I posted the beginnings of my musings on the presentation of a yellow, or gold, tie to David Brooks by a houseguest of his, that he reported during the most recent posting of the pre-NewsHour blog segment Shields and Brooks do with Hari Sreenivasan.  The tie turned out to have a label identifying it as some sort of promotional item from Governor Mitch Daniels of Indiana.  The story seems to be that Daniels distributed the ties in China, and a houseguest from China gave one to David.

I commented on the NewsHour blog that the tie reminded me of white (or gold or blue) scarves given as offerings in some strands of Buddhist culture.  I don’t know too much about this custom.  I did a little bit of reading today about it, after the idea that the tie was like a khata in this context had burbled up in my mind in a vague form.  What I read makes me think that the Mitch Daniels “re-gifting” aspect of the gift is not irrelevant.  But I thought I’d go on about it here, not on the NewsHour blog, out of concern for being thought an inappropriate guest there (and I would have linked to my blog in my comment there, but I’ve never been sure that’s considered acceptable practice on that blog).

I read that the scarf (khata) may be offered back to the person making the original offer (of the scarf) to the lama.  Now, Mitch Daniels and David Brooks clearly are not the same person, but they could be what some people might call part of the same soul group, or manifestations of the same spirit in some way.  The way I interpret what’s going on, in light of other understandings I have about a spiritual partnership that got very complicated, is that the person who passed his spiritual understandings to his partner was no longer available to receive them back from her, so eventually she found a way to return them to his “soul brother,” someone who shared important features of his make-up — that recipient here is David Brooks (“the part of the seeker, formerly played by Mitch Daniels in this tale, is now being played by David Brooks”).  This is a lot more positive an interpretation than was the one apparently previously held that inferred that the lama simply returned the gift to the wrong person.

I don’t actually think the story is really about Mitch Daniels and David Brooks per se, as their own selves, rather I think that they are re-enacting a situation that happened over many centuries.  I think the Mitch Daniels character is long gone (and I don’t think this says anything negative about Daniels’ health or prospects).  I think David’s character is some kind of wise teacher (his career as a pundit is an echo), but I think the return of the scarf symbolizes that he has been missing something, in need perhaps of some understanding that has been returned to him.  I don’t know, I don’t know his life, his spiritual life, or all that much about him, but it doesn’t really matter what I know, whatever it all means will become clear to him at some point, and that’s, to me, what his receipt of this gift from his houseguest is all about.

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