In 2003 I had a vivid dream of immeasurable serenity, a sense of ease and contentment, peace and movement in which I was a great sea turtle swimming with the flow circling the world’s oceans – breathing, tasting, sensing, seeing and hearing without separation from the oceanic universe.
The ocean sea turtle became my totem at that moment of literally awakening from sleep.
I saw for the first time today an Ojibwe chart of the totem animals and what the Turtle stands for.
According to the Ojibwe people, Turtle stands for “Truth.”
In that same year during meditations, I had my first chakra experiences with the 5th chakra (throat chakra or “Vishuddha”). I didn’t know anything about chakras then and didn’t know what to make of these experiences. I did experience a deep peacefulness. Later at a Seattle Insight Meditation retreat, I asked Cristina Feldman, a visiting Insight Meditation Society teacher, about my “blue light” meditation experiences. She directed me to some writings by Jack Kornfield on the chakras and also suggested that in particular I read about the throat chakra.
From Jack Kornfield’s writings and later other resources and teachers, I learned that the 5th chakra is the first of the chakras that focuses primarily on the spiritual plane.
The 5th chakra is located in the throat and relates to:
(1) the development of honesty in higher communication, speaking, hearing and listening;
(2) becoming aware of inner “truths;” and
(3) learning to speak honestly with our own voice to the “outside” world.
A particularly important sense involved with the 5th chakra is “hearing.”
In Buddhism, the first of the Pāramitās (“perfections” or “completeness”) is Dāna pāramitā – which means generosity or the giving of oneself.
Dāna can be viewed as the basic Buddhist virtue. A generosity of spirit, of giving and receiving, of honest encouragement and selflessness, a desire that all beings experience peace, an approach to living that treats each moment as having meaning and that forms one’s own actions to give meaning – these are imbued in Dāna.
The practice of Dāna includes the development of the capacity for and the practice of “Deep Listening” or “Generous Listening.”
One of the experiential truths for me is that I can look at the dark, unsightly, dangerous, morbid, sad, angry, fearful, lonely elements inside without turning away and they begin to dissolve
Internal “truth” does not have to be beautiful, sanctified or pleasant. Becoming honest is dangerous because it’s the impetus to change that often starts off painfully.
In the process, sometimes one can wake up from a dream of the oceanic sea turtle and for a moment, know deep peace. (7 August 2013)
Our continued and most heartfelt thanks to Daniel Woo for his generosity in sharing with his wonderful writings and blogs as well as his insight and personal spiritual journey. We are most grateful, Daniel!