Flying by my own colours


shadow

Recently I stumbled into something precious. Synchronistically. Attracted by unqualified, instinctive resonance.

Do you sometimes feel drawn to something without consciously knowing why …but feeling the pull and trusting it?

Finding Reiki was like that for me. I had never even heard of it, and as a young adult, that is, before a traumatic and life-changing experience in my life, I would have been certain to run a mile. Ten miles in fact. But aged 33, it was Reiki that stood out in a pile of 10 books on complementary therapies, and synchronicity quickly lead me on my way. (I have never looked back).

Bon Buddhism. I know nothing about it. Each time it is mentioned I prick up my being. I have to pay attention.

So, the only time and place that I can catch the Tibetan Buddhist Lama on his tour of Scotland is in Edinburgh, for a talk on clearing negative karma. The history of Yungdrung Bon Buddhism is mentioned, and again I feel this inexplicable resonance, a sense of recognition.

The gifts I receive are immense, immeasurable. Practically speaking, this takes the shape of being initiated into a mantra to clear negative karma. Experientially , energetically, personally it means more clearing of traumatic impressions left behind on my soul.

I’m a kinaesthetic learner, and if you give me a mantra in Tibetan, even if perfectly phonetically transcribed, it’s going to take me time and effort (and a lot of repetition) to learn. One evening is clearly not going to be enough.

So I respond to the call to practice coming in via email from the organiser next day. Expecting to attend the first day of a three-day-training event in Glasgow in order to practise the mantra that I had been given.

Instead, I am given the foundation teachings of Yungdrung Bon Buddhism and I take refuge. This is big, and I know it. The Lama points out how lucky we are: 90 percent of Tibetans (or some high percentage like that) have never had access to these powerful esoteric practices.

During the empowerment (or before, I can’t now be sure), Rinpoche points out that if received with a pure, devotional mind, one particular part of the initiation has the power to clear at least 50% of one’s negative karma. The aim of the path and these practices is Enlightenment, and human life is precious, he explains. (So let’s not waste it)

Devotion comes naturally to me, it is part of who I am. Perhaps a residue from my native Catholicism, or more deeply woven into the fabric of who I am. Or both.

And I do feel lighter.

Embodying Mindfulness

I have always had reservations about spiritual names. When my friend, after years of committing to Buddhist practice, came back from retreat with shorn hair, requesting I no longer call her Bernadette, I felt compelled to adjust; out of respect. And I got it: that this practice of taking on a new name can be both powerful and meaningful. But to me, when encountered more casually, it can also sometimes have a whiff of vanity about it.

So, I have never sought the opportunity to have a book signed (no need to put each other on a pedestal), and I have never wanted a spiritual name.

I am given one. It is the antithesis of where I am and where I have been for the last two or three years. An invitation to embody mindfulness. A tall order.

When I have been chronically overwhelmed, both with practical commitments, and with the experience of diving deep into my shadow. On a journey to becoming lighter, letting go of what no longer serves, the hidden stuff. At times barely conscious of what day-to-day everyday life requires of me, running most of my duties on auto-pilot (or also not, as the case may be).

Samten Lhamo. A challenge. Another gift.

Commitment

So what do I do with these gifts? They ask for commitment and practice in return.

An invitation to practice the foundation teachings arrived in my inbox this morning. (And practice I need, if I am ever going to learn anything in Tibetan!). What I am going to do?

My gut already knows the answer. I have been asking myself this question ever since, by life’s divine intervention, I accidentally (re)discovered Bon, a few weeks ago.

I accept the gifts I have been given with a deep sense of gratitude and I appreciate the help I have received on my way.

I honour and respect the teachings I received by committing more deeply , and yet again, to the path I am already on: Jikiden Reiki.

I see the value and beauty and truth of what I have been given, and return to where I am best aligned now: the simplicity of authentic reiki practice.