Net of Light Gathering, Joshua Tree, CA, April 2018

In mid April, my partner Don and I travelled to Joshua Tree, Southern California, for the Net of Light gathering. I needed time to process the experience before journalling; here is my attempt to put into words this powerful, ephemeral experience.

We arrived early and settled in at Joshua Tree Retreat Center. The Center is the oldest in North America at 77 years of age and was built by Frank Lloyd Wright and Son, after a unique man named Edwin Dingle, who had studied Eastern philosophy in Tibet, was guided to the land.

I felt honoured to be invited to attend the Beacons, or group leaders’ meeting prior to the gathering, as I planned to start a Net of Light group in my home town after this retreat. Beacons from all over the world attended, several from the Netherlands, some of them group leaders for many years.

The highlight of the meeting was meeting Sharon McErlane in a small group setting. Sharon’s Net of Light organization had grown to 250 groups worldwide over the twenty plus years since the Grandmothers appeared to her on a bluff in Southern California. Sharon told me I had definitely been called to this work.

In the early months of 2017 I had come across the Net of Light website while researching, returning to it repeatedly, not knowing why. I subscribed to Sharon’s newsletter, eventually meeting the Canadian Co-ordinator, Laura in Horseshoe Bay, West Vancouver, our shared ferry terminal.

That afternoon, under the big, old trees in the park by the water, I received my first empowerment, a gentle introduction to the energy of the Grandmothers, meant to connect us to them and to allow us to bring out our unique gifts in a greater way. Things began to change subtly for me after the empowerment, I received nudges and small messages from the Grandmothers that helped me to live more fully and mindfully with an increased level of trust in myself.  I realized the  Grandmothers  had been around me before I knew who they were.

One hundred people attended the Southern California Gathering, ninety women and close to ten men. I had felt the presence of the Grandmothers strongly for two weeks before the gathering, helping me release powerful old held material from deep within myself. At the retreat they filled the room, and indeed the whole property, with a strong, but light energy.

During our four days together we worked both in the larger group and in ten breakout groups. We drummed and sang, calling in the Grandmothers and the Great Mother, casting and strengthening the Net of Light, the great energetic fishnet that holds and heals the planet and us during these difficult times. Sharon and others took us through guided meditations. In the small groups we debriefed and sometimes did exercises.

For four days we lived in a cocoon of delight and heart felt love. Because we were in an altered state and the experiential nature of the Gathering, I could not explain precisely what we did to friends who questioned me later.

One exercise impacted me powerfully, and remains in my memory banks to this day. We took turns expressing to a partner the qualities of the goddess we saw within ourselves.

When the weekend was over we reluctantly left our spiritual cocoon, spreading out in all directions, Don and I in the direction of Sedona, Arizona.

Since that time I feel I have made slow, but steady progress, beginning our Net of Light women’s group in my home, and building trust withing myself by taking more risks, speaking out more, both in person and in my writing. In these ventures I am supported strongly by the Grandmothers, by my dear women friends and by claiming my Tibetan name more fully, Lhakpa, meaning courageous speech, the name that came to me in a dream several years ago.

Love & light to you.

Ellen / Lhakpa

Copyright 2018 Ellen Besso

Ellen Besso is a former Life Coach & Counsellor & an energy worker. She is the author of An Indian Sojourn: One woman’s spiritual experience of travel & volunteering, and Surviving Eldercare: Where their needs end & yours begin, both available through Amazon.

 

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Stepping Back – Being, not Doing During Tough Times

