Tag Archives: Awakening

The Australia Times Interview: Part Two

Interview with The Australia Times: Part Two

  1. You have a deep spiritual connection with Zen. How is your spiritual practice reflected in your poetry?

The focus on daily mindfulness from my Zen practice enables me to be still and clear. From this energy the poems and chapters emerge. I do my best not to write from a space of frustration or of wanting to get the writing finished. I wait until the energy of mindfulness is tangible – then creating the words and text becomes easy.

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2. What do you hope the reader will take away from your poetry?

The courage to believe that they can take steps to transform internally and then make a difference externally. The stories I tell in my poetry and books are offered as a gift to our planet. My purpose in life is to share my wealth of experience on how to live in harmony not just with ourselves but with the place we call home… Earth. I shed light on issues that will affect our world for generations to come. The example of my own challenging journey and personal transformation illuminates a path for others to expand their consciousness and chart the course for a future beyond the abyss. The human race does not need to be stuck with maladaptive options and patterns. We can and must transform. The key to change this deep freeze is Awakening, a spiritual relationship with self and Mother Earth.  My writing delivers a vigorous message about personal transformation in order to become different stewards of the earth and society. I’d like to consider Trailing Sky Six Feathers as the real life version of James Redfield’s best-selling fictional book The Celestine Prophecy. I have nine chapters – loaded with Insights and adventure, plus shamanic training over a period of three decades. Trailing Sky Six Feathers and Redemption are super unique, as they are drawn from my actual lived experience.  Reality based information is in high demand in today’s society, which provides the potential for my project to become a fresh, new icon for today’s hungry culture. Hungry, that is, for authentic transformation.

Front Cover Trailing Sky Six Feathers

3. In what ways has your writing changed you?

In a word – authenticity. I am not good at sitting down and writing four pages a day. I wait until the spiritual energy is present within me, then I write. Sometimes this is frustrating, as I want to get on with it, but when I do not stay still and wait – I simply write garbage! So I use the in between times to do research, edit and look for spelling mistakes and typos. When the energy is sparkling, the writing flows effortlessly.  I do not consider this as a necessary template for others. It is just what works for me to connect to the Muse within.  I trust that far more than any impatience.

Redemption front cover

4. As a peace activist, what do you consider the greatest challenge?

Organization and outreach. Here is an example:

Friends for Peace Canada started on a bitterly cold winter evening, as the Iraq war loomed. I received notice that a Peace Song Circle was happening on Parliament Hill. So I went, accompanied by my wife Carolyn and our dog. No-one else turned up. I remarked to Carolyn, “This is a good idea – it just needs to be organized.” She replied, “Let’s do it.” And so we did and created the nucleus for Friends for Peace Canada.  It quickly grew to a loose coalition of fifty organizations and we asked them to begin the peace process first of all within themselves, then to the community and the world.  Our mandate evolved so that we gave annual Peace Grants to local and international organizations making a real difference, as well as working in concert with other coalitions in the city for environmental and social justice issues.  I also decided at that time to concentrate my energy and efforts locally, feeling that these efforts could infuse global networks from the epicentre created here. I had received many invitations to be a global speaker and teacher, yet felt that a concentration on my home city of Ottawa was the primary focus. I responded to the many international invitations with a gracious decline. I was inspired to devote my time and energy to moving things just a little bit in my city, so that more good things could begin to happen spontaneously. As I soon discovered, there were many good friends across the city more than happy to make this possible.

We organized 5,000 participants at the Peace Song Circle on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, held on a miserably wet, cold spring day in 2003. A sea of multi-coloured umbrellas on a rain swept morning welcomed all those gathered. As other peace protests joined us and sang “All Within Me Peaceful,” the crowd covered the grounds of Canada’s seat of government, all meditating at the end in total silence as the rain poured down on our heads.  The pouring rain was strangely welcome, for it symbolized the tears of Iraqi children, my tears, your tears – transformed into hope through singing for peace with one another and experiencing deep peace.  There was a transformation of anger, anguish and violence into a determined clarity to be peace and to oppose war.  From there we know the wise actions to take.  Those who are waging war would do better if they knew better; but they don’t know better.

Every year since the relentless rain on Parliament Hill, the annual Friends for Peace Days have been memorable. We got rained and snowed on for several years on Parliament Hill, thunder and lightning at Alumni Park of Carleton University – before we moved inside to Jean Pigott Place in Ottawa City Hall. The response to this community activism has blown everyone away, as it went beyond any of our expectations!! The annual Friends for Peace Day is an awesome, diverse, unique Ottawa experience.  It is made possible by the generosity of volunteers and supporters and the diversity of Ottawa who show up to have a good time, be educated and inspired. The Friends for Peace Day creates an epicentre of intent and action – intense at times as people are moved to both tears and laughter. It is fun, poignant and direct. The intensity and joy ripples through the diversity – all generations, faiths and cultures in our northern city. The force of the epicentre roars through the community and activist tables, Muslim families, Asian groups, elders, young folk and the volunteers. The diversity of Ottawa gathers, listens, dances, laughs, cries – and takes home an unforgettable experience of hope and confidence. The family grows bigger each year. All Nations, All Traditions – A Circle of Friendship www.friendsforpeace.ca

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  1. What is your favourite quote?

Rumi’s wise words are most cogent: “Sit down and be quiet. You are drunk and this is the edge of the roof.”

Books Available at www.Amazon.com and www.BarnesandNoble.com  

Autographed Book – Order Through: http://www.ianprattis.com

Zen Practice at Pine Gate Thursday July 23, 7pm – 9pm

Zen Practice has a very practical nature – Chop Wood, Carry Water – and being aware of precisely doing it. The cultural origins from China and Japan do not necessarily travel well to western countries, so I have adapted the form somewhat and kept the essence. Total silence for three rounds of – sitting meditation, walking meditation, stretching meditation. We listen to the bell calling us back to our true selves for guidance, listen to our breathing and through the discipline of this practice we settle into a deep calm and harmony with everything around and within is.  That’s the plan.

Pine Gate Meditation Hall

Deep silence during three rounds of sitting meditation, walking meditation, then stretching meditation. The walking meditation will be outside. Listen to the murmur of the fountain, enjoy the plants as our feet follow the path – literally and actually – of the heart. Flagstones round the potatoes and bird feeders, past the beans, apple trees, herbs and cabbages. The silence deepens as we settle gently into the quality of our mind. Nowhere to Go, Nothing to Do. The simplicity and elegance of silence. The cadence of sitting with breathing in and out, the flow of walking with breath – in and out, the joy of stretching with breath in and out. Then repeat the entire cadence three times. Planting seeds.

