On the Path of conscious living I found myself in Playa del Carmen, Mexico and there I met yogis, healers, masters, more then a few phoney new-agers, and many beautiful, spiritual and loving people. Among those I met was Lama Lhanang Rinpoche who taught me how to open my heart, and to forgive myself, to love myself, and most importantly, to appreciate every moment we have in our days and nights, as he taught me ‘to live in the moment’, the now.
Meeting Tibetan Lama Lhanang Rinpoche was such an amazing ‘accidental coincidence’ or so I thought at the time, and clearly a life changing experience. I was checking-in to a small beach-front hotel named Shangri-La Caribe which at that time was owned by my dear friends the Lubcke Family, who have also as it happens taught me so much over the years on the Path to conscious living.
I had noticed a small sign on the front desk counter directing people to the Jardin Shangrila (Garden) at 7 pm for a workshop of meditation. I looked at the time; it was just after 6 pm, but I knew immediately that sign was for me!
I Rushed to my room, unpacked quickly, and even though I was exhausted following a long day of flights from Toronto that started at 4:30 a.m., I had a brief but refreshing shower, put on my yoga clothes and started searching for the Jardin Shangri-La.
The next two hours, lead to a week of unexpected and totally amazing evening and weekend Workshops and the beginning of a what I am sure is a learning friendship, with a true Master.
I cannot explain in this brief space everything I learned in that week, or the subsequent years, that will have to wait for one of our workshops with Lama Lhanang, however I can tell you the most important thing: during one particular evening of meditation, Rinpoche (a term of great reverence and respect for a Tibetan Buddhist Scholar) looked at me and said “Michael, you need to work on learning how to open your heart”. Wow. At first I was a bit offended as I had thought, with my head and ego of course, that there was nothing wrong with me, that I was already perfect, and how could my heart not be open already?
But that was the lesson; I was in my head, and I needed to learn to be in my heart. It was at that moment that I began to trust Rinpoche, and the energy of the universe seemed to flow through the his ways, his knowledge and most of all his Child like humility. This Tibetan Master had somehow cut though the external surface of my ego and connected directly to my Being.
Over the course of that week my life changed in ways and I still find the process that started there amazing!
I learned what love and respect for another truly meant, taught by an advanced Being. I learned to move away from the judgement of my ego, to commit to humility, and open my heart to Love. I learned to express myself more honestly and openly in my art and writing, and never take for granted the impact my words can have, or the images that flow through the Universe and onto my canvass. I learned to love everyone, even those who have hurt me, as in every experience there is a purpose and a lesson.
If there is one characteristic that I know absolutely regarding Masters, it is that every true Master is truly humble, and would never consider themselves a Master. An excerpt from interview by Oprah with the Dalai Lama: “Oprah: When you were first discovered as the Dalai Lama, did you feel that there was something special about you? Dalai Lama: No.