I open my heart to the wisdom of the Mother Lineage, and I pray for your tender guidance in this vigil.
The Shambhala teachings that I received during my time in the community focused on the masculine. I suspect little changed after I left the community in around the year 2000. I have appreciated what the masculine teachings did for my developing my masculine side. However, there was a great imbalance in me.
I remember when I came upon the book, Women Who Run With the Wolves, by Clarissa Pinkola Estes around the year 2002, I felt like the great imbalance from my Shambhala upbringing was finally addressed through the teachings of deep feminine wisdom in this book. In fact, I called this book my “bible” because it felt so important to me.
I feel we are witnessing a time of strengthening of the wise feminine. Perhaps this is crucial for the true birthing of the Shambhala teachings in the West, and even Tibetan Buddhism in general. I can’t help but think that these horrible mistakes, these incomprehensible harms, are somehow opening the door for these teachings to enter the West more fully to take authentic root.
It seems that the pervasive multi-generational experience of relational trauma in the West was ripe ground for the arrival of these teachings. Many people were vulnerable and seeking healing. They were not only willing to surrender to the guru, but they *wanted* to surrender their will, their intelligence, their money, etc.
This hasn’t just happened in Tibetan Buddhism. When I watched the Netflix series, Wild Wild Country, about the Rajneeshpuram community, I saw a familiar mentality in those students. It reminded me of what I saw my parents’ generation doing in the Shambhala community. I don’t mean the specific behaviours. What I mean is the approach, the desire, the surrender, the spiritual escape, the rampant sexual exploration, and I suspect the neglect of children in the midst of their spiritual fervour. The vibe in that series really reminded me of what was happening in the 70’s and 80’s in Shambhala.
There was a lack of being grounded and having common sense in the midst of the spiritual exploration. It was unbalanced. And I believe if there were women present who were grounded and in touch with wisdom of their ovaries, this insanity would not have spun out the way it has in many spiritual communities.
I would like to touch again on Pema’s recent resignation and how much I appreciate the grounded statement she is making. I wish we’d had this kind of female leadership all along! It seems Pema is in a process of awakening from the dissociated space so many have been operating in within Shambhala. I appreciate that she seems willing to open to being more in her body and her knowing, willing to look at the gross harm, and willing to find her voice to speak out about the violence. She seems to have gotten in touch with her “No”, and that is a powerful thing. We need more of this, and I hope other women will follow in Pema’s footsteps in this regard.
May we all grow stronger to face what has happened in our community so that we can take steps to repair, heal and ensure our community grows in healthy ways moving forward. May we allow the teachings to help us chart a good way forward with clarity and integrity.
This vigil is for quelling suffering and invoking authentic healing for the hearts of those impacted by: (1) the Shambhala community tragedy, (2) the situation between Iran and the US, and (3) the bush fires in Australia.
Everyone is welcome to join. If you do werma practice, great! If you don’t, feel free to do any form of meditation or prayer. I welcome you joining me in this 21-day vigil!