It seems so much more expansive and powerful to have this sense of the deity meditating with me, or even through me, rather than poor little me, with all my adventitious defilements, aspiring to be this vast flowering of wisdom and compassion incarnate.
Of course, I exagerate for effect ... I don't really sit there feeling so 'spiritually impoverished', but just wished to convey the sense of how transformative the sense of identification can be. Once you take it on, it seems to melt away at rigid ideas of who is what and what is who. The deity, and yourself ... well, they are not seperate, they are not at all distinct, and even at a basic level, at times it feels like something much larger than you is flowing through you .. as I say, I am being meditated, rather than me meditating.
So meditating on/with/by Machig Labdron, I'm reminded of one of the Taoist Chuang Tze's famous poems, about the man who dreams he is a Butterfly .... though talking directly of dreaming, this teaching so beautifully reflects the dissolution of any sense of seperation in deity practice, resonates with the dreamlike nature of all experience, and speaks of the centre-less, groundless nature of things :
One day about sunset, Zhuangzi dozed off and dreamed that he turned into a butterfly.
He flapped his wings and sure enough he was a butterfly...
What a joyful feeling as he fluttered about, he completely forgot that he was Zhuangzi.
Soon though, he realized that that proud butterfly was really Zhuangzi who dreamed he was a butterfly, or was it a butterfly who dreamed he was Zhuangzi!
Maybe Zhuangzi was the butterfly, and maybe the butterfly was Zhungzi?