While I was at Kripalu Institute this past Monday, December 10th, I had a vision of a young yogi wearing a white headband while receiving an Ayurveda treatment. The next morning upon waking I heard the name Milarepa and was aware that I was still wondering who the man was that appeared during my treatment. As I began to research Milarepa's life and journey to enlightenment, I understood why he had come to me. HIs story was incredibly profound and has had the effect of bringing to me a deeper level of compassion for my own "story". Another mystery is unraveling helping me understand the overlay of Tibet that has been showing up here in many different forms as I create the spiritual retreat center here. For those of you who do not know who Milarepa was, below is a copy from the web:
Milarepa, Tibet’s Great Yogi-Sage and Singing Saint
Tibet’s Great Yogi-Sage and Singing Saint, Milarepa (1040-1123)
Biographical text and image from Timothy Conway. copyright © 2006
Image : In a classic style of thangka or Tibetan sacred painting, Milarepa is shown with his Tibetan guru Marpa above his head, and the Indian tantra sages Tilopa and Nâropa to left and right; Milarepa's disciple Gampopa is to the lower left, and, to the lower right, the first Karmapa (head of the "Black Hat" Kagyü order of Tibetan Buddhists founded or inspired by Milarepa)
Milarepa (repa, “cotton clad”), “by far the most famous saint of Tibet,” established, with the help of his guru Marpa and his own disciples, the strongly meditative, mystical and devotional Kagyü school of tantric Vajrayâna Buddhism in Tibet.
Jetsün Milarepa is universally venerated throughout that country as its most powerful and heroic yogi-sage. He is certainly one of the most interesting and beloved figures in all of spirituality—an outstanding exemplar of Jesus and the Buddha’s commandment to “love thy enemy.” Mila’s case is paradigmatic: he overcame evil—others’ evil and his own evil —to become a superhuman Buddha in one lifetime. His is a life of sincere effort, tireless dedication, and amazing austerity culminating in supremely enlightened wisdom and all-embracing compassion.
I am sure that as I continue on this journey, more will be revealed regarding my relationship with Tibet and its culture but the example of Milarepa is one that really inspires me. No, I am not a yogi and no I don't plan on going to a cave to achieve enlightenment. I do completely resonate with the heart call of my soul's desire toward enlightenment and to deep compassion, mercy and forgiveness which Milarepa's life exemplifies.
Several themes emerge here that I want to express. Never give up hope, do not judge another's path, and have deep compassion and forgiveness for yourself and all beings. My path over the past 30 years has been one of continual falling down on my knees and finding the strength to get back up and begin again and again and again. I am here to share with you that it does get easier. I don't "fall down" quite as much as I use to. I have a deep commitment to my path of remembering who I truly am and why I am here. I knew 30 years ago that my soul's desire is enlightenment and a part of me knows that we are already that which we are seeking.
May we all remember Who we Truly ARE.
I have had the experience of walking the line between the light and the dark and nearly dying because I landed in territory that was very dangerous for my soul. It cost me a lot, but as I reflect back, I realize how the darkness that I experienced was my greatest a teacher. I have learned discernment and am witness to the power of love to transcend all limitations.
A lot of people speak about "the shadow" and coach that it is a part of us. I don't fully agree. I absolutely KNOW that we are light. From my personal experience, I recognize that the shadow is a condition of our current experience on this Earth. Embracing that darkness is what we must do which is the same as embracing love. The two do not exist together, though they are both present. This life is a dance, and sometimes we find ourselves on our knees or even worse..... But do not give up on yourself, or others!
As a young man, Milarepa emerged out of his anger and ruthless revenge into a path of his own enlightenment. He reached enlightenment in a single lifetime which had not been done before ( at least in recorded history). His example illumines our human potential. I am not advocating for everyone to find a guru and go live in a cave. That was many centuries ago and we are now living in a new age of awakening consciousness with different models for our ascending path.
We are living in a world that is fraught with polarity and judgement, negative projections and discord. We are living in a world where there are many distractions, "false news", a huge range of teachers, and opportunities for our soul's growth. Choices, choices and more choices abound especially for those of us who are living in developed country.
What do you choose? May I remind you that you DO have a choice each moment as to how your life your life.
I can assure you that listening to the still, quiet voice of your own soul will lead the way. I can not urge enough the power of developing a meditation practice and a morning routine. It took me a very long time to develop my own morning routine, but I can not live without it now. Make it your own, and change it up as needed. Even something as simple as taking 5 minutes to run rainbow light or white light down through your body for a fresh start can make a big difference. When I worked full time, I would call in my light as soon as I woke up and had a practice of meditating before going to bed. That practice has significantly changed now that I have more time and freedom in my life, but most of us don't have that kind of flexibility. Whatever your lifestyle is, you can be creative and make a commitment to yourself for yourself! It is important to be "selfish"... translated as loving yourself so you have the capacity to love others.
Listen to the words that you say and be aware of whether you are "adding to the light of the world". ( thank you Patricia Cota Robles for that simple and profound message!) Watch whether you are judging someone for behaviors that you find uncomfortable. Discernment and judgement are two very different qualities. Recognizing that you are not comfortable and choose to not act or be a particular way is part of the discernment. But we DO NOT KNOW another's path. To judge another is to judge one's self. To discern is to learn and grow and make choices that are right for your path. That path is uniquely yours and is a gift unique to you.
I am so very grateful for the many teachers along my path and for the lessons that I continue to learn on this journey called LIFE.
May you choose LOVE in each moment and embrace FORGIVENESS, COMPASSION and HOPE.