The Rainbow Woman and her Rainbow Warriors
Few Great Spirits were being born to the People, and in their absence shadows crept across the land. Old Ones took their Wisdom into death, for few there were, in those days, to receive it. Lodges stood empty of inspiration, while leaders lacking balance and integrity, and shaman wielding deception and hysteria, rose to move the Peoples' whims.
It came to pass that the few who still held to the Old Ways gathered secretly to seek new vision. Through many days and nights they dreamed and smoked, prayed and fasted, sweat and chanted together, until their forms were lost and they became one Spirit, surrendered to the direness of their Need.
Then to their Circle came a Woman clothed in rainbows. Her eyes were blue like springtime sky and her body round and full of summer's promise. But her face was drawn with winter, and blizzards howled behind her voice.
"Too long have you and your People lived in the fierce land of Power, into which your sun is setting," she told them sternly. "Too long have your leaders vied and paraded, coveting and competing for what is the Birthright of all. Your lust and greed have made you old and impotent, incapable of playful Generosity, and now you blame your poverty on the Great Ones who forsake you."
They bowed their heads in shame, for none were free of the taint she exposed.
"YOU are the Lights of your People!" she continued more gently. "You yourselves are the Children you seek in vain, lost and blind in a maze of your own creation. Lay down your Weapons and Knowledge now, for they cannot save you. Become again my Children, and place your trust in the strength of your joined hands as you go into the Darkness.
"Your eyes, nor the eyes of your children's children's children, shall see no Dawn, for the Night has just begun."
They cried out, then, and begged her to relent and withdraw her terrible words. Her eyes caressed each face long and lovingly, and the colors swirled and flared around her.
"Fear not," she said, "for you are born of my own Passion, and most Worthy of all your People. I speak thus not to punish but to honor you, for to you goes the mighty task of Redemption. Your bodies will fall away, but the Circle you make here will abide, and I will stand always at its Center, guiding and protecting you.
"You will see my Promise in the sky and behind your eyes, and hear my voice within the wind. And when the Darkness is at its deepest, I too shall take a body and walk the Earth with you. Together we shall work, saving what we can.
"Cling not to Hope, for there is no hope - and longing for what is not will only weaken you. Find instead the courage of steadfast Certainty. The Dawn WILL come. And you, my beloved Rainbow Warriors, will be there, in majesty you cannot now even imagine.
"The Medicine Wheel must take another turn. So forsake your pride, and woo not Power but the Source of Power. Purify yourselves. Become Impeccable in your diligence. Guard the Seed, and let all else fall away. Walk now the Path of Heart - therein waits the Dawn."
Holding out her hands in Blessing, she withdrew from them, fading into wavering rainbows that vanished like a mirage in desert heat. They stirred as if awakened from a dream, her words already ebbing from their minds, but leaving them forever changed.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Much of Rainbow Woman's message was familiar, for these people formed a small but formidable group
amongst the leaders of the People, whose traditions had been handed down, mother to daughter, father
to son, through countless generations. Their Teachings retained much ancient purity and wisdom, transmitted
for the most part silently, from one open heart to another, and their life's Purpose was to work in
harmony with natural forces, revering and protecting the Earth that gave them Life.
Still, their love of the Land and of their People was fierce and possessive; for they were by blood and spirit Guardians, and it was not easy for them to hear Rainbow Woman's prophesy of desolation. Their hearts raged and protested. Perhaps there was still Hope. Perhaps with greater efforts.... And so, with renewed dedication and attention they focused again on the problem that had originally brought them together.
Their children were few now, and a heaviness lay on the hearts of the Warriors, for in this they sensed an Adversary that their Power could neither bind nor vanquish. So they turned for comfort and guidance to their mothers and lovers, sisters and daughters, inviting the Medicine Women for the first time in memory not only to attend the Council, but to lead it.
"What can you tell us," they asked, "you who carry and nourish our Seed, of what we may do to heal this wound that weakens us all?"
And the women - shy, hesitant, ready at the first indication of opposition to retreat to the Silence of their Sisterhood - began to speak their Truth.
"Our hearts, too, are oppressed," they acknowledged, "and the name of the poison is Loneliness. For though you say you seek to prove your love for us by the greatness of your Deeds, while you fight your battles and count your coup and win your Glory, it is we who guard the lodges and care for the young, weak, injured and old. It is we who sleep alone and weep alone, consoled by the skins of animals long dead and cold.
"It is we who feel the pain and deprivation when you in your indulgence are maimed or killed. It is we who sorrow at the birth of each daughter, knowing the sorrow you shall give her, and despair at the birth of each son, knowing that too soon you will tear him from our arms and make him a Man!
"Such is the nature of the Love you give us. It is a cold and fiery thing, and our hearts and wombs are scarred with the bite of its passing, and our spirits are twisted with mistrust and vengefulness. In our pain and loneliness we have become sick cells in the body of the Mother, and can no longer reflect her Love purely.
