Monday, July 17, 2017

The Day My Buddha Burned - part 13

I should mention again that I didn’t dress God. It didn’t look like anything. It was everything, deep inside all things, but it didn’t have substance in itself. God didn’t look like Jesus to me. Actually, if anything, I distrusted these images. Like many Westerners searching for spiritual support, I looked towards the less familiar and less criticized East for role models and images that were not tainted by the Church’s stories of greed, power and corruption.
I had no tradition. I didn’t come from a religion. And the first great visitation I had was a great thick dark snake like being that came in the night.
Release and surrender are only words until you apply them. I remember lying on my bed with the sensation of this huge being wrapped around my legs and moving in deep inside my spirit body. I was terrified. I felt pinned to the bed. But, I could feel it was not threatening me. I had never been consciously entered into in this way before. I concentrated on my breathing. I relaxed as much as I could. I prayed to God for protection, if I needed it, and all I knew was the need to surrender to this entity. As I began to relax my muscles and to breathe at a slower rate, I noticed a sensation deep down near my tailbone. And I lay there stunned. She was cleaning me. Licking my spiritual body like a lioness washing her cub. I felt shock, gratitude, humility in a flash and I continued to breathe as calmly as I could. The next day I felt my root chakra for the first time in meditation. I didn’t need a group, or a country or a family to stimulate it. What I had was an emissary of the earth mother herself to call my root into consciousness. I was at home when I connected consciously to the earth, no matter where I was in the world. I was a blessed, root active nomad who could lay her roots where she chose. I felt blessed, loved, chosen. Chosen for what? Who knew? I certainly didn’t.
Of course, how do you talk about giant snakes coming out of the earth and licking your root chakra awake? I sounded bonkers, even to myself. I had to surrender the last piece of concern I had about what ‘they’ might say or think about me. It was time to fully embrace the knowledge that I was being given. For a reason I don’t know, I was being called upon to wake up and to be true to that process. To engage with it and to speak my truth when the time was appropriate.
I remember sitting with my mother and step father, my partner and my son and finally speaking about how I felt about God, what I saw, what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, and trying to be as honest as possible. It was difficult to speak these things out loud.  But I did it, and much to their credit, they all supported me with a smile and wished me well for the future. I haven’t looked back since.
I gave up pretending to be ‘normal’ or caring about what ‘normal’ was. I gave up lying to myself and to others. I spoke the truth, when asked or propelled and I didn’t consider the consequences to my future, to my relationship or to other’s opinions. I surrendered to my self to the path that was chosen for me.



Monday, July 10, 2017

The Day My Buddha Burned - part twelve

On the Subject of Thy Will
The study of life really does seem to be a study of what gets in the way of God’s will.
How have I felt God’s will – the act of surrender



Stories of Surrender
For many years I had been playing with the Lord’s prayer and mumbling ‘thy will be done’ half heartedly. I really didn’t want God’s will done at all. For goodness sake, I knew better than that. 
I mentioned before that my parents were atheists. My father’s parents were a mixture of Chinese, Welsh, English and Scottish. My father, taught me the Lord’s Prayer, as a sort of safety device I guess. I remember, as a small girl, reciting the Lord’s prayer before bed. And at the same time, God was never discussed in a serious manner. Jesus in particular was the butt of many jokes and believers were given no quarter. Thinking about it, from an adult’s point of view, I can’t imagine why my father would teach the prayer to me at all.
I used to say it to myself as a kind of goodnight mantra, right up into my teen years.
I spent years facing my demons – living them out – women, the physical body, …. Learning about them…
One day, when I was 25, I was in in deep meditation and I heard a voice say ‘Tiffany, come here.’ And I was so terrified that I stopped meditating. I looked at myself and saw that I was in a highly dysfunctional state. With the language I have now, I would say that my top two chakras were vibrantly open, but the rest were firmly unconscious and underdeveloped. I went on a crusade to ground myself in the physical body. And I did it.
After years or focusing on the physical body and achieving in the physical world, I felt ready to return awareness to meditation and my spiritual body. I started immediately seeing colours, feeling vibrations, seeing the white glow around alive bodies, trees, mountains. And I knew it was time to invoke the spirit into my heart and mind.
I had to face the word ‘God’ again. I had to align my feelings with words and culture. I felt, as always, alone, apart from books.
While sitting in meditation, I was often guided in my asana practice. My body moved itself into position, my hands formed mudras I have never studied and I saw positions I was to practice. I saw images of angels, guides and symbols that helped open up my awareness to the spirit body. And my main practice became surrender.
When I returned to my home country Australia, I focused on my weakest chakra, the root. I had never been able to feeling it at all. I had suffered sciatic pain in my right leg years ago, had been hit by a car that literally dinted in my right thigh when I was a teenager and had led a wander’s life since I was born. I didn’t identify as Australian, I didn’t feel at home in my family, I didn’t have a group that I felt comfortable in. I was highly developed individually and totally alien in a group. I avoided groups and distrusted them. I needed to develop roots.