Fountain in Garden

Redemption Wins Gold

“Redemption” is the Gold Medal Winner in the General Fiction category of the 2015 Florida Book Festival. The awards ceremony is on January 31, 2015, in Orlando.

Available at Amazon http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=redemption%20ian%20prattis

Barnes & Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/ian-prattis?store=allproducts&keyword=ian+prattis

Here is a recent Press Release about this award winning book.

Novel chronicles Scotsman’s ‘Redemption’

Ian Prattis shares allegory of prevailing over personal demons, triumphing over life’s hardships

OTTAWA, Ontario – From author Ian Prattis comes a moving tale of personal “Redemption” (published by Xlibris) based on his very own life and how he faced and overcame the many vicissitudes of fate he encountered. In this allegory the character representing the author embarks on a hero’s journey, as memories are retold as epics reflecting the great adventure and great struggle of life.

The story follows Callum Mor, opening with his childhood in the Hebrides, islands off Scotland. He draws wonderful mentors to him; his schoolteacher, who lights the spark of a bard in him, animal friends such as an otter, a brutal fisherman who shields his darkness from the boy as he matures, and others. Callum Mor thrives despite the poverty of his home, as the island life is suffused with gentle humor and adventure.

Things begin to change when his father is driven to madness and when his brother is murdered at Montreal. Callum Mor stays with his mother and forgets his yearnings to be a writer. He becomes the best fisherman in the region before grave misunderstandings tear his love, Catriona, away from him. He then drives himself and his crew to the very limits of endurance before his mother’s death makes him snap. He enters the dark zone of alcoholism and withdraws from society with only his animals keeping him on this side of sanity. His solitude is broken when a family with a small girl comes to his house to seek refuge from a storm. Slowly he edges away from his self-destruction as he saves the girl’s life in a winter blizzard. The glimmer of awakening dawns in him, he sees his life pass in front of his eyes, setting the stage for the final drama that illuminates the resilience of the human spirit.

From the rhapsody of an idyllic childhood through traumatic tragedies to the derelict zone of alcoholism and then a state of awakening, Prattis depicts the stations of a personal Calvary that ultimately lead to “Redemption.”

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Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

You can Order through http://www.ianprattis.com/Redemption.html

About the Author

Ian Prattis, a poet and scholar, peace and environmental activist, was born on October 16, 1942, in Great Britain. He grew up in Corby, a tough steel town populated by Scots in England’s countryside.

Why Did I write “Trailing Sky Six Feathers”?

When I talk to folk about Trailing Sky Six Feathers: One Man’s Journey With His Muse the first question is usually “Why did you write this?” Here is what I reply:

Global citizens are staring into the abyss–yet instead of being eaten up by it all, I say to them: “Awaken Spiritually,” for that transforms everything. We have made our world an unpredictable beast because we fail to work with it intelligently. Rumi’s wise words are cogent: “Sit down and be quiet. You are drunk and this is the edge of the roof.” We have to take back control of ourselves and this is a spiritual matter. Turning on the switch of awakening seems to be a good idea right now. We just need to touch the sacred in ordinary experiences of life to find the courage and determination to transform.

I am writing Trailing Sky Six Feathers to shed light on issues that will affect our world for generations to come. The example of my own challenging journey and personal transformation illuminates a path for others to expand their consciousness and chart the course for a future beyond the abyss. The human race does not need to be stuck with maladaptive options and patterns. We can and must transform. The key to change this deep freeze is Awakening, a spiritual relationship with self and Mother Earth.

Front Cover Trailing Sky Six Feathers

Who would be interested? There are four audiences I would like to reach with this work.

The Main Audience: Spiritual Seekers

I like to consider Trailing Sky Six Feathers the real life version of James Redfield’s best-selling fictional book The Celestine Prophecy. I have nine chapters, loaded with Insights and adventure. Trailing Sky Six Feathers is drawn from my actual lived experience. Reality based information is in high demand in today’s society, which provides the potential for this project to become a fresh, new icon for today’s hungry culture. Hungry, that is, for authentic transformation.

Trailing Sky Six Feathers delivers a vigorous message about personal transformation in order to become different stewards of the earth and society. Extensive shamanic training is highlighted, as it was the instrument to overcome my childhood sexual abuse. The journey of remembering childhood wounds and past lives will draw in people searching for interior solutions. In Trailing Sky Six Feathers I show that we can transform the damage and limitations of the past and step onto a path of enlightenment for all who suffer from road blocks in the mind. People around the world are overwhelmed by distraction, fear, suffering and violence – all of which keeps them frozen in a state of inaction – deeply wounded and unable to make changes within themselves and for the planet. The inner journey that occupies this book demonstrates that we do not have to be caught by our suffering, fear and maladaptive responses to Global Warming and Violence. We can take steady steps with wise mentors to break free of the chains and liberate ourselves.

The book will also attract the attention of people interested in Shamanism, Jung, Religion, New Age, Alternative Medicine, Meditation, Consciousness, Buddhism, India, Native American Culture and Wisdom of the Elders. The Sky People who mentored Trailing Sky in medicine lore will certainly pique the interest of Trekkies, given this extra-terrestrial component of the book. Ever since the Star Trek series captured the public imagination with time/space crossovers – there is an intense interest in how past realms and dimensions impact our present reality. That is the very fabric of Trailing Sky Six Feathers and it will appeal to the large Trekkie population who may be surprised that the adventure can happen without science fiction.

There are three other groups of people I wrote my book for. Come back next week to find out!

BlueInk Review of Trailing Sky Six Feathers

BlueInk Review is the authoritative voice in the Indie publishing world, always looking for “next generation” books worth reading. I am humbled by their assessment of my new work. This review will appear on http://www.BlueInkReview.com in four weeks.

Trailing Sky Six Feathers: One Man’s Journey with His Muse
Ian Prattis
Xlibris, 199 pages, (paperback) $19.99, 978-1493196791
(Reviewed: June, 2014)

In this spiritual exploration, a highly educated man becomes a humble seeker, works
painstakingly through the events of two fascinating lifetimes, and emerges with a
message for humankind.

British/Canadian author Ian Prattis has taught university-level religion and anthropology, but even with this impressive intellectual grounding, his journey was incomplete until he contacted
Trailing Sky Six Feathers, a powerful female shaman to whom he believes he was wed,
in the 1700s, in Arizona. In 1777, her final vow as he lay dying was, “I will find you, my
husband.”

