Monday, November 2, 2009

Spiritual Vibrations

Today, I ponder the vibrations that I seem drawn to. I was raised Catholic and my grandmother was a strong influence in my early spiritual development, but I did not read the scriptures and I dreaded going to church. I don’t consider myself religious and I don’t follow a set doctrine. I follow what is in my heart and soul and consider myself spiritual and very much in touch with nature, and my curiosity always keeps me interested in everything.

What I learned from my grandmother was largely through observation of how she treated others: Family, friends, strangers. She walked through life with love in all that she did. Even when she scolded me at times, it was with love and words of wisdom about never to hate and to always forgive. Much of what I gained from my grandmother, came later though—the realization—of all that she bestowed upon me.

A few years after high school, I remained friends with an old boyfriend who was very interested in Asian Religions. One day he asked me out of the blue if I’d like to join him to see Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk. I knew nothing of him, but it sounded interesting so I went. That day changed my life. I couldn’t tell you all that Nhat Hanh said that evening, but the presence that I felt emanate from his being and the whole auditorium was so immense. I was filled with an unbelievable feeling of peace and joy. I began reading his books and trying to learn more about Buddhism and other Asian paths. That sense of presence and Nhat Hanh’s teachings have stayed with me ever since.

I continued my own self-reflection and would be on a path to find inner calm—to build a center within myself that was grounded, so that if I came across obstacles, I would have a strong center to fall back on. I had been through extremely difficult emotional experiences and wanted to make sure I was prepared. This has mainly been sustained by my spirituality, writing, and my deep connection and interaction with nature because it comes most naturally.

My next experience of this vibrational pulling was while I was working at a flower shop in my early twenties. One day an East Indian gentlemen came in and he had such a glowing personality and was so tall. His voice was happy and high. After I prepared his flowers, I asked my boss who that was because she was quite friendly with him, so I knew he was a regular. She said that he would come every week to get flowers to take to the Buddhist temple with his wife, Saman. I expressed great interest and she said she would mention it to the wife. Not long after, I did meet the wife and she invited me to join them the next time they went. I was thrilled. She was from Sri Lanka and I don’t remember which part of India her husband was from.

I met Saman, and on our way to Temple, she asked if I knew of anyone that would like to do some office work. I said no I did not. When we arrived at Temple, it was a quaint house down one of the streets not too far from the University. We went in and I was introduced to Bhanti and a few other monks. He had a big smile on his face and was very welcoming and joked with me that I must be a Buddha because I smiled and laughed so much. That made me happy that there was such comfort in our meeting; it was like seeing an old friend, even though this was the first time. He provided me with some literature and we went into a room where there was an altar, with candles, and incense. We settled in and began chanting. I had to hold the book and read from it while the others had everything memorized. The sounds of the words and the feeling of saying them in unison with everyone else was amazing.

I never did go back to Temple, but I was so glad to have had the experience. Since then, I have explored different paths, but I always come back to myself, and to what is within me in the form of words, thoughts, memories. My grandmother, Thich Nhat Hanh, and nature are my main guides.

Another non-spiritual synchronistic event that came out of this is when Saman was asking me about office work. She revealed that she was asking for herself and her husband. I had not known that they owned a small company. About a week or so later, my boss said that Saman would like me to work for her and that she was willing to train me. I was thrilled. This was a new page in my path, and all that I learned while I was with her helped me in finding jobs in the future, since previously I had no experience in the work world beyond flowers and burgers. I felt truly blessed for how all the small events coincided beautifully.

And as for the Vibrations and what made me think about this today is that I am still draw to people from East India. I feel connected in a way that I cannot explain.


jiturajgor said...

This is a beautifully written experiences of yours.When you yourself is a decent and fine person, good and decent people will always find you.

Luciana said...

As I read your post, Rebb, I have a mandala hanging from my neck. I even took a picture with my webcam:

Going back to the center is what keeps us going on.:-)
Loved that photo!

Rebb said...

Thank you very much, Dr. Jitu. I appreciate how you've put this into a more expansive perspective.

That is a beautiful mandala, Lu. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a golden one like that. Thank you for sharing it! Yes, going back to center is like going back to our natural home. I like what you say—that it “keeps us going on.”

I'm glad you enjoyed the photo :)

Vincent said...

I was most interested in your post, Rebb, partly from personal reasons of course - such as the fact I am pondering a post about my own grandmother; partly because I've had much to do with Buddhism, mainly Zen; and have close connections with Borneo. Two of my children are half Kadazan-Dusun, i.e. their mother was from one of the native peoples of Borneo - and a Catholic.

But looking at your post, when you say East India, do you refer to India, rather than the East Indies? Is East India a term used by Americans to distinguish from American "Indians"?

Rebb said...

Vincent, I look forward to reading your post on your grandmother and your reflections on your different spiritual connections and ponderings.

I was referring to India rather than the East Indies, and yes, it was to distinguish from American “Indians.” Perhaps the distinction is not needed…

Vincent said...

I spent much of the afternoon looking at old photos, of my grandmother at different ages. I could write that post but I felt it would not be respectful enough to do so. Could I pass it off as fiction? Yes, but the photos are real. I wanted to call it "consequences of virtue" - meaning that her self-martyring faithfulness ruined her own life and that of others too. In my imagination at any rate. But it is too complex and intimate for a blog post.

Rebb said...

That must have been a nice space to be in—looking at old photos of your grandmother. I am thankful for all of the photos I have to help me in remembering, to spark my memory and imagination. I can completely relate about not wanting to post because you don’t feel it would be respectful enough, and also yes perhaps too sacred to make a blog post. In any case, it sounds like you have a great tribute and exploration to get out onto the page for your private journal. It’s wonderful to examine our pasts. I always tend to come back to writing about my family in some way—and other influences—I guess it’s part of my process and it feels like it could go on and on.

keiko amano said...


Wow, you and all the others seem to know more about Buddhism than I. I have a lot to learn. It's only recent years that I started reading about it a little.

I love your phrase, " beyond flowers and burgers." That's great.

Rebb said...

Hi Keiko, I still have lots of exploring to do to, but that's the beauty--exploration is never ending--and even if we don't have books, we still have nature, writing, painting, and our interior worlds. And of course learning from others by observation and conversation.