Some of the Tibetan ideas I walked away with after reading this book were; always having a joyful mind, not using other’s pain as a means to personal happiness, and always meditate on whatever provokes resentment. These teachings were simple, and made sense. Not only did they make sense, in this book Pema shares her personal pains, of a marriage she once had and choices to become a buddhist nun despite raising a family.
So, I set out and did at home meditations, and found that when I did a sitting or even laying down meditation I did feel happier, things seemed better. As I became a first time Mother I set the meditation practice aside for most of the first year of my daughter’s life. Even so I do feel, that having read and practiced a bit before Zoe was born, that I was really present to her and all of her developments. I did find I had complete joy in every moment, and that I had opened my mind and heart enough to share seeing the world without judgement just as she was.
After that first year with Zoe, I began to look for ways or methods to support a clearer heart and mind. I experimented with various types of yoga, sometimes I would just follow my breath while I was making dinner and such. I began getting back into metaphysics and spiritualism, a path I had known since a young child. I found I wanted to place myself in and around higher vibrational people and things.
Time moved forward and after the birth of my second child, Zoe was now practicing yoga with a teacher weekly and I was taking metaphysical classes. I had become an ordained minister and chose to be of service to this planet and everything on it.
After ordaining myself I found that things really began unfolding within me. I was doing readings, I taught myself mediumship I was teaching my children how to work with energy and connect to their spirit guides. I remember having to make the choice to homeschool Zoe, unsure of what to do I spoke to her spirit guides and asked for an answer one night while she was sleeping. The next morning while Zoe was eating breakfast she turned to me and said “Oh yea Mom, I have to tell you something you need to homeschool me”. So as I followed my breath on that note, I also listened and followed that direction.
Many, many changes continued to happen... ultimately my marriage ended.
Despite all of this, I met a man who saw me; he too was moving through many, many changes. But nonetheless he was present enough to flow with the creation of our family. He too had several children from his first marriage and suddenly together we had five children.
While all this blending of families and wrapping up of previous marriages was going on I told Dean about Pema Chodron and Shambhala meditation training. That Christmas Dean gave me a present, he gave me a trip to Shambhala Mountain Center in Colorado, there I was to spend the weekend and to complete level one Shambhala training. I could not believe this gift I was speechless and so thankful.
My trip was in the following year and I was a few months pregnant with our youngest child, which made it a grand total of 6 children. I flew into Denver and took a bus, then a hotel shuttle to a meeting point where a driver was coming down from the Shambhala Mountain Center to pick me up and take me up the Mountain. I had so many emotions, I was scarred and excited all at once.
The trip up the Mountain was beautiful... there were running streams and wildlife. The foliage was really green and the sky was perfectly blue with the freshest of air. The weekend was titled, The Art Of Being Human. From Friday night through Sunday morning we mostly meditated, and in the breaks had lectures from the teaching staff at the facility. We did sitting meditation with eyes opened with a soft gaze. We also did walking mediation.
I did so enjoy the lectures as they helped the process of what we were experiencing. I had a bit of free time on Saturday, so I took a mild hike in the snow to visit the Great Stupa that had been built on the grounds. To walk up to such a monumental building took my breath away. There was a prayer and blessing post where travelers before had left something of theirs to be blessed.
The Stupa is this tall mostly white temple like building, with prayer flags streaming down from the top of the outside. The inside of the Stupa was very ornate, with gold leaf in the images etched into the walls. On the floor of the Stupa were colorful mandalas, and glass cases housed some precious Tibetan history memorabilia.
The Stupa is a highly sacred and vibrational space. Buried in these grounds are some of Chogyam Trungpa’s cremated remains referred to as relics. (Chogyam Trungpa was recognized both by Tibetan Buddhists and by other spiritual practitioners and scholars as a preeminent teacher of Tibetan Buddhism). The process that takes place to “find” the spot to build a Stupa is rather involved and extremely sacred. What a blessing it was to visit this monumental site.
The weekend came to an end and I began the journey home, down the beautiful mountain. Then onto the shuttle and bus to Denver's Airport. To my surprise I was able to catch an earlier flight home and was rather excited to see my family.
Once I boarded the airplane and we began the process of the safety instructions I found I was giddy, full of joy. The flight attendant talked about staying bucked and no smoking on the flight you know the regular stuff. When she got to the part of her talk about having a water landing and that we could use our seats for a safety devise I started cracking up.
I thought. really? The chances of survival are not that great, and if we were to survive, would we all be that calm as to remember what to do? As I looked around everyone was sitting there attentively listening to this “crap”, I could not help but laugh, it was funny to me. I guess after sitting for most of a weekend, I got the fact there is no control. That if the plane went down we would die, simple. I also got how fragile we all are and how much reassurance we need to feel ok. How overtime we create this bubble that we have falsely called “real life”, and how much work it takes to peel this away to get to our core.
I came home jumped back into my life and found things to be brighter and full of more joy. Every moment became a gift of time, every person had become a gift and I began to take more into my heart space. Smaller things have always had meaning in my life but now even more so.
I took a second weekend in Shambhala training Birth Of The Warrior, though this time in Santa Monica. I stayed the weekend out there and similar to the first training the weekend began on a Friday night. The lectures were more directed and all around a deeper level. We sat as a group Friday night. On Saturday we sat and walked in mediation and listened to teachings.
This time I stayed in a hotel as this was not a center that housed people.
I woke up Sunday morning ready to go to practice, I got in the shower and began to cry. I don’t know why, but I was crying uncontrollably. I did not want to go back to mediation and was looking for any reason to leave and drive home. Since I had no reason to leave I went to class.
I hoped that I could pull it together and not cry any more that day and certainly not in class. Once the teacher began his lecture, I instantly began crying. I cried all day... I cried in sitting mediation and I cried in walking meditation. I cried at breaks and throughout the rest of the teachings. There was a woman who took me under her wing as she was repeating the levels with her nephew. She explained to me how she had spent a whole weekend of meditation in tears herself.
Even though I was glad when it was time to go...I did leave with such a wonderful feeling deep inside. I was thankful for my experience and I knew I had really worked very hard.
As a healer and psychic often times I find myself sitting with a client who is crying, who is experiencing a physical, mental or emotional pain that is unbearable for them. I know that they are in the process of moving through something monumental.
They themselves are finding their own unique inner Stupa. A sacred place for them to return to. Sometimes with teaching mediation I help clients to create this place of peace and equanimity within themselves, as we all heal in stages. Each of us working on peeling our layers away one by one.
As for that day of tears, looking back I cried for joy I cried for pain and fear. I cried for the birth of my children, the death of my first marriage and the blessings of my second marriage and family. I cried for things in my childhood... ultimately I cried and shed some layers. I rediscovered and connected with parts of myself I had forgotten and awakened my inner warrior.
May you be blessed.