Kluane Lake, Yukon – (Betty Owen)
The energies built for two weeks prior to the recent full moon lunar eclipse, peaking on July 28th, another phase in the increased vibrations affecting the planet and everything on it, with both positive and painful results.
“We are in a deep cleanse and preparation stage this summer…being prepared to receive more Light energy anchored through our physical bodies…”, says Judith Onley, a friend who channels a large group of spirits called US, or United Souls of Heaven and Earth, for many years.
Today change is happening on many levels, both internally and externally. Historically things worsened before they improved. People are pushed to their max as societies become imbalanced. Governments often shift radically, to a place of protectivism, the opposite of “We are all One”.
At times it feels like: “If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs”, (Kipling), only I would replace the word head with heart.
Many of us are experiencing exhaustion and other physical and emotional symptoms. Processing the vibratory energies descending on the planet and grounding ourselves during the chaos and confusion around us takes a lot of energy. Two analogies that may work for you are: recovering from an injury such as a broken leg, or transitioning through the grieving process after losing someone dear to us.
We are being constantly challenged to hold the course, and in order to not simply survive, but to flourish, we need to design individual and communal ways to live.
Giving ourselves permission to care for ourselves deeply will allow us to move into a new place, one of ease. Tracking ourselves – paying attention to our needs, including the needs of our heart will bring us peace.
Communication between the heart and brain is a dynamic, ongoing dialogue, with each organ continuously influencing the other’s function. The heart actually sends more information to the brain than the other way around, scientists have discovered.   The heart communicates with the brain and body in four ways: through the nervous system, hormones, pulse waves and electromagnetic fields.
Stepping back gives us the opportunity to not only rest and strengthen ourselves, but to expand, to make contact with our creativity in new ways…to become inspired again.
Humanity is beginning to move towards a heart centred way of living. We have a choice, to soldier on, supporting a cracking system, or to live in a way that expresses our connection to one another. That may look different for each one of us, but there will be overlaps. It’s a change in our approach to life, an attempt to live in the present moment.
“It is your heart that will lift you,” the Grandmothers tell us. “If you move into your heart and keep your focus there for only a few seconds, it will lift you.”
 “Your thoughts must travel through your heart.”
Medicine Woman Tarot cards
PS: We’re coming in to the third eclipse of this season… the New Moon Partial Solar Eclipse Saturday August 11th, powerful influences energetically.

Ellen

Co Housing Retrospective

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It’s odd the way things happen…We lived in a small co housing community in Vancouver from late 2001 until mid 2006, selling our unit about a year later. We  fell into our first apartment there, having been gently urged by a friend who often stayed in the building to visit a woman who rented her unit each winter when she volunteered in Africa. Our home is on the Sunshine Coast, a small rural community a 40 minute ferry ride from Vancouver, and weren’t looking for a place in the city, although we had both begun to work in Vancouver.

The funky looking building, consisting of town houses and apartments, had been built three years previously on a lot that at one time held three houses and a corner store. The community was a village unto itself, an oasis in the midst of city busyness, a place where you could visit with other residents in the laundry room, while reading the paper in the foyer sitting room, at common meals or in each others’ apartments. After the initial six months, still needing a place in the city, and wanting to stay in the co housing, we purchased a small, lovely apartment with a water view.

Living semi communally in a building with about twenty other families was a new experience, not at all like my small communal house in Guelph while I was a university student. For the most part it was very pleasant this enhanced neighbourhood of well educated, similarly minded folks.

The building was self managed, and until I stopped going and my partner continued on, to represent our unit, meetings were a frustrating experience for me…as a strong minded group of folks micro managed each aspect of running the building. My joke was that it took us three months to decide what toilet paper to buy for the common house washroom!

Recently we returned to “our” co housing for their 20th anniversary celebration, after being back in our small town for 12 years,  It felt very familiar, it was basically the same community, but in my recollection it was a friendlier place during our four and a half year stint there. Several of our friends were missing that day, both current and past residents of the building, but the ones who were there, folks who had established the co housing twenty years earlier, were happy to see us. Oddly, even though we were guests in their “home”, not one newer resident, arrivals after our time, said hello, or asked if I was a former resident, or a friend of someone in the building, to my disappointment.

It was a nostalgic feeling returning after so many years at such a special time. We felt at home, yet not at home. I’ll never forget my time living in co housing, and I’m sure my partner, Don, won’t either. We are very happy to be back in our own small house near the ocean, in our quiet but active community here on the Sunshine Coast of BC. Had we remained in Vancouver, we would have stayed in co housing.

Tibetan Resettlement Project Finale

It was a humbling experience, standing in front of a a hundred plus Tibetan immigrants in a hall in Burnaby on a Saturday evening not long ago. The Vancouver Cultural Society was officially marking the end of Canada’s Tibetan Resettlement Project, an undertaking that resettled 1000 Tibetan Buddists from Arunachal Pradesh in  remote northeast India.

Officially called stateless or displaced persons, the parents and grandparents of these Tibetan folks became isolated in the northeastern Tribal States of India, a place rife with poverty, when they followed the Dalai Lama out of Tibet many years earlier. So remote were the settlements, that even the Dalai Lama’s Government in Exile did not know they existed for the first while. Canada’s five year private sponsorship program officially ended in December of 2017, with the last people arriving in March of 2018.

All sponsors and volunteers in the province of British Columbia were invited to this appreciation dinner, along with the new Tibetan families and other Tibetans  already living in Vancouver. Sadly, the many sponsors and Tibetans from Victoria,  Vancouver Island were not able to attend, and we met only a handful of folks from Vancouver. Don and I were the sole representatives of our sponsorship group on the Sunshine Coast. Our Coordinator, who sponsored three families, was there with her partner.

