I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease and Parkinson’s Disease. In Feb 2012, I became very ill, anxious, sleepless and depressed – I wanted to die, but I didn’t want to die in that mental state. I shed many, many tears. At some point on my journey I began to take up painting again and found it healing. I felt inspired by nature and her beautiful colours. I felt cheered. Recently, I came across Chogyam Trungpa’s book SHAMBHALA, The Sacred Path of the Warrior, and his words resonated profoundly with my experience. Then I knew for sure I was on the right path because almost everything Trungpa wrote concurred with my experience.
QUOTATIONS taken from the writings of Chogyam Trungpa
“The Shambhala teachings are founded on the premise that there IS basic human wisdom that can help to solve the world’s problems. This wisdom does not belong to any one culture or religion, nor does it come only from the West or the East. Rather, it is a tradition of human warriorship that has existed in many cultures at many times throughout history.”
“In Tibet, as well as many other Asian countries, there are stories about a legendary kingdom that was a source of learning and culture for present day Asian societies. According to the legends, this was a place of peace and prosperity, governed by wise and compassionate rulers. The citizens were equally kind and learned so that, in general, the kingdom was a model society. This place was called Shambhala….
Warriorhip here does not refer to making war on others. Aggression is the source of our problems, not the solution. Here the word “warrior” is taken from the Tibetan pawo, which literally means “one who is brave”. Warriorship in this context is the tradition of human bravery, or the tradition of fearlessness…
The key to warriorship and the first principle of Shambhala vision is not being afraid of who you are. Ultimately, that is the definition of bravery: not being afraid of yourself. Shambhala vision teaches that, in the face of the world’s great problems, we can be heroic and kind at the same time. Shambhala vision is the opposite of selfishness….”
When I’m feeling ill and experiencing pain, I feel completely self-absorbed and self-centred. I cannot feel my inner warrior, only my victim. So, to begin with, Trungpa suggests that “ we should make an effort to examine our own experience in order to see what it contains that is of value in helping ourselves and others to uplift their existence.
“If we are willing to take an unbiased look, we will find that, in spite of all our problems and confusion, all our emotional and psychological ups ad downs, there is something basically good about our existence as human beings. Unless we can discover that ground of goodness in our own lives, we cannot hope to improve the lives of others. If we are simply miserable wretched beings, how can we possibly imagine, let alone realize, an enlightened society?”
This was/is my challenge.
“Discovering real goodness comes from appreciating very simple experiences…We are speaking here of the basic goodness of being alive- which does not depend on our accomplishments or fulfilling our desires. We experience glimpses of goodness all the time, but we often fail to acknowledge them. When we see a bright color, we are witnessing our own inherent goodness. When we hear a beautiful sound, we are hearing our own basic goodness. When we step out of the shower, we feel fresh and clean, and when we walk out of a stuffy room, we appreciate the sudden whiff of fresh air. These events may take a fraction of a second, but they are real experiences of goodness. They happen to us all the time, but usually we ignore them as mundane or purely coincidental. According to the Shambhala principles, however, it is worthwhile to recognize and take advantage of those moments, because they are revealing basic nonaggression and freshness in our lives – basic goodness.
Every human being has a basic nature of goodness, which is undiluted and unconfused. That goodness contains tremendous gentleness and appreciation. As human beings, we can make love. We can stroke someone with a gentle touch; we can kiss someone with gentle understanding. We can appreciate beauty. We can appreciate its vividness; the yellowness of yellow, the redness of red, the greenness of green, the purpleness of purple. Our experience is real. When yellow is yellow, can we say it is red, if we don’t like the yellowness of it? That would be contradicting reality. …. We can cure ourselves of depression if we recognize that the world we have is good, but it is good because we can experience its goodness…The human potential for intelligence and dignity is attuned to experiencing the brilliance of the bright blue sky, the freshness of green fields, and the beauty of the trees and mountains. We have an actual connection to reality that can wake us up and make us feel basically, fundamentally good. Shambhala vision is tuning in to our ability to wake ourselves up and recognize that goodness can happen to us. In fact, it is happening already.”
It is my hope that my paintings and cards will atune you to your basic goodness.
The archetype of the spiritual warrior has shown up elsewhere in my life.
Interestingly, synchronistically, I drew the rune Teiwaz, The Spiritual Warrior.” Patience is the virtue of this Rune, and it recalls the words of St. Augustine that the reward of patience is patience.
The molding of character is at issue when you draw Teiwaz. We are asked to look within and delve down to the foundations of life itself. Only in so doing can we hope to meret the deepest needs of our nature and tap into our most profound resources. We have to learn to align the self with the Self.
This is what my illness is teaching me.
Blessings to you all.
P.S. Hope you like these paintings and that they cheer you up.