On Good Friday 2005, during a morning meditation in a Vipassana retreat at Wat Ram Poeng, Thailand, Grace kissed me and blessed me with a miracle that changed my life forever.
It was the kind of retreat that was mostly self-guided. I would walk and hour, then sit for an hour. Meals were simple and accommodations spare. We were encouraged to be in silence for the entire 10 days, except for the 2 or 3 check-in meetings with the Head Monk. I engaged with the retreat with a fierce determination to heal a traumatic experience and it was super charged with love.
On that fateful day, I picked the Buddha stupa as my stomping ground for that morning’s practice. The stupa was beautiful in the dewey morning light. I started walking in the deliberate attentive way I was taught. Right foot, heel, ball, toe, left foot, heel, ball, toe. Slowly the air around me changed. A warmth that wasn’t heat and a vibration that could not be seen emerged. It felt like I was walking in liquid honeyed air. Every step was liquid honey. Every breath was liquid honey. I was caressed inside and out with this rosy warm golden touch for what felt like eternity. Then my little timer alerted me to sit. I sat down on my little bamboo mat and closed my eyes.
At some point, the smell of jasmine filled the air. Then in my mind’s eye, the sky opened up and jasmine flowers were falling like rain. I sat in this blessed state until my timer went off. When I opened my eyes at the end of the session, a single jasmine flower lay perfectly in the middle of the triangle of mat in front of my feet.
I didn’t talk to anyone at the temple about this. I was actually concerned the monks would want to take the flower from me. When the retreat was over, after an initial wide-eyed blabbering to a few, mostly incredulous friends, I’ve kept the story quiet.
I put the jasmine flower into a tiny ziplock bag, tucked away with my Tarot card deck and it was my cherished traveling companion for 9 years, until its future ritual purpose was revealed to me. Another story for another time.
The experience left me reeling and I actually feel a little dizzy just writing about it right now. It is one thing to be told of miracles or to read about “water into wine” stories in the Bible, but it is something totally different to experience a miracle first hand. Everything is the same, but suddenly my world was completely different. I was left feeling then, as I do now, with a fluttering knowing in my heart that anything can happen, anytime. It makes me smile and also feel a little unsettled. As I look around there is a shimmering quality to what I see. Perhaps you can feel it too?
The jasmine flower was a gift and a talisman to grasp on to, for after its appearance, deep painful realms rushed through me like an oily sandstorm. I got the healing I asked for and more.