Prattis, whose childhood was marred by sexual abuse, set out to comprehend his
present life through his study of religious beliefs of indigenous peoples. This led him to
encounters with several contemporary Native American sages who forced him to drop
his intellectual approach and accept his lustrous spiritual experiences as real, not
dreams or self-induced visions. The merging of the parallel spirit world of Native
American religion into his current incarnation put many disparate elements of his life in
perspective and facilitated his reunion with Trailing Sky Six Feathers, “the greatest
medicine woman the Southwest has ever known.”

Though this fantastic tale leaves room for skepticism, most who read Prattis’ latest work
will be swept up in this saga of self-examination, revelation, and indeed, exhilarating
global adventure. Prattis writes with erudition, charm and humor, ridiculing his own
blunders as much as he praises his teachers.

Now a spiritual retreat leader, Prattis presents a unique viewpoint hewn from hard-won
exploration of traditional wisdom, offering all of us the overarching advice to “awaken
spiritually” so that we may “create a stable economy and way of life” and save Mother
Earth.

Also available in hardcover and ebook.

Light Beam at the centre of the Medicine Wheel

Swooshing at New Year’s Eve

“Swooshing” anyone?

At Pine Gate on Tuesday, December 31, 2013, 9pm – midnight

“Swooshing” is a technical term for Renewing Buddhism.  For New Year’s Eve at Pine Gate there is homework.  Write down on a piece of paper all that you wish to leave behind and where you want to move to.  This can be personal, global, or both – just as you choose.  After the recitation ceremony on Tuesday December 31 we go upstairs for snacks and fellowship. The fire will be lit and then you place your homework in the fire and “swoosh” – it burns and goes up the chimney taking your intentions out to the universe.  You can read it out if you wish or just “swoosh.” Fake champagne is served at mid-night!

“Swooshing” means letting go, releasing stuff, establishing good intentions.

With community support for all of the previous.

Remember it is a matter of – LET GO OR BE DRAGGED!

You are invited to the most meaningful New Year’s Eve party in Ottawa. On New Year’s Eve there is a special tradition at Pine Gate.  We welcome the new year of 2014 with a recitation of the Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings. (See below) This is a complete map of ethics to navigate the difficult times we are in. The trainings are a guiding light to pierce through the darkness that threatens humanity and the planet. How do we choose to behave towards one another when things begin to collapse? Will we be steady and generous or think only of ourselves?  Pine Gate’s response is: ” Enter The Bodhisattva. ”  There is homework – write down all you wish to move on from and what you wish to move to. Then swoosh it into the fire with community support to make it so!

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Date: Tuesday December 31, 2013.

Time: 9.00pm – midnight.

Place: Pine Gate Meditation Hall.

Purpose: Ethical Dance for 2014.

Program: Recitation Ceremony 9.30pm.

11.00pm: snacks and swooshing homework into the fire.

Mid-night: Auld Lang Syne and fake champagne.

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HISTORICAL BACKGROUND:

The Buddha practiced Socially Engaged Buddhism giving dharma talks to people in society.  His first dharma talk emphasized the Four Noble Truths, the Middle Way and the Engaged Nature of mindfulness practice.  He formulated the Five Wonderful Precepts for lay practitioners, which evolved into the Five Mindfulness Trainings.

In the 4th Century AD in India, the Brahma-Net Sutra (Sanskrit: Brahmajala Sutra) was recorded.  It was known as the “Moral Code of the Bodhisattvas.”  It was translated by the Indian monk, Kumarajiva, into Chinese during the 4th century AD and contained 3 groups of precepts:

  1. Do not what is evil (Do not create suffering)
  2. Do what is good (Do wholesome actions)
  3. Do good for others (Help all sentient beings, be of benefit to all sentient beings)

Contained within the Brahma-Net Sutra are the10 major precepts of wholesomeness and 48 minor precepts.  This was practiced in China, Vietnam, Japan and Korea as an early expression of Socially Engaged Buddhism

In 14th century Vietnam, the Bamboo Forest Master (formerly King Than Nhan Tong from 1258 – 1308), went from village to village teaching the Five Mindfulness Trainings and the 10 Wholesome Precepts derived from 4th century India, strongly influenced by the Brahma-Net sutra and the Buddha’s initial dharma talk. In the 20th century, Socially Engaged Buddhism was renewed in Vietnam and extended to the West.  Thich Nhat Hanh ordained the first 6 members of the Order of Interbeing in February, 1966.  The 14 Mindfulness Trainings of the Order of Interbeing contain the 5 Mindfulness Trainings, the Noble Eightfold Path and are a renewal of the earlier Bodhisattva Precepts.  Thich Nhat Hanh brought them up to date to be in tune with our times, in step with modern historical, socio-economic and cultural developments yet resting on the foundation provided by the Buddha and 4th century expressions of socially engaged Buddhism.  They are Thich Nhat Hanh’s gift and guidance to mindfulness practitioners.

New Book Testimonials

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Final stages for Trailing Sky Six Feathers: One Man’s Journey with his Muse. The manuscript is edited – by the professional editing eyes of Lisa Fugard. The platform and Book Proposal is in good shape thanks to Julie Colvin. These two maestros have been so necessary on the journey to completion.  Last steps in the 231 years for this work to percolate. To pique your interest – I post some of the testimonials received so far. There is one more to come, hopefully, from a best selling author. Keeping my fingers and toes crossed on that one. The recent Writers Retreat in Sedona was a marvellous space to do the hard work.  And later relax in the Universe’s Cathedral in Red Rock country.

PRAISE FOR TRAILING SKY SIX FEATHERS

Dawn James. Author of “Raise Your Vibration,” Speaker, Consultant, Sound Healer, Teacher. www.raiseyourvibration.ca

 “I feel what they feel; I hear what they hear”… as Ian Prattis eloquently captures the inner dialogues of his characters as they face emotional upheavals, unplanned events and brilliant realizations of personal and spiritual power. In Trailing Sky Six Feathers: One Man’s Journey with His Muse you find yourself walking beside each character with each turning page, joining them on their journey until together, we reach the final destination of discovering our true nature and purpose in life. A must read!

Dr. Tom Hynoski. Philosopher, Chiropractor, Community Builder.

I look forward to the exploits of this time traveler, Eagle Speaker, who lives in the far off mountains of inspiration. Trailing Skys’ final words to her husband chilled my body and warmed my soul. Love is inter-dimensional and Trailing Sky will follow it just as the great migratory flocks follow the unformed path across the sky. Much thanks for sharing this with me. Namaste.

