The shift from self to service
Spiritual practice can be a funny thing. I always long to be there, and then when I am, my mind wants to be somewhere else, doing something else. The ego throws its subtle little conniption fit, like a toddler that knows instinctively when your attention is elsewhere.
This morning I was blessed to be able to experience some time alone in the house. No matter how much you love your significant other, and I do, someone else in the house creates a pulling energy of some kind. The implication being, “You don’t want to be doing that, you want to be with me, or at least doing something useful.” I don’t think that’s what he is thinking, probably, this dear husband is 100 percent supportive, but that’s the harmonic it sets up in me. When I’m alone I feel truly free to practice as much as I want, as long as I want.
I think that sensation of someone wanting you to do something other than what you are doing comes from childhood, and the array of expectations that are laid upon a child from the beginning.
“Don’t ever be late, do your homework, napping is for lazy people, clean your room, what would your auntie think, we need to talk….”
On and on. With my parents, who were wonderful, it was never out of meanness. It’s just what parents do. And my room was pretty awful most of the time, to be fair. But it does set up that aura of looking at everything you do from the perspective of looking over your shoulder thinking, “Someone, somewhere wants me to be doing something. Something else.” Your mind accepts that, and that’s the setup for spiritual practice interference.
This morning I had two full hours to play. I did my Qi Gong, some foundational energy work, and Calligraphy writing. I offered a mantra chanting practice on FB, and settled in to a deep Tao Calligraphy tracing and forgiveness practice with Master Sha’s blessed voice in the background. Heaven. My mind didn’t kick in until after about an hour and a half, it had been so engrossing. It started offering helpful little thoughts like,
“My feet are tired. They don’t like standing here tracing so long. Maybe it’s not good for them.”
“I have so much to do today, I really should stop now.”
“I wonder how the young woman that was at my meditation class yesterday is doing….”
And once the train gets going it doesn’t want to stop.
Today though, finishing my intended two hours seemed important, and I hunkered down a bit. I invited some Divine beings of my acquaintance to come and be within me, I changed the music to a continuous spoken chant of the Compassion Mantra Da Bei Zhou, closed my eyes, and traced. It became like dancing, trance-dancing. The whole process became immediate and precious.
Sometimes the spiritual practice can feel like duty, something we are doing to get somewhere else, to be more, to be less, to get rid of something. Something we do for ourselves. Often we do our practice on another’s behalf, and that is wonderful. On occasion one can fall into a timeless space of no thought, where we are vitally, thrillingly alive and filled with light and presence, and that last half hour became that for me.
My inner vision showed me that my being was inhabited by the invited Holy ones, graceful, powerful, radiant. I often see that I am standing on a lotus flower, wearing different, beautiful shining clothing. Today the flower became like a bubbling froth of pink, gold and white light, and I had a thought “I could bless the earth with this light.”
There was the shift. A palpable, visceral shift from self to service.
I thought, “The earth is actually under my feet. I can shine this light to the earth.” So still tracing and dancing, I saw this moving light spreading all around the globe, and within it. To the burning places, burning with flames, and burning with hatred and division. To the water, the trees, the air, the animals. Tears come to me even now, thinking of it. It was an entirely consuming and amazing experience, and I am transformed by it. I couldn’t tell you how much time passed, but when I emerged it was past the time I had allotted my self.
This can happen for anyone willing to push through the resistance of the mind, our own and the race mind as well. I know very well that I might not be able to re-create this experience again, probably not in fact. It was a gift. But I can’t wait to get back to that place where it’s possible. I think one reason this happened the way it did was trust in the Divine, that it was safe to ask great illuminated beings to come and be with me. They hear us, and they have power. They also know exactly what our bodies and minds will tolerate. So fling caution to the wind and dance!
I give deep gratitude and love to my spiritual mother Guan Yin, to Ah Mi Tuo Fo, to Da Shi Zhi who were with me. Greatest love and thanks to my beloved teacher, Master Sha, without his teaching and blessing none of this would have been possible.
Kristin Strachan Compassionbuddha.net