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Turn to the Light

11 X 14 watercolor. 1984

spiritual trailblazer

the story of this painting


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.

Eileen Cady(1)

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The 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:

Manjusri once 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 . . .

Tibetan Sacred Art(2)

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*The "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.

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1. Findhorn Community, The Findhorn Garden, p.65

2. Lauf, Tibetan Sacred Art, pp. 72-73

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