to the Light
11 X 14
the story of
When you find
life is getting to be too much for you and you feel weighed down,
stop and look
at a child.
A child lives
fully in the moment, enjoying what he is doing.
He does not worry
about tomorrow and what it might bring.
That is how you
should live. Be ever conscious of the wonder of life.
Story of this Painting
Layers of armor
dissolved when I read about elves, fairies, nature spirits, devas
and Pan in the Magic of Findhorn. It wasn't that they had
never existed for me, but they had fallen from the grace filled state
in which I regarded them as a child. They were put in the closet along
with Santa Claus and various other naive characters that had delighted
me. It was all too appropriate that I would read this book, awaken
in Kathmandu, Nepal, and look out my fourth floor window into the
looming eyes of a gilded temple that transported me directly into
fairytale land. The sun was pouring through dark rain laden pre-monsoon
clouds and dancing on golden towers atop a forested hill. Svayambhu
stupa enchanted me and I spent weeks allowing my paint brush to create
a realm of wonder with colors and images sparkling in innocence. After
almost a year of intense travel throughout Asia, I slowed down and
in Nepal the magic began to spin and weave a tapestry full of life
and mythical beings. "Don't you remember sitting in the top of
pine trees in the park, eating butter, sugar and white bread sandwiches,
being really happy?" cried the deva flower spirit as she emerged
from my brush onto the paper. Relax. Quiet your mind. These words
emerged in that silent joyful space: "Turn to the light as a
flower does. Accept the light without condition as the flower does.
Let it nourish and feed you, as it does the flower. Radiate what it
has given you like a full blown rose, its beauty and fragrance a gift
to all who pass it on the garden walk. An unconditional gift."
It seems now like
those wonder-full moments of surrender and peace come at a high price.
Its a hard long process peeling off those skins of conditioning, only
to find another one closer to the center that has to go, before the
sun can fully reach and fire the light in our hearts. Five years later,
Buddhism having become the motivating force in my life, honing and
clarifying my perceptions, nourishing the hungry child in my hearts'
"no admission" kitchen*, I learned the Tibetan creation
myth of the Svayambhu Stupa. I then understood that truly the magic
of that place had molded for me a new way to see the world:
set out for Nepal in order to venerate the Adibuddha who had manifested
himself in the form of a blue flame above a lotus flower in a great
lake. Svayambhuksetva, the sacred place of the Adibuddha in the middle
of the lake, however, was a spot that the followers could not reach.
Manjusri therefor cut a deep gash with his sword into the rocky barrier
at the southern end of the lake, where upon the waters of the Baghmati
River drained away. Manjusri and his followers thereupon reached the
miraculous lotus flower and built a sacred shrine over the blue self-generated
flame of the Adibuddha. This legend describes the origin of the Katmandu
valley . . .
"No Admission" kitchen was the personal kitchen of my teacher,
Tara Rinpoche, the Abbot of the Tibetan Mahayana Monastery in Bodhgaya,
India. His attendant, Kunga-la, managed it and cooked Rinpoche's meals
in it. Cautiously ignoring the "No Admission" sign, we hung
out in the kitchen, like children basking in warm brown eyes lit with
humor, eating white bread toast on cold retreat mornings. Jan. 1989.
Findhorn Community, The Findhorn Garden, p.65
Lauf, Tibetan Sacred Art, pp. 72-73