"So, if you wish to heal the wounds in the Spirit of our People, then seek your women and heal the wounds in our hearts and wombs, that we may again become vessels worthy to bear the Noble. Take us in hand and show us by the dignity and grace of your own example the kind of Warriors you wish us to call into Form. Lavish on us the care you give to your weapons and war horses, and the time and devotion you give to your pursuit of Power.
"Know us for what we are - garlands on the Breast of the Great Mother, sweet Nector of her Body. Drink of us. Eat of us. Let our Love be the Food that grows you strong, straight and free!"
The Warriors were troubled by these words, which filled their hearts with strange terror and longing. They withdrew from the lodge to ponder and counsel with one another. Rainbow Woman, and now their own women, had challenged their world, and they were grieved, angry, bewildered.
The women remained silently within the lodge and met one another's naked eyes. The fear, rage and loneliness that they had for the first time dared to express openly filled the space and pressed them down. The night grew darker. The fire died to embers, and the embers grew cold.
Still they waited. One woman took another's hand, and the fingers twined and held. Slowly the movement spread around the Circle, and backs long held straight began to bend. The light of the stars traced shimmering tracks on upturned cheeks. A voice began to chant, softly at first and then with increasing strength and fervor:
O Great Mother, let them come
our fathers, our brothers
our sons and our lovers
Help us to be all the Love that they lack -
our fathers, our brothers
our sons and our lovers
Grant us the courage to show them our Need -
our fathers, our brothers
our sons and our lovers
And if there be arrows, be willing to bleed -
our fathers, our brothers
our sons and our lovers
Other voices picked up the rhythm, and bodies swayed together like willows in the wind. Finally,
one by one they fell forward and rested, foreheads on Earth, hands clasped. Light began to glow in the
East, and still they waited.
A tall shadow entered the lodge and surveyed the quiet Circle. Another joined him, and another, until again the lodge was full, and a Warrior knelt at the back of each woman.
"Rise, Women," spoke their leader, "and see before you your Warriors. To Rainbow Woman in each of you we surrender our Love. Teach us, and we will serve your Vision.
"In return you must give us our Freedom, for only a man who truly lives as a Warrior can serve the Rainbow well. All else is slavery, inevitably coupled with selfish willfulness.
"Though we die in waste, we die Free!
"So if we taste of your juices, seek not to instill them with the power of addiction. Let us drink deep and come and go freely - for the Waters that quench Thirst are not indulgence but necessity. Dam them not with jealousy and possessiveness, and they will make the Earth soft and fertile once again.
"In that Earth we shall sow our Seed as our Elder Brothers sow their Corn. Reverently will we prepare the ground and patiently await the proper time of planting. And when all is Attuned, and the Life Force flows unimpeded, we will forego the Mindless Ecstasy and plant ourselves with care and prayer, in warmth and stillness."
A strange shimmering Light danced above the embers of the fire pit, illuminating faces weary but at Peace.
If life is a comedy for those who think
And a tragedy for those who feel
Then for those who both think AND feel
Life just IS -
A whole far greater than its parts
Which to dissect
Is to diminish
Sea god with scales
Guiding and guarding
The underworld trails -
You're wearing a cloak of harsh wintry frost
Your eyes are a sea in which questions are tossed
And one of them keeps recurring to me:
Without your Spirit Love, what would you be?
Old young and reborn
Your soul is harp with the strings deeply worn
Your players await you, hearts and hands poised -
Your journey's returning to where you rejoiced.
Reclaim the Sungod and once more remember
The shine in your face of the early Dawn's splendor!
Sometimes I wonder if I'll ever stop running -
Stuck on a mobius strip -
And I find that my heart's deepest yearning
Is to slip and fall off...just slip....
What I'd discover there's no way of knowing
I might have to learn how to die
Or admit that my life's been just angry rebelling -
But I just might learn how to fly
The wind seems to whisper of sweetness to living
The likes of which I've never known
It's time to begin on the work of Forgiving
And reclaim the wholeness I own
A new day's about to be born
From the darkest night of this storm
A day when my heart will follow Love's urge
And surrender at last to be born
Love is in the wooing
Not the winning
My Teacher said the fruit of Love is Consciousness -
That gift most worthy of the Master of the world.
May I grow and eat that fruit
And pass it on to all.
For I am weary of the fruits of forgetfulness.
I am weary of the sorrows of love
Whose icy flames throw no warmth.
I long for Innocence
A chance to choose this time with consciousness
A return to purity
And undemanding Love.
How I long to bow my head beneath a gentle hand
Whose greatest wrath Is Compassion....
To listen to the Moment
And feel its resonance within my soul
To hear the Message
And let the bearer go with blessing -
This I try to do.
