No Angels Wear Pink Pyjamas

Image from Chakra Centre

Image from Chakra Centre

“I do believe we’re all connected. I do believe in positive energy. I do believe in the power of prayer. I do believe in putting good out into the world. And I believe in taking care of each other.”Harvey Fierstein

 

Yesterday I went to a favourite cafe in New Farm. It’s the first time I’ve driven myself to a cafe in over a year, and I was really looking forward to the opportunity to sit on my own in a quiet corner, writing and enjoying a good coffee.

I arrived very early, just after six, put in my order and got to work. While I wrote, completely absorbed in my story, the place filled up. It was a typical wintery raining morning in Brisbane, and there were couples, family groups and lycra-clad cyclists at all the outdoor tables.

After a while I had a strange feeling, and realised that a man a few tables over, sitting with a small group of his friends, kept staring at me. If I looked up he looked away, but as soon as I returned to my laptop he was staring again. It made me feel quite uncomfortable.

Eventually I caught his eye, and we just held each other’s gaze for a minute or so. I had a sensation of the most intense recognition, Now I was sure that I knew him, but I couldn’t place him at all. I smiled, mentally wished him well and sent him some love and went back to my writing.

As I was getting into my car an hour later, a young woman came over to me.

“Excuse me,” she said. “Can I talk to you for a moment?” She was nervously screwing the edge of her jacket between her hands.

“Sure,” I said, throwing my bag into the car.

“My boyfriend thinks he knows you,” she said, her words tumbling out in a hurry.

“The one from the coffee shop?” I asked. She had been sitting with her back to me, so I’d never seen her face.

“Yes, the coffee shop and from the Highway…” She said it like a challenge.

And then I knew. Slowly I sank down onto the driver’s seat of my car. “The man on the motorcycle,” I whispered.

Brisbane is a small place. If you lived here you’d know that we’re always joking about how the rest of the world may enjoy seven degrees of separation or connection, but in Brisbane it’s only two.

Last year, very very early, Ben and I were heading back to our farm at Possum Creek, about two hours drive from Brisbane. It was about 4am, rainy, and I was incredibly ill from my Lyme drugs. That’s why we had decided to drive home at such an hour. After some sleep, and before my next round of meds I was hoping that it would be a vomit-free trip.

Image from Transgrediendo

Image from Transgrediendo

We’d only just entered the Highway when a motorbike screamed past us on the empty road, going so fast it made it look like we were standing still. I was overcome with the blackest of dreads.

“Slow down! Slow down!” I screamed. I wasn’t sure who I was even talking to, my husband or the bike.

My husband slowed the car, and put his hand on my leg. “Are you okay? Are you going to be sick?” he asked, his voice filled with concern.

I couldn’t even speak, I was so upset, but I shook my head to indicate that I was okay. We drove on for less than ten minutes and then the traffic came to a stop. There had been an accident. It was the bike, as I’d known it would be. Debris was strewn across the road. A solitary motorbike helmet sat in the middle of a lane like someone had casually placed it there. The traffic banked up behind us.

An ambulance was already there. More arrived. Police cars came. I was trembling with shock. To calm myself I closed my eyes and went into meditation.

And there I saw it all, as though I was looking down on the accident from above.

“That’s my friend,” said a man beside me. He was wearing a motorbike jacket. “Can you help him?”

His friend was on the ground, badly injured. Ambulance crews were bent over him, trying to get him stable, trying to stop the bleeding. His leg was hanging by sinew and denim. He was distressed and awake.

I poured my love into the man on the ground. I called on God. I asked all of the Angels, Guides and Ancestors to help him and to hold him safe. I prayed for the paramedics, who were fighting so hard for this man. I asked for the best outcome for all.

Image from tumblr

Image from tumblr

Eventually the ambulances left, and the police and fire crews cleared a lane so that the traffic could creep past. The sun hadn’t even come up yet.

The twisted remains of the bike had been pushed against a concrete wall. The car involved had already been towed away.

I cried.

When we got home to the farm I couldn’t stop thinking about the accident. I searched the online news and police reports, but found only the briefest mentions. In the end I lit a candle for all involved, and included them in my daily prayers and meditations.

“My boyfriend is sure that you’re an Angel,” the young woman said, bringing me out of the past and back to the carpark. “He says you came to him in the accident, and you were wearing pyjamas.”

I had been wearing pyjamas that morning. Pink pirate pyjamas and fluffy purple socks.

“It’s because of you that he believes in God now,” she said. “He comes to church with his mother and me.”

