2023 the year we learn to listen to life
Week 45--in which we listen deeply to the Buddha's greatest teaching in a radical new way
Friends, soul writers, mystics, witches, and lovers of prayer,
The Lotus and the Lily—book and intensive—was born on January 1, 2010 when I read Thich Nhat Hanh’s short, powerful book, You Are Here. Everything changed in one moment. One page. One sentence. If you’ve been reading these Notes from the Field for years, you’ve heard me say that when I read the sentence, “The Buddha said, ‘when conditions are sufficient, there is a manifestation” I leapt out of my chair SCREAMING.
Everything we think we know about manifestation is 180 degrees off! It’s NOT about the manifestation. It’s about the conditions!
This week, as I prepare to open the 13th edition of this radical year-ending, year-birthing prayer intensive on Tuesday, I found myself reading and rereading this precious book and falling head over heels in love once more with the Buddha’s most important teaching.
But this year, I felt drawn to reread the section before the bit about conditions.
For several pages, Thich Nhat Hanh prepares us to understand why conditions have to come before manifestation. To help the Western linear mind step out of Western linear thinking, he invites us to look at a piece of paper. Nothing more profound than that.
Just look at a piece of paper.
Then, he asks us to see that before the paper became paper, it was wood pulp, and before wood pulp it was a tree, and before it was a tree it was sunshine and rain. He asks us to look deeply INTO the paper all the way back until we see the cloud and the sun.
And then, if that weren’t mind boggling enough, he asks us to look forward into the paper’s existence and see it burning. Is the paper gone? No, it is not! It becomes heat, which turns into smoke and rises into the clouds to become rain once more.
Think of this: when a drop of rain falls on you, it may be the paper returning in another form.
I did something this year that I haven’t done before. As I read the book, I actually picked up a piece of paper. Touched it. Looked into it. And followed Thich Nhat Hanh’s trail back to the sky.
But then, I did something else. Something the Buddha probably never did. I overlaid the ancient mystical wisdom of the labyrinth—the sacred feminine symbol that is older than the Buddha. Much older.
The addition of the labyrinth came naturally because this year has been the year of the labyrinth for me and for everyone in the first two intensives in The Witch Sequence. During the fall Equinox intensive in which we received our second original sacramental gift –crossing the threshold between worlds—we made and walked dozens of 7-circuit paper labyrinths.
Each one, a revelation.
Our teacher was the labyrinth herself. And with each exploration, she revealed a little bit more about the ancient truths, the ancient knowledge of life, death, and rebirth. None of this is in books. It’s a personal living relationship with the labyrinth itself and with everyone who has ever made or walked or prayed a labyrinth.
And when these two profound teachers—the Buddha and the Labyrinth—came together, I realized that they don’t just complement one another, they are one another. They embody the Buddha’s teachings on inter-being perfectly.
So on Tuesday, we’re going to do something in The Lotus and the Lily that we’ve never done before. We are going to look back at each month of this wild 2023 year ON a labyrinth. A really simple fun 3-circuit labyrinth.
Whenever I teach something, I always experiment first on myself.
And I was surprised and thrilled at what is revealed when you gather everything that happened in January—the beautiful, the sorrowful, the terrifying, the heartbreaking.
Then, carry all those experiences into the labyrinth and allow the labyrinth to reveal the real harvest of that first month.
- Cathy Stevens Pratt created a heart-stoppingly gorgeous Lotus meditative image to help us look deeply into each month.
- And she made a delightful colorful simple 3-circuit labyrinth that we’ll make together. Once you know how to make a labyrinth, you too will fall in love with this mystical process.
- And Cathy made a large golden 11-circuit labyrinth on which we'll write our monthly harvests.
- Then, when we walk this 11 circuit in our 2nd gathering, we'll get to hear the harvest song of the entire year!
- And our beloved shamanic astrologer Emma Kupu Mitchell will be with us to share the WILD celestial news that is supporting us throughout our intensive and on into 2024.
I dare say the Buddha is smiling.
And Thich Nhat Hanh.
I think they’d both love to see what happens when you marry the Buddha’s great teaching with the ancestral mystical wisdom of the labyrinth.
So much magic. So much beauty.
We open Tuesday, so do please register today so I can give you access to all the Welcome materials and bonus videos. Lots of friends across Europe, Africa, and Australia have joined, so there will be a 2nd viewing option on Thursdays at 1p Eastern.
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