Dear Insightful Readers,

As we ended our walking meditation at Deer Park Monastery, we gathered in a room. There were meditation cushions and mats on the ground, and there were chairs. I chose the floor and all its glory of being nestled in a lotus position which meant some pain, some tightness, some maneuvering and repositioning during the hour and a half.

It was time for Q & A. I figured that people would ask questions about the monastery itself… the land, the routines, the traditions, the shaved heads. But no one asked the group of four monks and nuns that sat in the front facing the sojourners, the spiritual seekers. There were approximately 250 people that day from all walks of life, the newborn and the elderly, people from South America, Poland and Vietnam. But one things that we had is common is the courage and the willingness to go inward to the sacred chamber of our heart and soul.

So the seekers sought and pursued the four monks and nuns for insights into their personal journey. People came to the front to sit in a chair next to the monks and nuns. There was always a bow of reverence to each other, honoring the Divine. There was a clearing before each question which consisted of ringing of the bells.

One lady had nightmares and going to sleep was very painful for her. Another lady struggled with the recent death of her sister due to cancer. One lady was a practitioner and didn’t want to become the “weird one” or the isolated one. One man was burdened with the destruction of our environment and if he could really be of any service to our planet.

Have you found yourself in one of the scenarios?

Since we are all one, we can plug ourselves in any situation. We can feel, be empathetic, be compassionate because even though each person raised their hand to be called on and sit in the chair, that is really us… searching for answers, solutions, insights on what way to travel to maintain our balance so we don’t scatter… but plant a heavy footing in the Life Storms.

One question and answer intrigued me about the blending of religions. One Vietnam monk shared whatever your “religious tradition” that you grew up in… let it build roots like a tree and branches that still flourish. In fact, he would like to learn more about the teachings of Jesus and Christianity. A Polish monk shared that he was raised Catholic and how Jesus and the Saints live in his gut. They are part of him even though he is a practicing Buddhist monk.

And the message was one of embracement, not separation, that resonated with me. As a child and adult being told what is wrong and right, it never felt true. It built the wall of separation in my heart. But as I grew into the woman I am today, awake, conscious, unfolding, I realize that I can embrace all walks of people, life, cultures, religions, politics, beliefs, and it is well with my soul. Because the more I open up, the more I let in.

Opening my authentic self,

Photo credit: Image obtained from Google (Free Images of Deer Park Monastery)