[The following is one of three short talks delivered by Lao Gan Ma at The Phoenix Rising Experience on September 11, 2010 in Marin County. Each talk served as an introduction to the performances that followed.]
In a land far away there lived a King who had a wise and loyal advisor, who, according to the King, had the most annoying habit of responding to every occurrence, no matter what it was, by simply saying, “That’s good!”
One day, the King loses a finger in a hunting accident, and when he returns to the palace, his advisor says, “That’s good!” The enraged King dismisses him and has him removed from the palace. On his way out the door the advisor turns and says, “That’s good!”
Several months later the King, out hunting once again, is captured by a group of barbarian tribesmen who plan to use him in a sacrificial ceremony. While preparing the king for sacrifice, the tribe’s shaman discovers that the king’s finger is missing, and declares him “imperfect” and therefore unfit to be sacrificed. The tribesmen let the king go.
Once safely back in the palace, the King orders that his former advisor be found, brought before him and immediately reinstated to his former position. “You were right,” the King said, “It was good that I lost my finger, for it saved my life today. But why did you say it was good when I fired you from your job?” The advisor answered, “Your Highness, I cannot see the future, but I have learned to trust that some good always comes from each event. Today I see what that was for me. For as you know, I am loyal to you, and had you not fired me, I would have remained with you when you were captured by the tribesmen. And because I have all my fingers and all my toes, I would have been next in line to be sacrificed. So, that’s good!”
This is an auspicious evening – the 9th anniversary of 9/11.
We live in tumultuous times.
Advanced technology and modern habits of thought seem helpless in the face of our new century’s multiple threats and the fear and depression that accompany them. People face a challenge: how can we look beyond these dreadful disasters to find a point of equilibrium? How can we be receptive to ageless sources of guidance? And how can we say, in the face of all this adversity, “That’s good?”
The 21st Century has been termed an “Ancient Future” – it has been foretold that now is the time when the wisdom of the ages will be re-discovered, re-calibrated and reaffirmed.
Most are familiar with the Taoist concept of yin and yang – the interdependence of opposites. Yin is part of yang and yang is part of yin. There can be no yin without yang, or yang without yin.
Dark is part of light. There can be no light without darkness. And since it is light that we seek – the light of enlightenment or simply the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel – then the darkness we experience in the world today is good.
This principle extends to the two energies at play in the world – positive and negative … creative and destructive… or what the Ancients called “peaceful dragon energy” and “turbulent dragon energy.”
These Ancients also speak of a third energy – Phoenix energy – one that transforms and synthesizes the others – bringing with it balance, wisdom, hope and joy.
The Phoenix is an ancient symbol.
In nearly all the world’s cultures, there are tales of a divine bird. “Garuda”, “feng-huang”, “mystery bird” or “bird of life” are all alternate names for the Phoenix
The Phoenix legends of Western and Eastern cultures show remarkable similarity. They all tell of a great bird that consumes itself in flames and is reborn from its ashes in each millennium.
The Phoenix is the embodiment of an ordering principle in the world: a symbol of promise and regeneration – one of the highest forms of energy in the cosmos – the energy of the Divine Mother.
Phoenix mythology holds a concealed and enduring message: that we are each bearers of this powerful Phoenix energy, held deep inside – and in trying times such as these it can be awakened.
The cultivation of this joyful rising Phoenix within each of us can counterbalance the “turbulent dragon energy” we experience in the world, and transform it into “peaceful dragon energy” – bringing with it higher awareness and a deeper connection to our own Divine Inner Nature.
So then, why not heed the advice of the King’s advisor? Though we can’t predict the future, we can trust that some good always comes from every circumstance, no matter how bad it may seem. And like the mythical Phoenix, each one of us is capable of rising above the pain of personal suffering and experiencing a transcendental reality of Pure Joy.
A powerful way to bring the Phoenix energy into our lives is through sound – specifically ancient mantras. Mantras carry a sacred vibration that unites us with the Universe in order to receive healing energy, courage, freedom, wisdom and blessings
By chanting mantras, we call the Phoenix. By listening to mantras, we hear the call of the Phoenix.
From the ashes comes rebirth. The end is the beginning. Yes, something we know will be gone, but something new and indescribably delicious will take its place. And that’s goooood!