Thanks to the Mango

Trip Start Mar 11, 2011
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Guatemala  , Western Highlands,
Friday, April 6, 2012

It was in week 2 when questionable things started happening i.e. the near-spiritual experiences I made purposeful (yet fleeting) reference to in an earlier entry. Attempts to explain these experiences seemed impossible so I have avoided them until now. How does one explain what yellow looks like? Or what strawberry tastes like?

It might be that once you've read this, you still won't understand. Nonetheless I will try because it needs to be told...

Chatting with Rossio (US/MX) from the Sun course changed my paradigm of what exactly a spiritual experience is. She clearly articulated that it doesn't have to be a close encounter of an other-worldly kind. Each time we interact with another being and acknowledge them as spiritual beings - that's a spiritual experience! This really resonated with me.

"I don't have enough issues to fill half a page". Such was my light-hearted response to Whitney and Brian (US) when they asked if I had submitted mine yet, as requested by Chaty. Perhaps this was an issue in itself. Flippancy? Denial? Arrogance? That night I awoke around 1am, ready to offload my issues. At the start of class I handed the sheet to Chaty who gave me a knowing smile. 

It wasn't until later in the lesson when she spoke about specific methods to remember one's dreams that I remembered MY DREAM! Chaty was in it and she pointed out that everyone has issues. She went on to share some of her issues that I recall being told but I can't for the life of me remember specifics. I was suitably freaked out! Did she intentionally come into my dream? Was this the "night school" that people talked about? Of course, I could explain it away with my overactive imagination.

Then there were the DRAGONFLIES. They haunted me! Everywhere I went, there they were. In my room. On the hammock. In the temple. The first sighting was during yoga when a dead one fell from my hoodie onto my mat. What did this mean? 

It could simply mean that a dragonfly crawled into my jumper and died. But I tried to keep an open mind and researched the symbolism of the dragonfly. I discovered that "almost 80% of its brain power is dedicated to its sight and that it can see in all 360 degrees around it. It symbolizes the uninhibited vision of the mind and the ability to see beyond the limitations of the human self." Enlightenment. I had learned that this was the ultimate purpose of meditation. But my dragonfly was dead!

I forgot about it until week 4 when I came face-to-face with a giant dragonfly, bigger than any I had seen before or since. I was sat outside the temple by myself, 15 mins early for meditation session as usual. It came to rest on my shin and looked right up at me. It started by slowly and purposefully wiping its left eye, then proceeded to slowly wipe the right eye, and then it wiped both simultaneously. All the while it kept looking me straight in the eye. 

Was it trying to tell me something? Is this a message from another dimension?  Is this one of the signs Chaty said we should look out for? Or did it just need a comfy spot to rest and clean its filthy eyes? I don't want to become one of those people who thinks every single thing is a sign, but I was admittedly a little freaked out!

One sign totally blew me away! It literally was A SIGN! An advert for paragliding painted on a wall right next to the temple. It showed two people paragliding from a hill across the lake. The first time I saw it, it was just a pretty picture that I snapped in the narrow walkway without really paying attention to its content. At that moment I just thought "hey, I didn't know they do paragliding at the lake". 

It wasn't until days later when I awoke in tears from a series of structured and detailed "lessons" that I made the connection. I knew that something profound had just happened. I was disturbed by the nature of this particular dream. Mine are usually confusing and make little sense, very unlike this one. It felt like I was being schooled but I don't know by whom or what. I can't recall the presence of a teacher. It was like I didn't know, and then suddenly I did. During the dream I recall thinking "this is good stuff". I wanted it to keep coming and I wished I had pen and paper with me. But then I awoke frustrated because I couldn't remember everything. I knew that they were lessons related to the virtues and at first I could only recall the last lesson: Say "thank you" to the mango.

Er... ok, then?! Say "thank you" to the mango? What am I supposed to do with that? I guess it had something to do with me moaning all day about mango hairs stuck in my teeth. Guatemalan mangoes are so tasty and sweet but oh so hairy!

Relaying the story now sounds really trivial but looking back at my notes I was clearly taken aback: "It was too organised, flowing, happy, peaceful, comforting, reassuring and right to be a normal dream. I feel like I touched another dimension. This was my first proper spiritual experience."

I drank some water, lit some incense and a candle and concentrated on the flame. These are dream-remembering techniques. It worked! Another lesson was to say "thank you" to the teachers in my life. People who reflect the positive and negative aspects of myself. People who annoy me, test me, enlighten me, or act as an example. There was a lesson about gratitude and forgiveness, and one very powerful message: "The answers are already inside me, I just need to become conscious of them. Quieten my mental and emotional selves and listen to my spiritual self speak." That's what the Buddhist monk from Malaysia back in Oamaru, NZ told me!

It's at this point that it dawned upon me... Chaty should write a book about her life. Or better yet, she should let me write it! Hold on! 

Is that why I am here? Is this why I learned Spanish? Is this why I enjoy writing? Is this my purpose for now? Part of my mission in life? I'm new enough to this spiritual stuff to still give a newcomer's perspective and to empathise with the newbie yet open-minded enough to give a balanced view.

The sum of my whole life has made me who I am and has lead me to this point in time and space. My childhood illness made me an observer and reflecter. Observing makes me interested in people. Writing is an outlet for my reflections.   
That's when it hit me like a lightning bolt...

I had seen that paragliding image before! In a dream about 4 months before we started our trip, way back in London. That morning I woke up knowing that I had to go to "there". I felt at peace "there". I didn't know where exactly "there" was but I knew where it was on the map. As part of our planning we had a world map stuck on our kitchen wall. It was somewhere at the north-west part of South America. For the longest time I thought it was Colombia. Given the expanse of the world I guess I wasn't far off. All along it was San Marcos, Guatemala.

Writing a Guatemalan spiritual teacher's biography seems like a crazy idea since I have never done anything quite like this before. Yet I have many transferable skills. The idea was borne of reflection, meditation and logical deduction of who I am, why I am and why I have come to be here. I figured I would propose the idea to Chaty. The worst she could do is laugh and say "Hell no!". She laughed... and said YES!!

So here we are, staying at Lake Atitlan so I can work on this project. Initial projections are 3 to 6 months, but who knows. For now we are happily living in Guatemala, thanks to the mango!
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Faith on

SPLENDID WORK! I often use medicine cards as a resource for meditation. These cards combine totems from the beliefs of many indigenous cultures. The dragonfly reflects the symbol of "illusion".
It is outstanding that you have had these break throughs. I bet you are glowing inside and out. Buen Suerte Amiga!

Chantal Moore on

So profound!! Can't wait for the book :) You're a fantastic writer! Good luck xx

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