“I’m no Angel,” I said, trying to smile, deeply embarrassed at what she’d said. “What Angel would wear pyjamas? I’m just a person. I am a meditator, and when the accident happened I was in a car nearby, and so I prayed for him, and sent him love and light in my meditation. That’s all.”

“It’s been a terrible time,” said the girlfriend. “He lost his leg you know, but the worst thing is the guilt. He’s been so depressed about his friend.”

Now I understood. The man in the jacket who asked me to help his friend that day had been riding pillion. He’d been in the accident too. “I’m so sorry, for you and all your family,” I said.

The girl nodded, tears rolling down her face.

“Hey,” a voice behind her said. It was the man who’d been staring at me. It was the man from the crash.

I extended my hand and shook his, and we introduced ourselves. And then I stood up and gave him a hug. He was thin and frail under my arms. I could feel how tenuous his will to live still was.

“This is your second chance,” I whispered in his ear. “Make it count. Make it count for you, and for your friend. You’re still here for a reason.”

He cried. I cried. We hugged again. And then we said goodbye and I came home to my little house in Brisbane, pulled myself together and began a day of psychic readings for clients.

Truly, there is no such thing as an Angel in Pink Pyjamas, but I do believe that we are all connected, and that with our thoughts, intentions , love and prayers we can make a difference.

In our hearts we are all one. Let’s help each other wherever we can.

weareallconnected

How to do Tonglen Meditation – a Beginner’s Guide

Heart Chakra image from Juicy*S

Heart Chakra image from Juicy*S

“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” 
~ Charles Dickens

At times it is easy to feel small and insignificant – unable to help when all we feel in our hearts is an urge to try. When those we know are suffering, or when there is a catastrophe in another part of the world we might wonder what can be done.

There is something we can do. Meditate!

I first started practicing this meditation as a small girl – maybe three or four years of age.  No one taught me.  I just seemed to know what to do.  My baby sister was fidgeting and restless one night, tossing and turning in the bed beside mine as her teeth came through. I breathed in her fever and distress with every in-breath, and with every out-breath I imagined my breath covering her like a soft blanket, helping her to settle and be calm again.

My ‘magical breathing’ (as I thought of it) worked, and I’ve been doing it ever since, as part of my daily meditation practice.

Child meditating - image from www.vk.com

Child meditating – image from www.vk.com

It was not until I reached my thirties that I found out Tibetan Buddhists have a name for this type of meditation – they call it Tonglen. Tonglen is Tibetan for ‘giving and receiving’ and it is a beautiful and simple practice than anyone can do, with no experience.  What matters is your intent.

Sit or lie quietly, and close your eyes. I like to sit with my spine straight, and my hands together in my lap, thumb tips pressed lightly together. (Use the image of the Dalai Lama at the bottom of this page as a guide.)  If I’m lying in bed, I lie on my back with my hands crossed together over my heart. Try to sit if you can, but for those of you unwell or unable to do so, a prone meditation practice will still work.

Start by imagining someone that you want to help. It might be a friend with depression.  You breathe in the heaviness of their energy and suffering and breathe out joy and peace, or whatever other energy you feel would bring them comfort.

All you ever have to do is ‘breathe in’ the condition, emotion or suffering of another, making room for healing and comfort within them.  Then ‘breathe out’ positive energy, love and light to fill the space you have created.

The suffering of others is also our own suffering, so this meditation can help us as we endeavour to help others.  If you are in pain, breathe in your own pain and also the pain of everyone who is suffering from your affliction.  Breathe out relief to everyone, in whatever form feels most right to you.

Do not worry that the things you breathe in will become a part of you, further weighing you down. As you breathe in suffering it is transmuted back into light, and it dissipates harmlessly.

Sometimes you may not even have a word for what you are breathing it – it will simply be a feeling, a weightiness, a blackness or even a void.  Breathe out hope, lightness, joy and well-being.  Breathe out ease.

At times when we don’t know what else to do, this suffices. As you bring peace to others, you bring it also to yourself.  It is a very soothing and calming practice.  You don’t need to belong to any particular religion, or follow any particular spiritual philosophy.  This simple practice merely acknowledges that we are all human, all connected, and all the same – no matter who we are, or where we come from.

His Holiness, the Dalai Lama says of Tonglen:

“Whether this meditation really helps others or not, it gives me peace of mind. Then I can be more effective, and the benefit is immense.”

Image of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in meditation from www.wisdombooks.com

Image of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in meditation from www.wisdombooks.com