Our group sponsored a family of four, the Mom, who arrived with almost no English, with her two teenage children in December of 2013, and the Dad, who followed four months later, unable to get his discharge from the Indian Army until then. Another son remained in India, at age 22 too old to be included in the family application.

The Prime Minister at the time, Stephen Harper, to his credit, had agreed to the Dalai Lama’s request to resettle the displaced Tibetans in Canada. Becoming involved in Canada’s somewhat “under the radar” project, (the Canadian government did not want to offend its Chinese trading partner), was a spiritual calling on our part.

There are no accidents. Our many friendships with Tibetans living in exile in Dharamshala, India, developed during five visits spanning ten years, had led us to join the Canada Tibet Committee, and we were notified of the first sponsorship organizational meeting in early 2012. Our application went in during the summer of 2012.

We hit the ground running when our family arrived, the demands were great in the early days. Gradually the family members became more self sufficient and we were needed less.

Despite the small size of our community and scarcity of good jobs, our family and indeed all the families on the Sunshine Coast have done very well, working hard at whatever jobs were available, then gradually moving into more skilled areas.

The appreciation dinner and entertainment evening went quickly. At 10 pm we were readying ourselves for the dash to the last ferry, when we were called up on the stage. We were introduced to the audience and honoured with a khata scarf by the wise Rinpoche from the Vancouver monastery.

Every action we took on behalf of our Tibetan family, and for our Tibetan friends in India, brought us appreciations tenfold over. Each small gesture has been acknowledged many times more than we ever expected or wanted. Their gratefulness was very humbling. Yes, we have helped our family start a new life in Canada, and helped other Tibetans in small ways in India, but I do not think they realize how they have enriched our lives, and the heart opening we have experienced as a result. In the future, I plan to tell  our Tibetan family that they have changed our lives also, and we are blessed to call them our friends.

Ellen

My Romance with India – is it Finished?

In 2012, in a European cafe in Udaipur, we met a Canadian man from the interior of BC. This was his sixth trip to India, although each time when he returned home he said he was never going back. India is like that – it does not resonate with everyone – but if it does, it gets into you and stays there. Into your psyche, your emotions, your spirit and into your very senses.

In many ways we feel done with Mother India, complete. Some things have come full circle. Our closest Tibetan friends are moving to Canada soon, the father is already there, waiting for his family, as I’ve written previously.

India lives in me and always will. I cannot shake her off. In fact part of me is always there. I can call up the memories whenever I wish to, and as the world becomes a smaller place energetically, I have a sense that my two spiritual homes are beginning to segue into each other in a new and deeper way.

Delhi has been our entry point and often our exit point on most of our five trips. Flying in or out of Mumbai and Chennai, Tamil Nadu, the exceptions, were just fine, but Delhi holds a place in my heart. I like Delhi and feel very comfortable there, despite the pollution and chaos. (It rates 11 out of 30 for the world’s most polluted cities, and 6th in India for pollution). We were very fortunate on this trip, to miss particularly bad pollution weeks, both coming in and leaving Delhi.

Walking in the laneways of McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala, of Udaipur, and in 2007,  the Holy City of Varanasi on the Ganges, the draw of the Dalai Lama’s temple over ten years, the power of our Golden Temple visit, the unsurpassed beauty of Lake Pichola and the Old City of Udaipur, these are the memories I carry within me.

India is not all brightness & light. There is a growing middle class, yet poverty remains rampant. It is not a country for women, although middle and upper class women have more equality these days.

Everything is as One as we delve inward towards our centre…our connections with the presence of the Divine during this special journey, the very act of writing about this trip…all these things join me to my dear Tibetan friends in India: Kelo, Thupden, Tsoknyi, Dekyi and Pema.

This is what I will remember always…

An interesting article for you:

https://qz.com/1218598/why-an-indian-girl-chose-to-become-an-american-woman/

Ellen

Copyright 2018 Ellen Besso

Ellen Besso is a former Life Coach & Counsellor & a Reiki Practitioner. She is the author of An Indian Sojourn: One woman’s spiritual experience of travel & volunteering, and Surviving Eldercare: Where their needs end & yours begin, both available through Amazon.

Udaipur Part 2

We began to explore the area around our neighbourhood, and ventured across the footpath to visit our friend Lal Singh at his travel agency the next day, but did not connect with him until a few days later. Our other friend Deepti, formerly a travel agency business partner, met us on the second day at a mini clothing department store, then took us to a four story flashy mall for browsing and lunch, after we picked up her young son from playschool. One of the fast food kiosks on offer was Subway!