That’s when I met a giant dark snake. 

Monday, July 3, 2017

The Day My Buddha Burned - part eleven

On the Subject of My Buddha Burning
I remember sitting, stunned, on the sofa. Blank. Even then, even in this moment of clearing and loss, I felt a greater presence than myself reminding me of what I already knew. No image or statue of a Buddha was more important than the teaching and practice of what the Buddha stood for. My clutching hands could not hold the essence of the Buddha.
I don’t know what was driving me. I’m not sure why I wanted to find it or really what I was looking for. Even thinking about it makes me feel stupid somehow. But I was searching for The perfect Buddha to take home from my travels in Thailand. We’d been travelling for months around South East Asia, visiting temples, sacred places, tourist hot spots, ancient Buddhist communities, killing grounds. I didn’t buy a lot of things, but once in Thailand I started to crave the perfect Buddha and the perfect set of prayer beads. I searched in every shop we went past, in every market.
In some big touristy warehouse I found the one I wanted. Its skin was white and it had on a purple robe. It was made of wood. I loved it. All of the statues were slightly different, but this one is the one that I had been waiting for.
We wrapped it well, bought another back pack for it, and lugged it around with us until we finally returned to Barcelona. I have a yoga/meditation/puja room. I take classes in this room and I had a little altar on it with my Buddha, my prayer beads, some of my favourite crystals and some incense.
One day I came home to the smell of smoke in the apartment. I couldn’t discover where the smell was coming from at first, but I realized that it was from behind the closed door of the yoga room. I thought quickly, grabbed the closest blanket like thing I could find (beautiful hand picked shawls from India) and opened the door. There was only smoke. There wasn’t a fire as such, more of a slow ember burning for 6 hours in a room with almost no air. I opened the windows, threw the shawls over the altar (it must have been incense I’d forgotten and left burning that fell onto the cloth, there is no other logical explanation)
There was a lot of smoke. There was no physical danger. It was dirty, with ash and dust everywhere. Neighbours called the fire brigade and police also came to see what the problem was. It was quickly established that I had everything under control. However, the firemen did throw buckets of water over the altar and then proceeded to walk everywhere leaving a much greater mess than there was before they arrived. But considering it was all for the sake of containing fires, one cannot complain about ash being walked through the hall, I guess.
I started cleaning, I would be cleaning for weeks to get the smell of smoke out of the house, and discovered most of my most precious religious tokens broken, cracked from heat, stained black, burnt up and my beloved perfect Buddha with half an arm missing and half his face charred. Not to mention my beloved shawls.
I stared at the wet pile of rubbish on the floor that just a few hours earlier had been the focus of my devotion and attention. While light started spearing into my head forcing space. I didn’t want space. I wanted my Buddha back, with this beautiful arms and his white radiant face.  I thought of how I had searched and searched for it and how we had taken care of it on its way to its new home and how I had loved it.
I was left with empty space in my chest.
And just out of mind, just to the back of the space was a deep sure knowing that this experience was deeply symbolic and deeply necessary for my ability to let go of another crutch I had grabbed on to help me on this path of life.
I didn’t need statues, I didn’t need amulets, I didn’t need prayer beads (beautiful glossy red on white string) at all and actually, it was, basically, just rubbish in the big scheme of things. The big lesson. Let it all go. Die before you must die. Stop believing in the structure of things that look like God. You know better than that. All is Divine. There are no exceptions.
I called my partner. He was out with friends and promised to return. He didn’t return for another three hours. He says he didn’t realize just how important the apartment burning and fire trucks and police entering our apartment and checking over my passport and pending residential status was to my state of mind. It was another loss. I had to give up thinking that our values were the same. That he would view important life lessons the same way I did. That he would value me over the group, even though I knew he was bound to life through his group, not through his individuality, as I was.
So I sat on the sofa, having cleaned what I could for the moment, and let the shock of unlooked for loss settle in.
Again, there was nothing. God was no and all structure. God was in no thing and in all things. I knew this, but I was not living it. But then I remembered that I had entered into a sure contract to live through all that I must, to enhance understanding, compassion and to embrace humanity. From the deep levels and prolonged exposure to my own  hate that I had experienced as a child and teen I had forged patterns of judgment and criticism that boarded on plain self-righteous arrogance.
Every time I tripped up I won deeper insight into the nature of human being. I could not judge those if I had lived in their shoes. I had experienced the deep need to covet something of value and to hold my own ‘precious’, and I had experienced the loss of it, and I could sit there, on my sofa, and laugh, without humour, to myself.
God is not within the white body of a perfectly clad wooden statue. But at the same time, God was in the burning of his arm and the blackening of his face. And to this day I have my blackened and burnt Buddha sitting at the end of my hallway beside an arm long banner painted with ‘Awake’ – Buddha!