Bob Allen. Founding CEO and Chief Story Teller at Ideas Orlando – Independent film studio – off shoot of Disney. 1992 – 2001 VP Disney Production Services Orlando.

I am familiar with both Ian’s oral style and his writing as a mentor and Buddhist teacher. But this is a new voice, a very fresh and captivating voice and it offers a narrative that will engage audiences. Ian’s character – for that is really who the teller is here – permits him the objectivity of time and distance and he rewards us with a transparent honesty that makes us part of this journey – which of course we are all on.

Melissa Studdard. Award winning author of “Six Weeks to Yehidah,” Editor of Criterion, Professor of English Literature, Radio Show Host Tiferet Talk Interviews

A thrilling adventure spanning four centuries, Ian Prattis’ Trailing Sky Six Feathers: One Man’s Journey with His Muse renders nothing less than a complete transformation of karma. In addition to weaving a narrative that will captivate readers from the first page to the last, Prattis tells a story of depth and substance, one that, through example, has the potential to activate healing and promote understanding. This is the story of determination, of humanity’s true nature and greatest potential, of how we can live in harmony.

Mountain Wedding

Mountain Wedding

Extract from Chapter 8 of Trailing Sky Six Feathers: One Man’s Journey with His Muse. It is like Indiana Jones meets the Buddha with a dash of Celestine Prophecy as we follow one man’s journey to accept The Muse capable of transforming his karma from violence and abuse to clarity and purpose. An exciting Hero’s Journey, this special and unique adventure shines light on some of the darkest elements of the human condition, including the author’s.

 DCF 1.0

I had flown into the small airport of Castlegar in the Kootenay Mountains of BC for my son Iain’s wedding in the summer of 2009.  The short hop over the Rockies in a small Dash 8 aircraft from Calgary was spectacular – especially the flight into Castlegar airport.  The wingtips seemed to touch the valley’s mountains, as the aircraft swerved sharply into the river fringed village of Castlegar.  My son, his bride to be – Nancy – and my grandson Callun were there to meet me. The wedding ceremony was next day in the Tibetan Buddhist Gompa.  I was expected to wear my Buddhist duds as I was there not only as a Dad but also apparently as a Zen teacher. That evening I had an unforgettable dream, vivid in every detail.

“I was in a river running kayak, sitting quietly in a pool outside the swift eddies that raced to the edge of a waterfall that was huge, sheer, with a vertical drop of 1,000 feet.  The kayak was bright yellow.  The short stubby craft was an extension of my body.  My wetsuit was black and I wore a red lifejacket tightly fastened.  My helmet was also red.  The shaft of the paddle was black and the twin blades a dancing red.  I looked around at the high mountains and forest, noted the mist rising from the swift flowing river before pushing out into the racing eddies straight to the edge of the waterfall.  As I went over the edge I raised the paddle high over my head and leaned back into the kayak.  I did nothing to steer or guide it. The descent seemed forever though timeless.  Yet in a moment my craft had submerged into the river below and then I was bobbing on the surface paddling downstream. A first thought in the dream as I manoeuvred in the middle of the river was “That was a really bad run.  I didn’t do anything.”  Then moments later in the dream I stopped the thinking, realizing that it was the perfect run, precisely because I did not do anything. My lack of insight while dreaming was that I missed my surrender to the fierce current of the waterfall, to the awesome power of the stream of consciousness. Then with lucidity I managed to grasp that reality just before waking up.”

I shared this dream with Iain and Nancy next morning, so they could perhaps see for themselves the surrender to the other necessary for their marriage to work well.  I believe they understood.  Their dharma and mountain friends enjoyed an incredible wedding in the Tibetan Gompa.  Although there was a mountain of alcohol at the reception and dance afterwards, hardly anyone drank it, as the “high” was the quality of celebration and surrender in the wedding ceremony. I thought about this dream a great deal and the reflections were intensely revealing. The guidance in the dream was about surrendering to the stream of consciousness – provided by going over the waterfall without resistance. My long internal journey had obviously done its job, bringing me to the point where transformation and awakening are now internalized and owned. I was no longer a wave in life washing up on some seashore or riverbank and dying without anyone noticing. I had pushed out from the safety of the shore into the middle of the river heading for the waterfall and letting go of all that I grasped onto and liberated myself by choosing to stay in the middle of the river and never return to the safety of the bank, where I would no doubt cling and attach. Instead I chose freedom. The deep water of universal consciousness now carried me through thanks to the changes wrought through my trust in Trailing Sky’s guidance and presence within me.

 

Reflecting back on these adventures made me aware that the daily, intense dialogues with Trailing Sky were creating far reaching effects on my consciousness. They were changing me radically in the direction of transformation. This is not a matter of belief but my experiencing the pragmatic implementation of compassion, mindfulness and wisdom in everyday life. The noise and traffic jams in my mind receded. The self-correcting navigation compass provided by Trailing Sky continued to astonish me. To say that Trailing Sky Six Feathers became my internal discernment misses the point. The indescribable, palpable truth is that this deep source of feminine wisdom was not only lodged in my mind, it was integrated with my total being. My conversations with Trailing Sky opened up the past for my understanding.

The daily sessions with Trailing Sky expanded my mind beyond its logical limitations. There were certainly times that I did not understand, but never, ever was Trailing Sky incorrect. There was something primordial about her all seeing wisdom that was now infusing me, so that I could live and love better. A radical reminder for me was provided in 2013 when I took part in a medicine wheel ceremony in Sedona with a group of writer friends. Our group had a day on the land with a gifted guide, Clint Frakes, visiting ancient rock dwellings and vortexes before he guided us through a medicine wheel experience. I had been to this particular wheel before with my wife Carolyn in 2007, when we both drew the Deer Card. I recognized the scrubland where it was located, marked by a white domed building nearby with the canyon edifices looming in the background, shadowed by the evening sun.

