An “Emanation” of a Great Being

The Sounds True podcast of Tami Simon interviewing Lama Tsultrim Allione was quite amazing, in fact I’ve read the transcript more than once. Tsultrim Allione talks about being told she was an “emanation” of an 11th century Tibetan yogini named Machig Lahdrön. What does it mean to be an “emanation” of a great being?  She thinks of it as a job description.  She is “working for her,” not actually being her. She had been already doing it all of her life.  So now she could completely trust herself to know what she knows.

This reminds me of my experience with the Red Woman —

Written October 31, 1989 at Kripalu for Women & Yoga Workshop

During body work with Debra, I was telling her about Samhain, and she said people here would be interested in the sacred calendar.  She suggested that I come and do a workshop for the sisters, and I was so grateful at the thought that they might want me, that something/someone woke up in me.  Feeling the new energy in the room, Debra said “Who’s that?” but I didn’t know, I only had a sense of huge red wings.

Thinking about having this person wake up in me.  She is both me and not me, she is huge, she is a flame, a fountain, she has wings, and my life is dedicated to her service.  Is she my soul? God?  She seems much bigger than I ever imagined my soul to be, and at the same time she is much more personal and unique to me than I could ever imagine God.

The work that we do together is the geomantic healing of the planet earth.  I know the timing of the festivals and the steps of the dances, and the placement of the stones.

That’s part of what I wrote about when I had that experience of the Red Woman. It sounds a lot like being an “emanation” of a great being from the past. So when I built Neskaya, and taught dance and created ceremonies, I was doing her work.  But what happened when I came here?  Am I still doing her work in the world?  Possibly, even though I don’t feel like I did when I taught dance.  But what about when I say “may my presence be a blessing” and feel the energy flowing through?  I’m not “doing” it, but I am a channel for the divine energy.  I’m beginning to trust that it’s still flowing through me even when I can’t feel it.

Interestingly, I painted a red woman nine years later, at Painting from the Source with Aviva Gold, and it took me quite a while to make the connection.

I don’t imagine that the Red Woman is any kind of equal to a Tibetan yogini, or my work in the world anything as important as Tsultrim Allione’s creation of Tara Mandala Retreat Center.

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