What better way to teach a lesson? 

Thursday, June 29, 2017

The Day My Buddha Burned - part ten

In retrospect
Without the inherent belief that my father was the be all and end all of my life, without the crashing of this pattern, without the void that was left in its place, there was no space for more. The cup must be partly empty to pour more into it. I needed to believe and to suffer the breaking of my illusion and to recover and discover what was really there, before the belief.
Conscious and unconscious awakening… the difference

Lovingly embracing consciousness (like a child)




Monday, June 26, 2017

The Day My Buddha Burned - part nine

With Every Loss There is a Gain

These Losses were giant foundation stones deeply embedded in the building of me. Their excavation left me capable of seeing clearer than I had before. And yet, at the same time, there were little subtle and invasive beliefs that surfaced through the years under different experiences. Some of them were quite painful to let go of, and some of them could be released by purely being aware of their existence.

One of the hardest sensations I had to let go of was the subtle feeling that my value of truth, holding truth as a beacon of light and assuming it was the highest goal of all, was only that- a value. That blindly holding onto Truth as the sword of light was not necessarily kind, considerate or of value to others. It was not a golden rule set in stone written down by God. It was indeed, after careful searching, only a value. A value that I didn’t even know I possessed until I suddenly saw the effects my insensitive insistence of truth was having around me.

I remember lying on the green banks of lake Mjosa and facing my truth and my path and realizing one had to go. I could not continue to live honestly if I held so tightly onto truth. And I allowed the value to drop from my body, and I cried again. I had thought it was me. I felt a part of my personality, what I had identified as myself, fall away into the earth. It was a death, again. A deep loss. And a great space. And freedom in that death.