Clint asked me to lead my writer friends into the medicine wheel through the East door. I smudged myself with the burning sage, took off my shoes to walk barefoot, feeling the earth and small stones throbbing into every step. I walked slowly clockwise round the interior of this graceful architecture of universal power. I could smell the burning sage as other friends smudged themselves and followed to find their place within the four quadrants of the medicine wheel. I was slowly pulled to the North cardinal rock, holding in my hand the sacred tobacco. Then did something I had never before contemplated in medicine wheel ceremonies. I walked slowly to the centre ring of stones and stepped into it, turning to face the West. The centre was already occupied by the energy of Trailing Sky Six Feathers and the resonance of her presence pulled me into the mystery and fusion at the centre. I stood there, very still, bringing my hands up to my heart. My new friends were finding their place – two of the women stepped into the centre to share it with me, which was perfectly OK. Pauline from Boston and EagleSpirit from New Brunswick were also drawn to the centre – though both graciously stepped out to give me my space. Our guide on the land, Clint, passed a rattle so each one of us could state our heart intention while inside the medicine wheel. With great dignity and reverence my family of writers created a mosaic of prayer. When the rattle passed to me in the centre circle of stones, the tears poured down my face. I had experienced deep fusion with the living mystery of all things and sang the most sacred chant I knew – the Gayatri Mantra from my guru training in India. I was overwhelmed by the softness, clarity and steely discernment imparted.

I felt the past of 1777 and Trailing Sky’s fusion with me on Rainbow Bridge in 2007 rushing in. She had travelled through dimensions, time and space to become one unified being with me. On this day the dimensions did not have to move or open – everything was already in place. In occupying the centre of the wheel, I felt the deepest stillness and silence, remaining quiet about what was happening within me. The connection in my heart grew ever deeper. There are no words to express the gratitude about bringing alive the Muse patiently waiting for me at the centre of the medicine wheel. This was why I had come to Sedona.  The fusion from the central circle of rocks unleashed from the depths of the earth, energy of a limitless upwards trajectory. This became a foundation point for everything I may say, do or create from this moment on. Awakening, I realized, is a mere road sign for the way forward. It is how such states are applied and used in the world that matters for our times. New levels of deep knowing, essential for survival arose. Not mine – everyone’s, the planet and just perhaps the entire cosmos.

The eruption of energy where I stood at the centre of the wheel was met by the cooling shafts of energy from the divine realms. The two way traffic enveloped me in the forceful energy. To keep me going forward with courage, discernment and fearlessness on behalf of the Earth Mother and to acknowledge this marker for further transition. All that I am describing was captured by the camera of EagleSpirit, an intuitive shaman from New Brunswick in Canada. After we had all moved out of the medicine wheel she took photographs of this stone architecture, now empty of everything except a column of light stretching from the centre circle of stones right up into the sky. The column of light was right where I had been standing at the centre of the medicine wheel.

Light Beam at the centre of the Medicine Wheel

 

The Territory of Suffering

Territory of Suffering    

Extract from Portals and Passages Book 2 – $2.99 on Amazon Kindle

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007EECFUI#_

 Portals and Passages BK 2 FC4

I turn to my teacher Thich Nhat Hanh (Reconciliation: 2010: 64) to open this essay on Healing the Inner Child.

“Dealing with suffering is like handling a poisonous snake. We have to learn about the snake, and we ourselves have to grow stronger and more stable in order to handle it without hurting ourselves. At the end of this process, we will be ready to confront the snake. If we never confront it, one day it will surprise us and we will die of a snake bite. The pain we carry in the deep levels of our consciousness is similar. When it grows big and confronts us, there’s nothing we can do if we haven’t practiced becoming strong and stable in mindfulness. We should only invite our suffering up when we’re ready. Then, when it comes we can handle it. To transform our suffering, we don’t struggle with it or try to get rid of it. We simply bathe it in the light of our mindfulness.”

 

First we have to develop and nurture our mindfulness, which means waking up to the reality of our suffering that we would rather avoid. There are clear warning signals if we choose to pay attention. We get caught in our dramas and find ourselves telling and retelling our stories to whomever will listen. We also court our suffering and keep it alive. We often engage in a competitive aspect – my suffering is bigger than yours. The courtship of suffering can be an ugly romance for we enter into a co-dependent relationship, which has to be called by its true name – Addiction. Physiologically and emotionally we become so tightly tied into our suffering that we cannot be without it even though it is destroying our well being. We grasp at brief insights that “Yes – this is suffering” – but deal only with surface appearances. Yet the surface exposure has a long history of gathering momentum and energy until it actually surfaces. The small snake has become a monster. The addiction to suffering is now embedded in our mental state. We respond to any glimpse of suffering with such destructive emotion that we reinforce the causes and conditions that created the suffering in the first place. And so we continue shooting ourselves in the foot, torpedoing our lives – over and over again.

Our suffering is caused by abuse – emotional, physical and sexual – and it becomes an organizing template in our mind. We then create an abusive relationship with that template’s qualities – addiction; fear; co-dependency. To stop the cycle of harm we need an OMG moment.  The insight that: OH MY GOD THIS IS WHAT I HAVE BEEN DOING ALL MY LIFE. HOW DO I STOP IT? That insight has to arrive in the mind before we can apply ourselves to developing mindfulness as an antidote to the abusive relationship established with our suffering. It is an awesome realization to penetrate the darkness and realize that the abuse you have suffered has created an abusive relationship with yourself. Mindfulness practice can bring the abusive relationship to a halt. This is the required OMG moment that propels you to get to work. To go backwards from the surface and investigate the causes and conditions that placed you in such suffering. And so we learn the practices, tools and concentrations that support this journey of understanding suffering and taking care of it. We break the cycle through re-training and mindfulness practice. We equip ourselves for a journey to be well that requires our determination to practice mindfulness daily and ensure that we take refuge in wise support.

The Wounded Inner Child

Emotional, physical and sexual abuse during childhood creates a lost, frightened and frozen child within us.  If we are unable to reach this lost and wounded child then we may never heal ourselves.  We prefer not to remember the sufferings of childhood, so we bury them and hide.  We run away from seeing deeply into the causes of our suffering.  Whenever the memories arise, however fleetingly, we think we cannot handle them and deflect them into the deepest realms of our unconsciousness mind. This results in the wounded child not being seen for a long time simply because we are terrified of further suffering. Yet we have to find a way to reach the hurt child and make her safe. This means we have to get past the fear and address the suffering, realizing that it is suffering which provides the way through to awakening.

Although we may now be adult, there is also a little boy in us, a little girl in us, who is so afraid and suffers deeply, no matter what kind of happy pretend face we present to life.  This suffering child within our adult frame colors everything we do, generating our fears, insecurities and self loathing, wounding us in our relationships and life.  That wounded child is you, is me, and we must extend a different energy to him so that the energy of childhood suffering can be understood, defused and transformed. Mindfulness is the way through to the inner child. We have to embrace him, embrace her exactlty where they are caught by the past – in fear and with anger at being neglected for so long. Moreover we have to be very skilful.

