I have a few things in mind to share with you tonight. I'm not sure what order I'm going to do it. It may not be the smoothest dharma talk, but I want to give some key thoughts tonight. First I will start with some of the experiences that I had at the 10-day healing qi gong retreat. I had an image come to me during one of the practices—a simple image, and it is a common one, but I saw in my mind the caterpillar going into a cocoon and creating a cocoon around itself and then coming out as a butterfly. And I realized that this was a message from spirit to me that this is exactly what I am going through right now with my healing journey from cancer. But what was interesting is the meaning that came to me was that there could be two possibilities at least, maybe more, but no matter what happens it is still the caterpillar going into the cocoon and becoming a butterfly. And either way, it was a wonderful, wonderful, beautiful thing.
So, I am leaving behind my old self at the midlife point of my life, and I am going into the cocoon, where I am going within, resting, taking care of myself, and putting myself into a healing environment, a healing process. And what is interesting is as I am healing through cancer, I am realizing that this is not just about physical disease at all. It is about an opportunity to really find what is the deepest meaning of my life, how do I really reconcile with all of the past, and how can I live fully in the present and just be open to co-creating whatever future is possible?
So, if I live, then when I come through this healing journey, I know already that I am going to be a very different person than I have been and that my ministry is going to be 100 times more bright and shining, and my sincerity and integrity is going to be even more intense, more true and honest. I'm already feeling that. I have healed through so much unforgiveness and resentment and bitterness and regret already. It is amazing how much I have already let go of in this healing journey, and I know there is more to come. And I can even feel, even though my body has been going through things physically, I feel my spirit is shining more and more every day and my qi field is just shining more and more everyday. It is an amazing thing.
So, if I die physically, I will become that butterfly released all of this stuff that has been holding me back, letting go of resentment, unforgiveness, and really finding the jewel of the meaning of my life and then moving on into a realm of love and light and life eternal. And I already know that. I know that if I die, what awaits me is so wonderful. There is really nothing to be afraid of. I will probably laugh at the moment I leave my body because there is so much human fear around death, and yet it is so small of a thing compared to the grandness of what is ahead. So when I think of that, I realize I get to become a butterfly. I get to release the shackles of limitation and be free once again, and that is wonderful. And that takes away the fear of death for me.
But, see, here is another possibility. The cocoon may be something that is a process through which I will live through and live for 40 or more years sharing the light, and in that sense I will be a butterfly, too, because I will be a new person, a new being. And all the wonderful things I learned about health and wholeness and healing, it is amazing. I am knowing truth at a deeper level than ever before, and it is an interesting experience, because it is like, yeah. I knew something in my mind, but now I know it in my heart, and I'm beginning to really know in my gut, you see? It is very amazing when that happens.
So, from caterpillar through the cocoon to the butterfly, and the butterfly is guaranteed either way. Either way. So there is nothing to really worry about. I love it. Whether you live or die, it is great. It is amazing. Wow. Really think about that. Whether you live or die, it is amazing. It is awesome. Oh, hallelujah. So when I was at this retreat, when we were doing our sharing circle, someone was sharing about how they just did not feel like they knew where their home was. You know, they just never felt at home with themselves. They have been searching all their life for a feeling of being home, and they had never found it yet. And the message from spirit came for him and for the whole group, and I heard these words in my heart of hearts, and I hope you hear them too. Home is who you are when you are no longer looking elsewhere. Home is who you are when you are no longer looking elsewhere.
One of the ladies in my discussion group was sharing about how hard it was to hold her hands up for 30 minutes and do this movement without dropping her arms to rest because part of the practice was to keep it up and be mindful of the breath and the movement. You know, another form of this is where you are just standing still with your arms like this, so I am glad that we got to move, but for the first few days, it is hard because you're not used to those muscles being held up like that.
But this one lady, she said that when it was very, very difficult on the third or fourth day, suddenly this memory from her childhood came to her. She remembered something from her childhood when she was like floating on a flotation device. Her arms were on it, swimming in the ocean, and then she had been trying to learn how to slim, but she was just floating and enjoying splashing in the water, and then she got out of the flotation device—whatever you call it—floaty, and she began to just swim by herself without the floaty, and she was so happy. She was splashing. She was so happy that she finally got to float by herself and swim, and when she had that memory come back to her, she smiled, and all of a sudden, she felt as if there is a floaty of light around her and her arms just relaxed and rested and all the pain completely melted away. And for the rest of the several minutes, she could do this qi gong movement with no pain and full of ease, as if light was holding her up. Her qi field was holding her up. And she was so grateful.
You know, there was another person in the retreat who was kind of a little bit hyper, and I did not like her energy, and she kept wanting to talk to me, and I just thought, oh. I do not want to interact with this person. Leave me alone. I'm trying to heal. You know what? When it came time for our discussion group, she was one of the people in my small group. And that made me smile, because I realized that is exactly perfect. Because I even had the thought, well, gosh, I would kind of like to go to a different group. I know I don't want to be in the same group as this person. But you know what? I decided to just go with everything is perfect as it is and there is a purpose to everything, so there is a reason I am with this woman. There's a reason why I have this irritation come up, because there was an opportunity for me to look at my own judgments, and instead of just giving in to my judgments, I just became open to the possibility of what is this opportunity here.