It’s not what you look like…. Levels of awareness .. the need to express physically what you know in your mind…

Monday, June 19, 2017

The Day My Buddha Burned - part eight

The Loss of ‘The One’
Ever since I was a little girl, I, along with countless others, was trained to believe that there would be a ‘one’.  If you asked me straight to my face, I would have to say no, it’s not sane, I don’t believe that, and yet, in actual fact, when the situation arose, I have to say, I finally thought ‘ahh, now, here is the end of my search.’
Please remember at this point in time, that I am someone who at a relatively young age lost what she thought was her belief system, only to find that there were still beliefs to be lost. The angst of knowing better and yet being pulled along by a force so much stronger than I could bear mingled with every stage of grief.
It was love at first sight. I have never experienced it before and have never experienced it again. A certain knowing that he was ‘the one’. A figure so unlike what I might be attracted to, and yet a face known and recorded deep in my mind from a time past that I have no recollection of it. Yes, it felt like destiny.
After countless misunderstandings and a myriad of disappointments, I let him go to a barrage of tears and sudden aging.  Lines appeared where there had been none before. Skin sagged and for the first time in my life, I looked my age. But I prayed. I trusted the will of the Universe. I waited.
A year passed until I heard from him again. And this time, I felt the strong urge in my body that said we were destined to be together and at the same moment, it didn’t command me. I was not swayed by it. I was patient, watchful, and part of me was healthily indifferent. Non attached. It felt different than ever before. I was not a victim to the overpowering flow of feeling. I experienced it, but I was not it. It was a significant moment that I remember clearly. Being rooted in the observer.

And even after the words ‘I think I have misjudged you’ I did not flutter in hope. I saw clearly into the fear and confusion in his own mind and I knew that it was not to be. He called later with suspicion and his own delusion fully intact and I let my ‘the one’ go. I shed no tears. And indeed, it was a relief. It was another illusion that I had passed through, and this time I was getting the hang of it, understanding the feel of emotion in the body and its influence on the mind. I’d had time to absorb it all and learn from it, and to repeat the experience from a different foundation. 

Monday, June 12, 2017

The Day My Buddha Burned - part seven

Integration
It seems that I didn’t truly die. The old ideas, the old me slowly came back and reformed about the body I was in. I became a ‘me’ again. I  never truly believed the stories, as I did before this grand awakening experience, but I have been blinded at times by the power of my patterns.
After the first initial break I started the long slow work of digging up the foundation stones of what I believed I was. I worked arduously, vigilantly and with continual dedication. I faced loss after loss. I held moments of clarity so bright it felt as though there was no going back, and then  finding myself suddenly  tripping on another layer of stone work a little deeper than the one before. Very well then. The sun does not rise all at once. It takes it’s time.
(And even this, ‘it takes time’ is a belief that needs careful scrutiny and is addressed accordingly in Myss’s Defy Gravity.)
I was 14 when I was left with my grandparents. I saw children as a burden. I saw them as annoying, cloying creatures that ate into your ‘real’ time. I certainly was not bought up to think of myself as a mother and I was not a female who was interested in children in any way shape or form.
Imagine my surprise when I discovered I was pregnant! At 28 I looked at the plastic stick with the blue markings and straight into the eyes of Responsibility and said I do. From that moment forward, I found myself wrapped in duty towards my unborn child, regardless of what those responsibilities meant to myself. I turned to my partner of three years and committed myself to a ‘family’ with all that it meant to me.
You know what is coming. The loss of my ideals. The second great crash of my belief system, after the loss of my father, was the loss of the ‘ideal family’.  I promised myself that no child of mine would grow up like I did. There wouldn’t be lies, secrets, strange rules, drugs, instability or confusion. There would be love, support, two stable parents, honesty, hugs and more ‘I love you’s’ than a child could count.
Before my son’s second birthday I was a single working mother in a foreign country. My son was handed between the kindergarten, a baby sitter and the Japanese family I lived beside. I came home one day to my son speaking Japanese better than I could and calling the woman of the house grandmother and I realized, perhaps erroneously, that I needed to get the hell out of there. I didn’t know the smallest thing about my son. I was too busy feeling depressed, alone, victimised and confused. I was suffering the death blow to my family values. The ideal family was pure fiction inside of my head. What I had was exactly what I didn’t want. And I was still alive and thriving and in retrospect, better off than I had been before. I had support, money and care for my child. But I couldn’t see it at all. I was only feeling the death toll of another belief system.
The father did not exist.
The family did not exist. 
And I was soon to find out, ‘the one’ did not exist.