This means touching the seeds of childhood suffering from an adult state of being mindful and aware, knowing that we must make it safe for that child to come out from hiding behind the closed doors of suffering and pain.  It is we as adults who must no longer run away.  We must have the courage and awareness to bring healing to our hurt inner child and thereby produce a transformation for ourselves.  The steps we take are not only to heal ourselves, we somehow connect to all wounded children – those in our ancestors and descendants and elsewhere in the world.  For once we cultivate the seeds of mindful healing in ourselves, the energy of these seeds continues on into all that we interconnect with. A quantum leap from our cellular memories to everyone else’s throughout time and space. With awareness we take our inner child into our daily life, on picnics, walks, sitting at the dining room table and doing the dishes together. Patiently realizing that we are on a splendid adventure to bring the cycle of suffering to a close, for it may have persisted over generations. Thus we are healing and transforming generations of ingrained patterns transmitted from our ancestors and continued through us to our descendants. Such patterns build up like corrosive rust through time and amplify the fears and suffering of the wounded inner child

Thich Nhat Hanh addressed the issue of child abuse in a Question and Answer session held in the Lower Hamlet of Plum Village, France on the 17th October 1998.  Very gently he spoke about the ignorance and pain of the abuser as well as that of the abused, and stated clearly that understanding was the basis of recovery.  Not blaming or feeling guilt and shame, but seeing deeply and understanding.  First of all to understand that the person abusing must have lived under ignorant and deprived conditions without support, guidance or a wise teacher.  So much so that the power of ignorance was stronger than the person, and thus they were driven to do wrong things.  If the person abused can begin to understand just a little bit of that, then their anger, shame and outrage can transform into a droplet of compassion and through mindfulness practice their suffering can diminish. When forgiveness and understanding are there, suffering decreases.  The second step he suggested was to recommend that the person abused practice mindfulness, to transform herself into a Bodhisattva and engender the compassion to help and be of service to all children who need protection.  By merit of understanding the experience and recovery from abuse, such a person can practice and use their talents to promote measures to protect children.  This helps to eradicate the ignorance that generates abuse.

There are many techniques and methodologies of therapy that address issues of the inner wounded child.  The first one I am going to describe is simple and anyone can do it.  It is a first step and I recommend that it be practiced under the guidance of a therapist, shaman or spiritual teacher.  You are going to start a diary or log book for you and the inner child to write to one another.  The adult you will write using the hand that you normally write with.  You begin by saying “hello” to Little John, to Little Allison.  Then go on to say how sorry you are for having been away and neglectful; that you are grown up now and strong, and that you are going to do everything to make it safe for Little John, for Little Allison.  They will be safe, loved and cherished.  Write in your own words along these lines.

Then with your other hand, the one you do not write with, allow the inner child to express herself.  Do not edit.  Just write down whatever comes out.  It may well be angry, blaming and abusive words that come out, and it is your job not to be shocked or defensive but to provide constant re-assurance, love and guidance.  You bring to this communication with the wounded inner child all the qualities of love, compassion and wisdom you can muster.  These are the seeds of mindfulness you consciously bring to support the wounded child inside you.  The energy of these seeds works on the energy of the traumatized inner child to reduce his pain and suffering.  Talk to him through writing in this way – with total love and acute mindfulness. Then read your diary entries out loud – placing yourself in your adult shoes and then in your inner child’s shoes. This simple act of reading out loud is a way for both of you to be heard. On a daily basis register with how deeply your understanding and love is getting through to the wounded child, for she is listening carefully to every word and knows that you are now listening to her. You draw closer – the adult and the inner child – as you bring awareness, love and healing to the suffering and pain of the child.

Details of trauma may be revealed that you did not know about, which is why you need the help and guidance of a trusted therapist, shaman or spiritual teacher.  This is to support you being a wise and loving parent to your wounded child.  And with time you will notice shifts and changes in patterns of expression as the child becomes trusting and starts to grow, eventually merging fully with you as an adult.  (You also learn to write very well with your other hand!)  In your letters tell your inner child about yourself and your life, take him on outings, treats and give to that child all the care, attention and love you feel you did not receive when you were a little boy, a little girl.  The suffering will diminish and you will experience such a transformation, for you discover that your relationships with co-workers, friends and family start to change, and your fears of the past and anxieties about the future do not have the same driving force.  When you notice things like this tell your inner child: “Thank you for being with me.  That makes me so happy.”   The experience of being with the inner child in the healing journey is a stimulus for this kind of happiness.  There are times you may cry, or feel total joy and also suffer despair, which is why guidance and support is necessary on this beginning journey of reclaiming yourself.  You need that wise spiritual friend and teacher to keep you steady and mindful.  I know, for I went through it.  I am happy to say that it worked for me, as I experienced the painfully slow establishment of trust, then the exhilarating joy of safety and integration, until finally my inner child was the adult me, integrated with a freshness and vitality that I continually treasure.  Ultimately there is only one pair of shoes!

To support this journey there are other practices and meditations that are valuable for the steady process of healing. We have brought mindfulness, concentration and insight to our inner child and constantly enveloped him in the refreshing energy of transformation. We have worked diligently to nurture seeds of happiness, joy and safety in the consciousness of the inner child – the same seeds that are also in us, our ancestors and descendants. When despair and fear arise from the child we have the presence of mind to listen deeply and surround the fear with the stronger energy field of mindfulness. This is a deep and beautiful process because we are no longer running away or hiding from afflictions that have rendered us dysfunctional. Thich Nhat Hanh in his book Reconciliation tells us: “The capacity to be aware – that is, to be a human being who is mindful – is what will save us” (2010: 114).

Buddhist teachings contain a multitude of tools, concentrations and practices that can nurture this process. Such as The Five Remembrances, Five Year Old Child Meditation, Sutra on Mindful Breathing, Deep Relaxation, Touching The Earth and Removing The Object to mention only a few. In Plum Village, Thich Nhat Hanh’s practice center in France, he has provided a much loved practice gatha for the meditation community, which begins with “I have arrived, I am home.”  This is used in walking and other meditations as an instrument to concentrate on breath and be present.  In this way the fears and traumas of the past and anxieties about the future do not crowd in and overwhelm the mind.  The gatha with walking meditation, connected to in-breath and out-breath, provides an essential tool to take care of the many mental formations that flood our waking consciousness with fear, pain and suffering.  With daily diligent practice we can examine these same mental formations but from a place centered in mindfulness.  This simple gatha has become the dharma seal of PlumVillage.

