A couple of weeks ago it was suggested that I move to Guhyaloka and take on the Chair fully – at least for a while. I could think of no reason why I’d want to do that, other than to be helpful in a difficult situation. But, as I mentioned before Vajrayogini did not endorse the move and I asked myself what Milarepa would do in the situation – the answer is not difficult to guess; the Buddha came up with a similar answer, and even Bhante thought that although he would not say it was a bad idea he didn’t really think that I was minded to make that move. After a discussion with Moksananda I made my decision not to move to Guhyaloka – although I will otherwise give what help I can. I felt lighter. Ratnaghosha wondered why I was rather more bouncy than I had been.
In meditation the next morning I was idly mulling over a job I’d done at Guhyaloka working with Fred to get an air lock out of a water pipe. I started to relive the experience. Water started to trickle out of the pipe and then gushed a couple of times and then a torrent of brilliant white light surged out of the pipe. I was shocked and recoiled – as I’d done last year when the clear light came out the tupperware bowl – but I took it as a very positive sign that I’d made the right decision. This was endorsed by Vajrayogini who, in her form as a witch, smiled at me – the first time she has done so.
So, I proceed along my path. I don’t know what I’m doing but I’m excited about doing it.
The Imagination has been a theme of this retreat for both myself and Ratnaghosha. We were both inspired reading the draft of Amalamati’s book on the Imagination and I have enjoyed reading Novalis on his suggestion. I hope to read some other German Romantics as well. This is not a new theme for me but I realised something important. I have never really trusted my inner life even though it has been an essential and active element in my experience. I’ve struggled to find an explanation of the imaginal realm to make it acceptable to my rational mind. Living at Uttaraloka I’ve come into a much more immediate engagement with the facts of my inner life and my imaginal connection with the world around me. I’ve understood that I need to stop worrying about explaining this realm to myself and others – and live in it much more fully. Here at Uttaraloka I can experience daily contact with Avalokitesvara and Tara, Vajrapani and others as well as the friendly spirits of the mountains and trees on our land (there are by the way 400 fruit and nut trees – we did a full survey). States of happiness, joy, contentment, love, compassion and confidence arise not in response to this or that external input but from within – it’s like they need negative conditions – no input – to flourish.
In 1974 I asked Bhante if devas were real because I didn’t think I believed in them. He told me to keep an open mind. I thought at the time that he meant don’t come to a decision yet, wait a while – keep your mind open in that sense. Later I came to realise that he meant if you want to meet devas, spirits, and so on you need a receptive mind.
I am aware of the global crisis although it doesn’t really touch us, and I hope none of you are suffering because of the virus or the restrictions it has imposed. I feel highly privileged to be able to live this simple life, with Ratnaghosha, in the stunningly beautiful surroundings of Uttaraloka.
Coming down to earth a bit – I was strimming a terrace with the tractor a couple of days ago and got caught up in a tree. I lost control of the tractor and it went over a ten foot terrace – I was still tangled in the tree. It was heading for another terrace but then hit a bump, turned aside and got stuck so that I could clamber down and turn the engine off. There is some damage but it seems that it is not serious.