Stories of Practice

Here you are invited to share your stories of practice. Post your questions, your insights, your experiences. Respond to one another’s posts to build a conversation. What was the Five Element Soul Retrieval teaching like for you? How is your life affected by your practice? How is your practice affected by your life? What are you struggling with? What realization are you celebrating?

5 thoughts on “Stories of Practice

  1. Jules

    One verse in the new refuge prayer we learned at the retreat says something like, “… the mandala, one’s own body, the source of all qualities without exception.” This idea, the body as a mandala, has stuck with me and has begun to give me a quiet kind of peace about facing mortality. As I’ve reflected on this in my practice these past few weeks, the idea has planted a seed.

    To think about the finely wrought elegance of a mandala, about its fragility and the meticulous, sustained efforts necessary to render a form so ephemeral and so complex, brings on an almost aching appreciation of the inconstant beauties involved in living a life. To think about such a thing makes it easier to begin to imagine letting go.

  2. ~Rio

    Who turned on the lights? Every little object seems to blink and shimmer and dance with happiness. Is this something new or has this always been going around me? Maybe I was MIA while working so hard at being. Thanks to Marcy Vaughn for providing excellent instruction (and much encouragement)
    on how to walk along a brighter path.

  3. Wren Wolf

    I want to share an experience that happened a couple of weeks ago. I will preface it with saying that I have had an issue with anger most of my life….seldom with outward signs of it, but with always “stuffing it” back inside because of my deep belief that it was wrong to express anger….it was wrong to feel anger. I feared that if I let it be known that I was angry then those around me would not like me. After moving through some major life events in the last few years, I realized I was outwardly expressing my anger. This disturbed me. Bon has taught me that no emotion is wrong….it is okay to feel anger….it is what we do with it that can be unhealthy for ourselves and others around us.

    I brought this concern to my practice one morning and allowed Shenla Okar to cleanse it. Behind my closed eyes, I had a vision of myself in shackles around my ankles and wrists and a manicle about my neck. I was a mess….matted hair, dirty, tattered clothes and I was sreaming and in anguish. I immediately knew that she represented the anger part of myself and that I had kept her chained most of my life. As I sang RAM, the chains melted and fell off….and as I sang YANG and MANG she/I became clean and calm. She appeared relieved and peaceful. I was amazed with this meditation

    Now, fast forward a day or two to my home life. There is a person in my life that has easily been pushing my anger button, the adult child of my partner. I would find myself becoming very angry when I would see or hear the disrespect and denigration this child would direct at my partner. My partner came into the house after spending an afternoon with this child in his workshop and relayed the same old story that ended with fist banging on the walls of the shop and the tossing of car keys and the child storming off into the night. I was amazed at myself as I realized I had just sat and listened without judgement….my pain body did not rear its head and I did not feel the need to even become angry or to “stuff” anything. I felt proud of my partner for his courage at standing his ground with his child and I genuinely felt compassion for his son. I was blown away by my self, as I did not have to DO anything…..I didn’t have to WORK hard or analyze anything….it just unfolded and felt peaceful.

    I also want to mention that in the days leading up to this event I had been working rather diligently to memorize the Guru Yoga prayer, so I had been saying it over and over and over. I’m sure that helped! I at least know it did not hurt : )



    1. Sarah Suits

      Good Day, Sangha Friends,

      While reading Wren’s story about the transformation of anger, I had a
      visceral response. Remembering my own experiences with anger, my stomach tightened and shoulders caved forward,
      to try to brace myself from both the anger directed at me and the anger
      generated by me. Like Wren, I had learned that anger was to be shoved
      down inside me, like keeping a rabid, feral animal in a dark, spaceless

      I, too, find myself singing or chanting the Guru Yoga prayer, even
      somewhat subconciously. It is now becoming an effortless way to connect
      to all things good, like the four immesurables, to protect my body from
      a negative response, and to allow myself to breathe.

      Recently, while experiencing a horrendous migraine, I found that even
      whispering the words to the Prayer was too painful. I kept trying, though,
      and found that if I gently chanted the Prayer, as Lynn and Carel have
      taught us, I could let my pain become the words of the mantra. As I released
      my tightened reaction to my own pain, I could feel certain pathways in my
      brain open wide; as if my mind had its own experience of breath.

      As I practiced this, I felt myself smile at the power of the Guru Yoga.
      I brought the faces of people needing the prayer into my mind, and felt
      the mind-breath flow freely. Ahhhh. Not responding to my own pain, not
      becoming more angry, and thus hurting more, was sweet relief.

      Thank you, friends and teachers, for speaking your thoughts and experiences.
      The values of this are infinite.

      Looking forward to more and more. Love, Sarah

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