I: Inner Child Has Arrived Meditation

The Vietnamese origin of the gatha provides a penetrating tool to touch our inner child who suffers from trauma and abuse experienced in childhood.  It does not translate as:  “I have arrived, I am home.”  It translates as: “Your child has arrived, your child is home.”  This is so beautiful to say to yourself as you breathe in and out whenever you do walking meditation, for each step welcomes your wounded child to be well and to come home to you.  When you walk to your car or your office, by a river or in a park, you can be more specific and recite to yourself:

In-breath          “My inner child has arrived”

Out-breath       “My inner child is home.”

This is good practice, for with intelligence you use your conscious breath and concentration to heal, simply by welcoming your wounded inner child home through the practice of being present.  We are capable of arriving in every moment of practice, whether it is sitting meditation, walking meditation, having a mindful meal, taking a shower or doing laundry.  Being present in each moment is a way of practice that welcomes home the injured, frightened inner child harmed by abuse.

In order to heal it is necessary to cultivate the internal energy of mindfulness before stopping and looking deeply into what caused the fears and traumas of abuse.  The practice of arriving in each moment nurtures that strength.  From the space of clarity provided by locating yourself in the present moment, not only is your inner child welcomed home, there is also the lucidity of mindfulness practice to deal with the ghosts of the past and at the same time put the ghosts of future anxiety to rest.

In-Breath:        My inner child has arrived

  Out Breath:       My inner child is home

II:  Love Meditation for the Inner Child

Another tool is to adapt the Four Brahmaviharas meditation to focus on the injured inner child and is based on the Buddha’s teachings on Love.  Prepare for meditation by sitting comfortably with the spine erect.  Bring your concentration and focus to breath on the In-breath and breath on the Out-breath.  After ten or twenty breaths, whenever you feel calm and stable, begin by bringing each of the components – Love, Compassion, Joy, Equanimity – into yourself, the adult you.  The next sequence now provides a focus and concentration to water the seeds of Love, Compassion, Joy and Equanimity within your inner child.

In-breath                      I bring Love

Out-breath                   to my inner child.

You can say a loving name for your inner child if you wish.  Say silently “Dear Mary” or “Darling Joseph.”  Feel the energy of love fill you from top to toe and register with the energy for several breaths.  Then continue in the same way with:

In-breath                      I bring Compassion

Out-breath                   to my inner child

In-breath                      I bring Joy

Out-breath                   to my inner child

In-breath                      I bring Equanimity

Out-breath                   to my inner child

Then conclude the meditation by once more bringing Love, Compassion, Joy and Equanimity to the adult you.  This meditation nurtures the wounded inner child wonderfully and at the same time nurtures the adult you.  The Buddha’s teachings on Love provide the foundation for this Love meditation to the wounded inner child.  The concentration on these four qualities is an incredibly powerful instrument for healing.  I do not have the words to adequately describe the impact but Thich Nhat Hanh does:

The Buddha says if we gather together all the virtuous actions we have realized in this world, they are not equal to practicing love meditations………If we collect together all the light from the stars, it will not be as bright as the light of the moon.  In the same way, practicing love meditation is greater than all other virtuous actions combined.

 

There are many other methods of meditation and practice that could be documented here.  I felt it appropriate to indicate some of the ones I used to good effect in my process of healing.  These were practices that accompanied the shamanic healing conducted in an Altered State of Consciousness (See Healing Journeys in Portals and Passages – forthcoming).  One factor that was very important is that I was determined to heal once understanding dawned in my consciousness.  From that awareness I took specific steps and relied on wise teachers, medicine women and steady friends to help me along the path of healing and transformation.  I must emphasize that this is not a journey that can be taken alone, so do ensure that you have support from your sangha and good guidance from a therapist, shaman or spiritual teacher.

Thich-Nhat-Hanh-image-5

Transformation in India: Part II – Diary Entries

Transformation in India: Part II – Diary Entries                                        Ian Prattis

Excerpt from Chapter Five: Healing and Transformation taken from my forthcoming book: Trailing Sky Six Feathers: One Man’s Journey with His Muse. I want to write with an authentic, elegant voice and captivate the reader as I navigate past and present life experiences over four centuries – from brutal raids on Indian settlements in 18th century Arizona, insane sea voyages off the Scottish Hebrides in the 20th century and finally, to a decisive life moment of surrender to The Muse in the 21st century. These screenplay-worthy epic tales weave together to create inspiration for fellow spiritual seekers – I just have to be in the right place internally to do the weaving. India is an excellent transformation point.

Streaming video of poem, voice, photos: http://www.ianprattis.com/poemmovies/buddhatemplepoem.htm

DIARY ENTRY, DECEMBER 20, 1996                   

Prem Kutir Ashram, Mumbai, India

Feel weaker than ever this morning.  Could hardly make it from my bed to the bathroom.  Hope the saints who have passed through this little ashram are casting a protective eye over me.  Perhaps they can cheer up Chotolal, the Nepali cook here, who has become quite anxious, especially as I have not had the energy or inclination to eat the special dishes he prepares.  He is watching me write in my diary, so I will change hands and write with my left hand so he can laugh and feel less anxious about me.  It worked!  Why have I become so ill?  All my bodily systems have gone off line.  Is there some major purification going on in my body, is there something I do not see?  What lessons are there?  Or are my days drawing to a close in the silence of this ashram?  My blood tests from the hospital show that I am low and deficient in just about every category and the medications only make me feel worse.  So many questions and worries yet they do not seem totally important.  I ask them then they fade away.  It is a bit strange.  A few days ago I collapsed and passed out while at dinner at Madhumas house.  I know that she and her family would take me in, yet this saints refuge is where I feel most comfortable right now.  The quiet and simplicity of the place speaks to me.  I guess it allows me to prepare for death.           

Have been in an almost constant state of meditation for weeks now.  A deep quiet silence.  Making entries in this diary is almost an interruption.  Yesterday, Tom and Bev phoned from Tuscon in the States and it was wonderful to talk to them.  They sent prayers from the desert.  Another friend, Barbara, from Michigan also phoned.  She tunes into me very closely and was sufficiently alarmed to offer to fly to Mumbai and take me back to the States to get well in her home.  Their love and care is very moving, but I know that whatever is to happen is to be here in India.  It was not easy to communicate this to Carolyn but I do believe she understands.  My prayer is that she does not suffer unduly. Have sent Chotolal to buy some cards and stamps for me.  The cards are beautifully hand painted on pipal leaves with pictures of the Buddha, Krishna dancing and other such scenes.  Want to make sure I finish my Christmas list.  Sending Christmas cards to friends and loved ones.  Feel such a calm about all this that would normally surprise the heck out of me.  The calm is just there, sitting with me, just fine.  I know there is a distinct possibility I will not live beyond Christmas and want to send out a Christmas message from India – “Blessings and Love from Ian.   Writing the cards has exhausted me, but I feel satisfied and full mission accomplished.  Chotolal brought in a package of mail from Canada: letters and cards from family and friends, a framed photograph of Carolyn, my dearest friend and companion.  Made me very happy, also made me cry as I thought of friends I may not see again.  Yet they were strange tears not full of sorrow or anything, just tears as I thought of loving friends.

