My dear friend Anne-Lauren and I decided to go for a walk in the woods at the Land of the Medicine Buddha, which the Santa Cruz retreat center generously opens to the public. Once we got there, those magic sacred healing vibes so often present in forest groves and ancient cathedrals instantly filled my being with tranquility. Oh, to someday be able to access this kind of quiet everywhere I go!
Throughout the walk, guided verses offer mind-training and spiritual advice. Some took a little hashing out. I especially grappled with “When…others mistreat me… I shall accept defeat,” which is reminiscent of Jesus’ advice to “turn the other cheek.” After being raised Roman Catholic and rejecting the church because of mistreatment towards women, I’m resistant to of any teaching that encourages one to “take abuse.”
Upon studying the text deeply, however, we decided the true recommended course of action seemed less simplified and more to be applied as such: 1) Get clear about the true nature of the situation. 2) Find an inner peace about it and Forgive. 3) If something can be done to prevent future abuse/mistreatment of others by the person in question, take steps to help manifest this. 4) Intervene only from a place of deep compassion.
The same verses, plus more commentary, can be found in this book: Eight Verses for Training the Mind by Geshe Sonam Rinchen.
Our little journey massaged my soul towards a place of deep release and renewal. May these pictures offer a portal to help heal your soul as well.
There is so much joy in finding a sangha of sorts among friends, as we walk together through this world doing the best we can to maintain and encourage lives of peace, bliss, joy, and realized potential. Love you Annie! This post is sincerely dedicated to you; thank you for everything, you are such an amazing healing being.
(detail) Healing Buddha, from Romio Shrestha’s Celestial Gallery
♥ ~ Meghan Oona
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