Monday, June 5, 2017

The Day My Buddha Burned - part six

This is part of a novella. You can go straight to the beginning here, or go back to the previous post here. 

Loss of the belief that there was no God

Journey of the Magi ts eliot

One of the first thoughts that entered my head was but, how am I going to tell my mother?
We were brought up atheists. My family laughed at God and made bad Jesus jokes. People who ‘believed’, people who went to Church, people who changed their behaviour to comply with religious beliefs were all subject to ridicule for their blatant stupidity.

And here I was, suddenly, with no rational means to explain what had happened to me, what I felt and saw, what shifted inside of me, and what it meant to my life. I lost all connection to people around me who thought in the old way. I lost connection to the old ideas I had. There was no way to follow back along the tracks when the storm had utterly destroyed them in its wake.

I lost interest in the things I used to be interested in. I didn’t care for the music I used to like. I stopped what little interest in fashion I had. I cared nothing for my hair or face. I was only interested in discovering a way to fit back into society with the experience that I had had.  I lost contact points with everyone around me. I was anchor-less and felt I had no guidance. I was not mature or knowledgeable or confident enough dwell with all that I had. My mind had already taken over and I was reborn.


I was 21, my life wiped away in a flash, and I had no purpose whatsoever.  But there was God and the existence of the All in all things and that was that. And for a very short time, that was enough.

Monday, May 29, 2017

The Day My Buddha Burned - part five

Rebuilding

Slowly, I started to reform myself. I started the inevitable building of myself around this body. I reviewed the past through washed eyes and I wrote letters of forgiveness and apology.  And I knew, in the depth of my being, that God existed.

God being within and part of all things. God being All. No thing exists without God. God as alive, awake and Life itself. A no thing and yet, a some thing that lies within the core of every thing. One is not different from another.

I realized that because of the enclosed shell of hate, fear and unhappiness I had built around myself  I had cut myself off from the human experience. I was judgmental, critical and arrogant. I couldn’t find a point of connection with humanity. Humanity was, for  me, a great mistake. I had believed that humans were basically evil. They lied, betrayed, killed, stole, cheated and were selfish to the core. I had watched the news as a teenager and felt that the world was about to explode with human stupidity at any moment. To maintain any level of sanity, I had to dissassoiate myself from being human.

After my awakening experience, I made a vow

Monday, May 22, 2017

The Day My Buddha Burned- part four

This is part of a novella. You can go straight to the beginning here, or go back to previous exert here.



A Light

At 21 I lived for almost a year as a caretaker of a farm. I wrote, gardened, took care of dogs, inquired into life and forgot about the world out there. I needed to get away from people. I needed to escape from the noise in my own head.

One day, walking the dogs, the dried up grass gold on the ground, Light struck the top of my head, changing my vision for ever.

For three days and three nights I was only light. My vision was clear, my body was nonexistent and I saw beneath the surface. The top of my head was aglow, burning bright and beyond. And I experienced, without doubt, down into the cells of my body, out into the apparent differences in shape and form that we were indeed, all One.


I saw underneath the apparent surface, everything was made up of similar ‘stuff’. This stuff infused all things, including air, and the space between things. There was no here, there was just everywhere that existed in one moment. Up close and far away were the same. Just ever increasing expression of shapes and colours. But we were all the same stuff. Glowing alive magical stuff. 

Loss

I lost my centre. I lost who I thought I was. Everything was washed away with a light so bright it penetrated every aspect of my previous self.  There was no me. There was only light.

Loss of identity.

Loss of ideas.

Loss of beliefs.

Loss of ambition. 

Loss of purpose.


Loss of all the things that came together to make me ‘me’. It was gone. There was nothing, at least for those three days.

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