I keep falling asleep very quietly then waking up very quietly.  Sleep is like a light breeze that seems to visit now and then.  Ate a little bit of dinner to allay Chotolals anxiety, but it is my supply of rice malt and vitamin C that is keeping me going.  Chotolal placed some fruit and water on the table by my bed, then left to spend the next day with Nepali friends in another part of the city, taking my pile of Christmas cards to post.  I am enjoying the silence and solitude, now that he has left.  It is about nine o’clock in the evening and I am drifting off to sleep on gentle wings.

DIARY ENTRY, DECEMBER 21, 1996                 

Prem Kutir Ashram, Mumbai, India

Waking up was easy, getting up was a struggle but did that in stages.  The quiet and silence inside the ashram is quite palpable and almost visible. I remembered my shamanic training with White Eagle Woman.  Had a dream about her during the night, but do not recall all the details.  I do remember that she told me to construct a mental medicine wheel around me and include all my spiritual ancestors.  Did that and feel an incredible constellation of energies, like millions of guardian angels from everywhere.

A decade later, when I consulted my notes and diaries from India for this book, I realized I had overlooked something totally pivotal and crucial. There were scribbled references and notes about a female deity in the mental medicine wheel who orchestrated the energy of my spiritual ancestors. She was there at every stage of my recovery, present at every initiation and ordination. I had written it all down. I felt the hair rising on the back of my neck as I reviewed my diaries.  The scribbled notes revealed the identity of the female deity as Trailing Sky Six Feathers.  How could I have been so stupid to not realize that the female choreographer of my recovery was her.

Took some fruit and returned to my book of meditations and began to read slowly, stopping frequently to close my eyes and feel the words.  Have no sense of time or space today, as each meditation seems to move me with its own measure and carry me along.  Feel such a deepening in my heart, all the way inside my body.  Aware that there is no fear or panic, just a simple and happy acceptance.  That is all that is there.  I have never experienced anything like this.  Have no thought of anything and feel deeply content for no apparent reason.  Is this surrender?  Peace with God?  No flashing lights, visitations or visions only a quiet surrender and being with the inevitability of it all, whatever THAT is.

DIARY ENTRY, DECEMBER 22, 1996                  

Prem Kutir Ashram, Mumbai, India

I woke up this morning, heard two crows saying hello from the tree outside the window.  Feel so happy to be alive.  Chotolal is singing in the kitchen and rattling his pots and pans, so I will celebrate this new day with a little breakfast.  That will make us both very happy.  A clear insight that this death is a spiritual one, as is the rebirth.  I feel completely new this morning, as though I have been rewired and plugged into sockets with a bigger voltage.  Part of my preparation to continue moving along the path of understanding. 

CAROLYNS VOICE FROM OTTAWA, CANADA, December 10, 1996:

There was a strange voice mail on my telephone answering machine didnt recognize the voice and couldnt make out what the person was saying.   Was it Ian calling from India?  If so, it was a really bad connection.

December 12, 1996:

Ian called.  He had left the message, but it wasnt a bad connection.  He is so sick that he can hardly talk and his voice is unrecognizable.  A cold chill ran down my spine.  He says hes had surgery and that his systems are all crashing, one by one.  But hes not afraid I believe he is not afraid of dying if that is whats happening.  What can I do?  My first instinct is to go to India, to be with him, to care for him, but no, he says this is a journey he must go through alone.  I am so worried.   All I can do is surround him with light and love.  And I pray I pray that God will care for him, make him well and keep him safe. Dad is in the hospital dying from heart disease two open-heart surgeries in the last month.  The doctors are amazed that he is still living.  I wonder if he is afraid to die.  Im being forced to look at death, my fears, my attachments.  I cry.  Dad has been ill for many years and I know he will not likely survive this ordeal, but Ian.  Ian is too young.  His life work is not done.  He still has so much to offer.

Ian speaks about the possibility of death with such calm.  Hes not afraid, but I am.  I dont want to lose him.  I am not prepared to let him go.  Over the phone from India Ian teaches me about no birth and no death, that we continue living in all that we touch – simply a different manifestation than our physical bodies.  But this is too difficult for me to accept at the moment.  I am attached.  I do not want to let him go.  Ian directs me to the teachings on impermanence, and encourages me to meditate on the Five Remembrances being of the nature to grow old, the nature to become ill, the nature to die, the nature for all things to change and knowing that we will be separated from those we hold dear and that our only true possessions are the consequences of our actions.

Christmas Day, 1996:

Ian called.  He sounds a little better but is still very weak.  I shed tears of relief.  I continue to surround Ian with light and love.  And I pray.  I pray that God will give him the strength and will to overcome his illness. Hope is fading for my Dad.  Hes in intensive care and only Mom is allowed to visit him for a few minutes at a time.   None of his children are permitted to see him.  I pray that he does not suffer for too long.  I pray that he can find the same kind of peace and calm that Ian has found.  I am terrified that he might be afraid to die.  But I dont know his thoughts or feelings and my family wont talk about death.  I am caught in a paradigm praying for my Dad to let go, to end his suffering but afraid for my dad that he might be dying in fear.  That bothers me so much.  At the same time I pray for Ian to survive, but my fear is for myself at the thought of Ian passing away and leaving me.  He seems so prepared and accepting of death.  Here I am, afraid for my father at the thought of him passing away, yet afraid for myself at the thought of Ian passing away.

August, 1997:

After ten long months in the Heart Institute my Dad passed away.  Ive come to realize that he was not afraid.  He hung on for so long to allow my Mom and my siblings the time to accept his death, time to let him go.  I am so grateful that he wasnt afraid to die. At the same time Ian returned from India and I am grateful to have him back home alive and well.  His experiences in India have totally transformed him.  His near death experience also transformed me, for he guided me to look deeply into the realm of birth and death, to accept death, to let go and to see the continuation of loved ones in all aspects of life, from a flower blooming to a family member smiling.  I do see my Dad every day in different manifestations of life.