This post is part of ‘WORLDS WITHIN WORLDS’, a series of writings about Prunella (Ella) Smith, author, editor & reviewer, and the many worlds she inhabits: her physical reality; her online world where disgruntled author Dita stalks; the worlds of the books she edits; her dream world, and the world beneath the veil of her ordinary reality.
Today’s offering is very much metaphysical fiction.
Click here for the previous offerings in reverse order, or here for links to them in order.
Worlds Within Worlds #18 I am a Goddess. I feel like Crap.
I am a Goddess. I feel like crap. My back aches, my life as a dancer abandoned because of it. One failure. My heart hurts. Love abandoned in its wake. He went to America to continue his career, I remained behind, trying to find my way in the world outside of classes, rehearsals and performances—without the sweat and the buzz. Two failures. Thoughts bewilder my mind. My present career is in tatters and I don’t know what to do. Three failures.
I could read all the lovely reviews, but I know that won’t sustain me for long. They are just words. Though honestly meant, they are, in the end, just empty platitudes to my soul. So I sit and stare at my shrine and focus on the fact that I am a Goddess.
A Goddess hurting.
I take a deep breath and as I breathe out, I let it all drop away. Years of practice give me that skill. I place my attention on the pause at the end of my outbreath and remain steadfast there even as I breathe in. The balance shifts and I slip through the gap—a portal to a deeper reality. The world beneath the world emerges; the place where I am invincible, where there is no doubt that my true nature is this glorious Goddess, bejewelled and dressed in silks.
I am such that I can arise as her, or as a thousand different deities. Though each appear different, they are one in their wisdom nature, simply a manifestation of different aspects of the core of my being; each an interface between the world of form and the world of things yet to manifest. Here, I can affect my reality without mundane struggles. Here, I find peace and clarity and a breadth of vision most people can’t even begin to imagine. Here, I have success in every moment, my inner strength and self-worth is unassailable, and this is the only place it really matters, because this is the very ground of existence. All else springs from this.
My legs are in a lotus position, my spine erect. One hand rests on my knee, palm turned out. I hold a flower in the other and sit on a sun and moon disc seat in the middle of a white lotus. My skin is pure white and I give off a soft white light. I have eyes on the palms of my hands, the soles of my feet and in the centre of my forehead. I am beautiful and nothing ripples the calm waters of my mind.
I smile and begin the chant. Another deity, Amitayus, sits in meditation posture on a lotus in my heart centre, and in the centre of his chest, the syllables of the mantra rotate around a single syllable, the seed of manifestation. Light beams from the top of his head and creates another deity before me, a reflection of me, but clear as if made of crystal. She smiles, and thousands of replicas of her burst forth and fly to all the corners of the universe where they collect the vital essence of all existence and draw it back into their mistress. It spirals outwards, shining like mercury, from her forehead, throat and heart centre and enters me at the same points. I am filled with this life affirming nectar.
All is well.
Except that it is very hard for me to accept all the goodness that pours into me. My mind keeps slipping away to mundane things, and I have to keep bringing it back to my mediation. I have to keep returning to this world beneath our world, for habit drags me back to the world of frustration and desire. But even during my mental sabotage—distraction—the constant visualisation and pure sounds of the chant chip away at deeply held feelings of unworthiness. I will practice this for many months until something shifts deep within my being.
Something does shift. Sideways. Into another world.
I am a man—I feel the difference between my legs as I rock slightly with the chant. Maroon robes wrap across my saffron shirt and cover my crossed legs. I sit higher than the other monks who spread in rows before me in the dim light of a very early morning lit only by butter lamps. Incense smoke fills the air and the smell of male bodies hangs thickly in the small space. An ornate shrine with a wealth of images fills the whole of the wall before us. Cloth paintings called tanghkas cover the walls, their images mirroring the true nature of our existence. I am surrounded by deities in their mandalas. I am a deity in the centre of a mandala and so is everyone else.
This man and this woman, though in different times and spaces, are one, yet not one, different, yet the same, and there is no contradiction. Such is the world beneath the world. His experience enhances mine, and his life informs mine, as mine does his. And neither are inherently what they appear to be. Our true nature is far greater and far freer than most can ever imagine. This world is only open to those who are willing to cast aside their limitations and step beneath the veil.
Thank goodness I have practiced long enough to be able to do this; sometimes it’s the only thing that keeps me sane.