And lo and behold, when we did our sharing time, when she shared with her time to share, she shared about all the pain and suffering and illness that she's had to struggle with and the weight issues, and it broke my heart. It opened it to compassion. And I just thought how silly my judgment was, because here's this being that is suffering and she was just trying her best to find home, to find healing. So I really saw her in that moment as someone just like me and just like you and just like all of us we all have similar suffering in our lives, and we deal with it in different ways. You know, some of us deal with it by having depression or some of us deal with it by having anger or some of us deal with it by being hyper, and some of us deal with it by being isolated. We all deal with it in different ways, but at the core of the different ways we deal with suffering is suffering. It is just being our human selves.
So I was so grateful that she was in my small discussion group, because she helped open my heart to the truth of our humanity and of our solidarity and allowed me to open to compassion. And you know, during the first couple of days of the retreat, there was so much love and compassion and support to help me get through 10 days of qi gong.
You know, one of the assistant teachers, she helped me get a ride to go to Whole Foods so I could get some organic things that help me with my health, because the cafeteria, they were doing their best, but it was not exactly what I felt like I needed in my cancer healing diet. So I got a few things. I got some alkaline, pure water from Whole Foods, and she even gave me her special pillow that is fluffy so I could sleep better at night, and she let me borrow her pad so that I could lie down on the floor during some of the sessions, because sometimes during the lectures, I was just so exhausted, and I just wanted to lie down with the blanket.
They said, "Please do that, because many times as you are detoxing through the qi gong, your body gets tired." And this one young woman, she saw that I was crossing through this cold that I finally was at the tail end of after four weeks. A four-week cold, goodness gracious. But, you know, I am detoxing and just processing things out. But during the retreat, I was still processing a lot of the cold and this young woman, she just said, "Do you have a cold, sweetie?" She was like, "Let me get you a cup of hot tea." And so she did, and that was so sweet.
And when I had a one-on-one session with the qi gong master, where he did a half an hour of sending me qi energy and healing, chanting, and guiding me through meditation, just one-on-one. This young man who had brought his guitar to the retreat, he asked if it would be okay to sing me a song at the beginning of my treatment. You know? So he sings me a song. He made up a song, a sweet song, on the guitar, and sang it to me. I was serenaded by a beautiful young man, and then he left the room quietly while the master did his qi gong healing.
You know, there is a saying: don't forget to smell the flowers. You know, what is important in our lives is when we are going through disease or tragedy or suffering or crisis, don't let yourself get sucked into the black hole as if it is the only thing that exists. Remember to smell the flowers. So yeah, I am going through cancer. You know, so what? It is only one of many things in this amazingly crazy, wondrous universe, and what else is there besides cancer? Oh, there are flowers. And you know, the master, he and his wife, they had a little two-year-old baby there, and he was so cute running around. And there were children, and there were cups of tea, and there were beautiful young men serenading me. And there were special pillows. So much support in this universe. If only we would only just be more open to it, we would see it. It is always there, but when we are just so focused on our own problems, we do not see all of the support that is constantly, always there.
There is a Zen story of the man who was walking through the wilderness and all of a sudden, there were tigers that appeared, and they started to chase him, so he began to run, and then he ran to a cliff, and so he climbed down the cliff on branches of some trees, and he was just hanging there, and the tiger was up above, and down below was a raging, flooding river. If he fell, he would just fall to his death and drown, and if he went back up, he would be eaten by the tigers, and there in front of him, as he is holding on to the branch, he sees a little strawberry growing, a wild strawberry, and so what he does is he looks up at the tigers above. He looks at the raging, flooding river below, and then he picks the strawberry and eats it. Mmm.
Yeah. There are tigers in life. Yeah, there are flooding rivers in life, too. But in this present moment, there is a strawberry waiting just for you. There is a flower waiting just for you. So don't let the regrets of the past pull you down, and don't let the worries of the future drown you. Stay in the present moment here and now and realize the gift that is right there, right before you and within you and all around.
You know, I was going to also talk about Jesus tonight, but I would just share at least one little part of my message about Jesus, who is a great bodhisattva of love, and it is that the point of Jesus's story is his life the way he lived it, but unfortunately, religious dogmatics and fundamentalists over the centuries have truncated the point of his message. The meaning is only that he was born on Christmas and had all these angels doing stuff and shepherds and that he died and rose again at the end, you know? They rarely talk about everything in between, which is actually the whole point of why he came. The way he treated women as equals, the way he just loved partying with the common people and not just the elite people. The way he didn't feel any shame in being with the riffraff of society, and the way he treated children with sacred love and respect, the way he healed people with his love and encouraged people that it is their faith that makes them whole.
