4 years ago.
If someone had told me then that I would now be winding down my formal Priest Studies and preparing for exams, and hopefully my own Osho ordination, truly, I would have laughed in their face.
Still, this is where I find myself.
Four years has brought indelible change that can't be categorized--little steps, big steps, falling backward, pushing forward, tugged along with my heels dug in, other times, gliding effortlessly--all with the great good will of my Sensei, my dharma family and the Sangha behind me, as well as the support of those who haven't quite understood my decisions, but have supported me none the less!
Their faith has been an inspiration to me.
I've learned it's not been so much about the direction I've taken, but more about the intention, the spirit, behind the movement, and how that intention has benefited both myself and others.
A Spiral Path.
A 108 bead Mala around my neck.
A Buddha stream running over the rocky places of my Skandhas, and reverting to the original path of pure water, creating a unique song in the process.
My song and the process of becoming.
For four years I have worn the simple wooden-beaded Mala at retreats and Liturgies and while meditating. The habit of running my fingers down the beads, to the tassel, has been nothing less than the Buddha Stream over pebbles, reminding me that I am here!
And now, something has come to an end, and something new begins.
I don't know what this beginning might be, but I sensed it even before my Mala dissolved in my hands, and I welcome it with an ever-evolving heart of compassion, an ever-evolving mind of wisdom!
Tonight I intend to restring my Mala.
I don't know what will be included from the one created 4 years ago, or what I might now add. The carved frog bead, the frog that sat on my shoulder for four years, will still be there, somewhere on the strand. I am still like the frog, and always will be--transforming through the cycle of birth, life and death.
Samsara and Nirvana.
And tomorrow night, when I open the Butsudan at the House of Meditation and lead the Liturgy for the first time, the new Mala will encircle my neck. Along with my Kesa, the Robe of the Tathagata!
Gassho and Gratitude to my Teachers!