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    A Spirit Woman's Vision of Transition and Change

    Excerpted from
    Tree of Dreams: A Spirit Woman's Vision of Transition and Change
    By Lynn V. Andrews

    Oddly enough, I awoke one morning in my little single-walled cabin and opened my eyes to discover that the cabin was filled with light. I saw the Buddha walk through the door. Why the Buddha? I couldn't imagine, but there he was. He was smiling, and he asked the strangest question. "Where's the Buddha? I'm looking for the Buddha."

    "You're looking for the Buddha?" I said, perplexed. "But you are the Buddha. Why would you be looking for yourself?"

    "Maybe the Buddha is in the kitchen." He went off to the little kitchen, came back out, and said, "Well, the Buddha isn't there. Maybe he's in the living room."

    "Why are you looking for what's in front of your nose? You are the Buddha!"

    He turned around and looked at me. Smiling, he said. "That's right." Then he said, laughing, "Maybe I'll find the Buddha down by the river."

    He walked out the door of my cabin and disappeared. I thought about that vision for weeks and finally realized that we are all searching for God when we need look no further than inside ourselves. We are home, but we just don't know it. At that point I started to laugh, and I kept laughing for three days. That was a life-changing experience if ever there was one. The laughing Buddha stood right before me. He was laughing at me and with me in my search for myself. When I understood the simplicity of what he was saying, my whole belief system, my knowledge of what was true and not true, went through a major meltdown. I moved into humor - pure, sacred humor. And I couldn't stop laughing.

    As the months ticked by, I befriended a medicine man who lived nearby my cabin. I believe he came there to watch over me. We walked along the river and talked. I hung onto my sanity by a very thin thread. At times I nearly lost it altogether, but I never lost the reality that I was living in. I think there comes a moment when you can choose madness or not. I chose to stay in the reality that I inhabit, although this may have been the more difficult choice. Things had changed forever. Many teachers and mystics have written about that shift. They speak of vision turning upside down before it turns over. Your personality doesn't change, but who you are does. Your motivations change and your ability to see the sacred dream, as my teachers call it, or the illusion of life, shifts, and you see life differently than you ever saw it before. In a sense, you become a contradiction.

    Someone may ask you one day what you feel and what you believe about certain aspects of truth. You may make a comment that is completely and totally contradicted the next day when they ask you something else. How and why does that happen? It happens because what we often see in life is an illusion. But we don't know how to move beyond it until we reach the place my teachers call power, personal power. In other religious beliefs this place may be called God or samadhi or enlightenment. We get glimpses of the face of God. It's as if the lens of the eye of perception opens, and we see truth for a moment. Of course, that vision always closes, because it's more than we can stand for very long. But from that point on, although we continue to live in that illusion, we find our way home, taking those empty spaces of our being and lifting them up to God for illumination and understanding.

    On my path I went through the anguish of my shaman death, but I lived through it. Now I am no longer afraid of death. I have experienced a kind of death that brought me to the other side of terror, to the peace of creativity. I found the other side of the chasm, and I wrote Medicine Woman from my heart and my soul, wanting other people to see my frailties for the first time in my life, wanting other people to experience the terrors, the joys, and the bliss that I had experienced through my teachers. I wanted my readers to find the courage to follow their dreams. I thought the telling of my journey might help them to see themselves or find a teacher. My teachers are very unusual. Being with them is not like being in a monastery or meditating. It is not like being in school where you read a book and take a test. They teach through experience. They never teach borrowed knowledge. They teach from their experience and the mirrors that are provided by this life of choices. They feel this is the way we learn to understand our consciousness most deeply. Because I have experienced teaching and truth this way, I employ this method in my school and in my books. I try to lead the apprentice along the journey with me, a journey that I have walked ahead of them. Perhaps I pick up the trail for them. It depends. Everyone is different. Everyone needs to learn something different. I do not presume to know what someone else needs to learn, but I can see and I have been trained to open my sacred vision and See, with a capital S. What does that mean? It means that I see beyond what is ordinarily seen with ordinary eyes. I can see spirit and how consciousness is manifesting self.

    Once I was sitting in circle with my teachers, and I said to Twin Dreamers, one of the women, "How do I explain power to someone? How do I explain what this means, this incredible experience of love that I have just had?"

    She said, "Describe the experience only, because if you try to describe what power is, you lose the depth of it. Power cannot possibly come to you or to the person you are speaking with by describing it. Then you will surely lose it. You can only circle it and take someone to the center, and then they have to find it for themselves. They have to take that mirror and peer inside and grow from the consciousness that is reflected there."

    "How do we prepare ourselves for the small deaths that happen so unexpectedly?" I asked Twin Dreamers.

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