For I am learning -
Slowly, far too slowly -
That lust for pasts and futures
Erected in my narrow mind
Only brings me pain
Can I learn to live another way?
Can I trade my suffering in
Shed the guilt of ages
And don again the Rainbows
That once I wore so well?
Shower me with Light, my love -
Paint me in fresh colors on your sky!
The fortunes that you've won and lost
Disturb your sleep
But you can't keep
To live your dreams
Don't you think it's almost time
To fan the fires that warm the rhyme
And open up to Love's sweet song
Knowing this time won't be wrong
For there's nothing here to lose or gain
Except a friend to smile your name?
Gaze into these eyes so clear
All you seek's reflected here
Dive in crystal pools and drown
Sinking deeply, deeply down
Down into the Light that's there...
Until you breathe fresh air
To stop thinking
And start thanking
Is the beginning
Give me the words
That I'm waiting to hear
Free thou my throat
That my heart can flow clear
Grant me the ears
To hear what I say
And know it as Thee
As night is to day
Sacred I share Thee
In prayer and in song
Trusting, in Love with Thee -
Nothing's not wrong
If you ask me
Who am I?
I cannot say.
For I have felt so many souls
And each one had a name
Looking through the lenses
Of these eyes I call my own
Yes, each one had a name
And I have felt their life
I know that I am God
But whether this be name
Or something else
I cannot say
I know that I am God
And that is all
The Prophesy of the Coming of the Kingdom of Shambhala
As related by Joanna Macy
This story is about the coming of the Kingdom of Shambhala, and it is also about you and me. I learned of it from my Tibetan friends in India in 1980, when I heard many of them speak of this twelve-century-old Tibetan Buddhist prophesy as coming true in our time. The signs it foretold, they said, are recognizable now, in this generation. Since it speaks of a time of great danger - apocalypse - I was, as you can imagine, very interested to find out about it.
Some interpretations portray the coming of the Kingdom of Shambhala as an internal event, a metaphor for one's inner spiritual journey, independent of the world around us. Other interpretations present it as an entirely external event that will unfold in our world independent of what we as individuals may choose to do, or what our personal participation in the healing of our world may be.
A third version was given to me by my friend and Dharma brother Cheogyal Rinpoche of the Tashi Jong community in northern India:
There comes a time when all life on Earth is in danger. At this time two great powers have arisen; these are the "laloes" [barbarians]. One is in the western hemisphere and one in the center of the Eurasian land mass. Although these two powers have spent their wealth in preparations to annihilate each other, they have much in common: weapons of unfathomable death and devastation, and technologies that lay waste our world.
It is in this time, when the whole future of sentient life seems to hang on the frailest of threads, that the Kingdom of Shambhala begins to emerge.
Now, you can't go there, for it's not a place, not a geographical entity. It exists in the hearts and minds of the Shambhala warriors. [That is the term Choegyal used: "warriors."] Nor can you recognize a Shambhala warrior when you see her or him, for they wear no uniforms, no insignia, and carry no banners. They have no barricades on which to climb to threaten the enemy, or behind which they can rest, to hide, recoup or regroup. They haven't even any home turf - for always they must move on the terrain of the "laloes" or barbarians.
Now the time comes when great courage, moral and physical, is required of the Shambhala warriors, for they must go into the very heart of the barbarian power, into the pits and pockets and citadels where the weapons are kept, to dismantle them. To dismantle weapons, in every sense of the word, they must go into the corridors of power where decisions are made.
Now, the Shambhala warriors have the courage to do this because they know that these weapons are "manomaya": mind made. Made by the human mind, they can be unmade by the human mind. The Shambhala warriors know the dangers that threaten life on Earth are not visited upon us by extraterrestrial powers, satanic deities or any preordained evil fate - rather, they arise from our own decisions, our own lifestyles, our own relationships.
So in this time, the Shambhala warriors go into training....
When Choegyal said this, I asked, "How do they train?"
"They train," he said, "in the use of two weapons."
"What weapons?" I asked. He held up his hand in the way lamas hold the ritual objects of bell and dorje in the lama dance.
The weapons are COMPASSION and INSIGHT. Both are necessary. You have to have compassion because it
gives you the juice, the power, the passion to move - when you open to the pain of the world, you move.
But that weapon by itself is not enough. Alone, it can burn you out. So you need the other: insight into the radical interdependence of all phenomena, their interconnectedness, their deep ecology. With that wisdom you know that it is not a battle between the good guys and the bad guys, but that the line between good and evil runs through the landscape of every human heart.
With that insight into our profound interrelatedness, you know that actions undertaken with pure intent have repercussions throughout the web of life, beyond what you can measure or discern. By itself, insight may appear too cool, too conceptual, to sustain you and keep you moving, so you need the heat of compassion.
Together, within each Shambhala warrior and among the Shambhala warriors as a group, these two weapons can sustain us as agents of social change. They are gifts for us to claim now in the healing of our world.