He reminded people that you have power within you already, and you don't have to beg some external divine power for your healing. It is your faith that makes you whole. And he even said, "All these wonderful things you see me do, you can do also and even greater than what I've done." You see? But instead, the religious dogmatic fundamentalists over the centuries have put him on this high, high pedestal where he is not even the same species as us basically. He's the great exception rather than the great example. But his point with the way he lived, the way he spoke, the way he touched people, the way he interacted with people, that was his message, not that he had some miraculous virgin birth and he died from this world and miraculously rose from the dead physically. That is not the point. It is everything in between.
That is the point: the way he lived his life, the way he radiated love, the way he healed by having faith in people's faith. And so, I celebrate Easter today because the point of his life was not having died for my sins. The point of his life was that in every situation even at the end, nothing could overcome his light. No amount of suffering, no amount of ignorance, no amount of opposition, no amount of crucifixion could stop his light, could snuff out his light. So really the point of the Easter is not really Good Friday. It is not about all the suffering. We all have suffering. The point of the story is not Good Friday. It is Easter Sunday, which is that you can overcome anything and everything because you have the light in you, and no amount of complication or suffering or tribulation or trial or crisis can ever, ever put out your light.
So the real meaning of Easter is that we are the light of the world. Jesus demonstrated that, but not just Jesus. Buddha did, too, and many, many people in history have, and you are demonstrating it in your life as well. Look at all the suffering you have gone through in this life, and you are still here. You are still here. You are still growing, and you are still evolving, and you are still shining your light. It is amazing how much you've gone through and yet you are still here, shining your light. It is awesome. You are each testimonies to Buddha nature, to Christ's nature, to God's nature, to Spirit's nature. All of us are beautiful testimonies of the light. We are the resurrection and the life. That is the meaning of the Jesus story.
And you know, there is a lot of talk about the second coming of Christ, but I can tell you right now, I guarantee you it does not mean some physical Jesus is coming out of the sky from outer space on a spaceship coming back down to planet Earth. That is not the real meaning of the second coming. The second coming is a spiritual event. It is the spiritualization of human consciousness on the earth. And what it really is is that the second coming of Christ means an understanding of the real meaning of the first coming of Christ. And when more and more people start realizing it is not about worshiping a man named Jesus, but about following what he was all about and getting in touch with that same divine consciousness that he got in touch with, that we can get in touch with that same divine consciousness, and when we start allowing that light to shine the way Jesus let his light shine and Buddha and others have let their light shine, that is the second coming of Christ on a global scale.
When many, many people start waking up, start becoming enlightened, start transforming the world, start realizing that it is not about some other person you put on a pedestal or on an altar. It is about we are that, and we can let that light shine collectively, globally. That is the second coming of Christ, and it is already starting to happen. It has been happening for centuries, and it started to intensify a century ago, and now it is exponential. It is about to explode.
I believe that the years from 2020 to 2060 are going to be explosive years of spiritual evolution, and I don't think that when we get to 2060 we are going to even recognize our planet. It is going to be so amazing. Does that mean it is going to be all flowers and gardens? No, not necessarily. I think there can be a lot of crazy earth changes in financial, governmental, political crises, economic crises, all kinds of crazy stuff is going to happen, too. But, in the midst of that our light, our inner light will continue to shine and grow, and more and more people are going to realize what the real meaning of Christ is, the real meaning of Buddha, the real meaning of spirituality. I mean there's already proof last year. Guess what, the fundamentalist Pope resigned, and the liberal Pope got elected. Hallelujah. If that is not a sign from heaven, I don't know what is. It has begun already. Just wait and see. Oh.
So, if anybody wants to read some books, I highly recommend this book by Richard Hooper, Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, and Lao-Tzu: The Parallel Sayings. And he takes the different teachings of each of these four great masters and shows you how they are very similar. Their message is very similar, and it is a really good book. Another one that just came out this month by one of my favorite spiritual teachers, Adyashanti, Resurrecting Jesus: Embodying the Spirit of a Revolutionary Mystic. And Adyashanti is a Zen Buddhist spiritual teacher, but he takes his Zen spiritual understanding and looks at the life of Jesus and sees it through a Zen lens, a spiritual, interfaith alliance. It is really beautiful. I love especially the first few chapters when he tells us of his personal story about his own spiritual journey in Buddhist meditation as well as appreciating and having his heart break open by the Christ consciousness.
Audience Member: He was on Oprah this morning.
ChiSing: Oh. I'm going to have to look that one up. Yeah. That is great. I love him as a spiritual teacher. I went to a week-long retreat with him, and I had a samadhi experience on the last night. It was amazing, just the experience I had in his presence, and so I know he is a true spiritual teacher. But I highly recommend if you ever go see him that you go to a weeklong retreat, because you can go to a daylong lecture, but I'm so over lectures. You know, I need to retreat, because I need to practice, right? It is not about—I mean, I love reading. Obviously, I read all the time, but at some point you have to stop reading and start doing. You have to stop reading and start practicing. You have to stop reading about meditating and actually meditating.
Amen. All right. So, thank you so much for your practice, for listening, and for your presence. I'm so grateful for all of you.