Wednesday, August 29, 2012

To Grieve.

Grief - Original Artwork T Olckers. All Rights Reserved
I grieve.

I have lost three children since April this year. They weren't human children; two were cats and one a dog. That doesn't mean that my grief is any less than if they were human children.

I still look for them. Sometimes I catch glimpses of them from the corner of my eye that turn out to be shadows. The pain of their passing is real, and I miss them every day, as much as I miss my father who died four years ago.

Yes, I will be ridiculed by some people. Of course, that is to be expected. "It's just a DOG. It's just a CAT. You can get another..." and "Don't be silly. They weren't REAL children."

To me they were real. I have no human children and I love my animal children as much as I would if they were human.

I still expect to see Bodhi sauntering up the drive to greet me. I expect to find Diego wagging his tail at the gate. I still sometimes think I see Leilah surveying the world from her perch on the roof. And then I realise that none of them are there, that they are gone, and I grieve.

I have cried more these past four months than I have in the past four years. My children are gone. I still have five living, four legged and furry babies. I love them too. I miss the ones who are no longer with me.

And I grieve.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

A Vision of Three Buddhas

Buddha - T Olckers - 23/8/2012 - All Rights Reserved
 As I was falling asleep, I had a vision of Three Buddhas.

The first one, I fashioned out of beach sand and it stood up, out of the sand,   a magnificent being at least 7 feet tall, and then stood beside me as we watched the ocean. He looked at me, smiled and walked into the ocean where the sand disintegrated and became part of the ocean.

I looked beside me, and there stood a second Buddha, also tall and one made entirely out of onyx, gleaming and beautiful with a very elaborate headdress. He too smiled at me, and as he did, the onyx cracked and fell away to reveal that he was made of gold (see my cartoon drawing, left) and his headdress was less elaborate.

He held his hand above my crown chakra and a light the colour of which I can only describe as yellow-blue as there is no colour like it that I have seen before, enveloped my body in a warm light cocoon.

The Buddha stood before me and dissolved into the light, which now swirled around me. He too smiled and walked right through me as a being of light and disappeared, leaving me surrounded by the swirling light.

Monday, August 6, 2012

I'd Be Happy Too If I Could Meditate All Day.

I used to believe that spiritual people were really happy people who never had to deal with crap. Because they are enlightened. And vegan. Who don’t drink or smoke or fuck. Vibrating on a higher level on a cloud somewhere with their own personal gurus on the astral plane whispering the solutions to all life’s problems into their ears.

Which, of course, is utter nonsense.

No one is constantly happy every single day of their lives. I think it’s silly to expect that of anyone. Yet, when we begin the journey towards the Divine, that’s what we are expecting of ourselves. To have a silly grin slapped to our faces 24/7, to never experience hardship again and to spend our waking hours with the energy of a troupe of Hare Krishnas on speed.

I have expected that of myself. The reality is that regardless of how far I am on the journey (and I am guessing I am only at the starting gate in any case, and completely unqualified to even offer my opinion, but here it is nonetheless), I will still spend some time in uncomfortable silences, have days (or months) where I am not up to chanting, and I will experience challenges in my day to day life. What I have seen of the people I admire the most for their spiritual journey, some things have become harder, not easier. However, a connection to the divine has somehow made diversity easier to navigate.

I doubt that finding your spiritual core elevates you immediately to a place where you are untouched by life's challenges. Those same people I admire still cry and laugh and have fat days and low days and joy days.

If I followed all the advice given by this, that and the other teacher in this, that and the other book/DVD/audio presentation, I would have to devote myself full time to all the exercises that I would be expected to do. (Deep breathing, journaling, yoga, chanting, reconnecting my energy to the universe, clearing my chakras, clearing my aura, empowering my chakras, empowering my aura, honouring my ancestors, honouring the gods and myself .... and then a little snack before more prayers, mantras, painting of mandalas and silent meditation.) I understand why Buddha, Jesus and all the rest of the great teachers didn’t have day jobs – there was no time for one!

I feel that everyone’s journey is personal. Teachers and Buddhas and gurus and masters provide (often conflicting) guidance. There is a lot of “This path is the only path”. To paraphrase Kalil Gibran: say that you have found a path, not the path.

And that’s all it is: guidance. Our personal journeys towards our own divinity is just that: personal. My path is not your path, and my path is not ‘better’ than your path. It’s just a path. A bumpy one with detours and a few crazy people jumping out of the bushes, but still, a path.

So I am going easy on myself. I don’t have to be vegan or an accomplished yogi or a nun to live a life that is richly spiritual. I don’t even have to believe in God to do that. Nor do I have to be constantly happy. I just have to live my own, authentic life while I walk a path that suits me right now. I don’t have to listen to every teacher that comes my way. After all, they teach what comes from their path and their experience. I may agree or disagree, but I don’t have to take the same path.

(Secretly, though, I would like to have my very own cloud and the energy of a troupe of Hare Krishnas on speed).