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Monk Chants

Recorded on August 20, 1995, at the Rinchenpung Monastery. Symbolically Vajrayogini’s naval, the gompa houses a statue of Rang Rig Gyapo - the king of self-awareness and the wrathful emanation of Padmasambhava. The monk chants are an invocation to this meditation deity to protect all sentient beings from the consequences of their own misguided behavior.

107 gillenwater

"Spirit reveals itself to those with a higher purpose."

Oh how I would love to be an atheist!

But I can’t.

My life experiences dictate an ever-present energy that can be harnessed – a divine guidance of coincidence if you will. As a lifelong student of Tibetan meditation master, Chögyam Trungpa* (I am not a Buddhist), and a lover of the outdoors, I learned that there is a natural strength or force that can be intentionally invoked. Trungpa referred to this as the “Dralas”. (Drala in Tibetan quite literally means Dra = enemy, la = above. So Drala means above the enemy or beyond aggression, beyond obstacle.)

*On our 1995 expedition, Troy, Todd and I followed Trungpa’s arduous 1959 escape route from Tibet to India over the Doshung-La Pass.

According to Trungpa, Drala is a quality of “vividness” where our phenomenal world actually comes alive to speak to us. This is the “living” quality of the natural world.

Drala is non-dualistic. It will not appear when we operate under the delusion of a separate self. We experience it only when we realize that we do not exist independently – that we are living beings in a living and interdependent world.

The practice of meditation draws Drala into our lives. Service to others invites Drala into our lives. Courage attracts Drala into our lives. (Hence the idea of a Rancho Feliz “Guardian Warrior” http://www.ranchofeliz.com/.) Any activity we undertake that subordinates the individual ego to the good of the communal ego invokes Drala into our personal situations.

As part of my meditation training, many years ago I attended a Shambhala Naming Ceremony in Boulder, Colorado. The ceremony was conducted by Chögyam Trungpa’s eldest son and current lineage holder Sawang Ösel Rangdröl Mukpo (Trungpa died in 1987). Not knowing me, and amongst the hundred or so other participants, the Shambhala name he bestowed upon me was “Drala Warrior”. I found this strangely interesting. As defined:

Drala: The ever present quality of “magic” in all things. Energy beyond dualism (aggression). The unconditional wisdom and power of the natural world.
Warrior: One who, in every moment, is brave, fearless and without deception in generating warmth and compassion for others. One who, through personal discipline, has attained freedom of not being afraid of who he is.

This is a tall order – one I work on daily.

This calling upon the “magic” of the natural world will be a recurring theme in my book. And let me start with this example. As you may know, I was looking for a solitary place, a long way away, in a cold climate, on a beach, where I could stay for four months and concentrate exclusively on chronicling my Tibet adventures. Four days ago a friend emailed me that he and his wife had a beach house on an island, in a cold climate, on the ocean and they would appreciate my housesitting it for four months. I leave on January 2, 2017.

Drala truly is the “Commander of Coincidence”.


Post Note: I’m a left-brained guy – a real pragmatist. I recoil at the philosophical platitudes so bantered around these days: “Just live in the moment, Everything is energy”, blah, blah, blah and so on ad nauseam. Yet what you will read on this Blog and in my book actually happened. These were our experiences – backed by photographs, journal entries and recordings. I can’t begin to explain them other than in the context of the Dralas I describe above. Though grounded in Buddhism, the lessons I learned and will convey in my book are not esoteric gobbledygook. They are practical realities that can be implemented in our own lives to help each of us on our individual journeys.

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