Deepti had initially offered to pick me up on her motor scooter and drive me to the clothing store. For a split second, a younger me thought “Yes!“, but then reality took over and the idea of sitting behind her on a bike in the busy Udaipur streets with the bizarre traffic patterns, (choreography, Don calls it), scared the shit out of me. “Don wants to come with us“, I told her, and we met her there in an auto rickshaw, quite dangerous enough in heavy traffic for my current tastes.

Deepti later switched vehicles with her husband, whose office was across the street from the store, in order to drive us around. Don and I crossed the busy street on foot – very carefully – and farther along street I spied Deepti, scooter at right angles to the traffic, crossing a couple of lanes of cars, then riding slowly in front of a city bus! I could hardly believe my eyes. Afterwards I said, “You must have nerves of steel.“. “You have to“, she replied. Sadly, I did not capture a picture of her – but the image is impaled on my eyes!

Over the ten days we were in Udaipur we visited a few of the sites we`d seen before. My favourite, the enormous Indian market, really of about twenty markets, is divided into areas according to their wares: vegetables, cook wear, clothing, and so on. As usual, we saw only a couple of white faces during our time there; the rest of the tourists just have no idea what they are missing.

Our goal on this visit, along with window shopping, was buying a rope to secure Don`s old suitcase. I noticed the rope kiosks by accident on our way out of the market, and Don purchased a blue rope with sparkles on it, luckily just the right length for what he needed.

We had seven days of warm weather, with cool evenings, then some rain came in, very unusual in early December in Udaipur. But a cyclone was brewing farther south, in Northern Maharashtra State and Southern Gujarat State. The cyclone never materialized, but it brought the poor weather. While it was interesting the experience three days of poor weather for the first time ever here, we were sad to lose precious days, as it is doubtful we will return to Udaipur.

One Saturday afternoon, towards the end of our visit, we had an Indian adventure, when we set out in an auto rickshaw, with a driver chosen by Lal Singh, to find a pharmacy. The pharmacy we were referred to was closed, so our driver raced around the circuitous laneways of the Old City, looking for another store, with no luck. Branching out farther, we had to detour several times, as hundreds of folks lined up along bridges and roadways, part of Hindu and Muslim weddings.

We finally located an excellent pharmacy in another part of the city, a long ride in heavy traffic when in an auto rickshaw. Later we were trapped in the middle of what initially looked like a protest, (not good; our government travel advisory tells us to stay away from large crowds), but it turned out to be a Muslim holiday parade.

The highlight of our visit to the City of Lakes was dinner at each of our friend`s homes, where we were served delicious meals. At Deepti’s home we were privileged to be included in their evening pujas, prayer chants to Sai Baba.

A funny cultural misunderstanding occurred in Lal Singh`s home, where we were served appetizers and drinks, and enjoyed pleasant conversation for several hours. When the hour of nine o’clock drew close and we still had not eaten, we weren’t sure what to do. When I quietly told the host we would need to leave soon, my partner Don suggested we should eat. It was then that we discovered that in traditional Rajasthani homes, the guests are meant to say “let’s eat”, not the hosts!! We all had a good laugh over our faux pas, then enjoyed an excellent meal of butter chicken.

On our last morning, we climbed the steep stairs to the deck to find the skies had cleared, and all the tables replaced on the open part of the deck. We passed a happy hour eating breakfast and soaking in the view of the lake and the city before our driver arrived to take us to the airport.

What I will forever remember about our three visits to Udaipur is the strong friendships we developed there, the hours of enjoyment on the deck of Dream Heaven Guesthouse, high above Lake Piccola, and the Indian Market.

Ellen

Copyright 2018 Ellen Besso

Ellen Besso is a former Life Coach & Counsellor & a Reiki Practitioner. She is the author of An Indian Sojourn: One woman’s spiritual experience of travel & volunteering, and Surviving Eldercare: Where their needs end & yours begin, both available through Amazon.

Udaipur, City of Lakes

Our third, and possibly last sojourn to Udaipur, in South Rajasthan, was lovely. As is our pattern, we first reacquainted ourselves with the beautiful Dream Heaven Guesthouse, then began to revisit the Old City. The owners of Dream Heaven, Deep and Dilip, brothers-in-law, were happy to see us, on this, our third visit, (the first was in 2009, the second in 2012).

We arrived at Dream Heaven in the late afternoon, just before dusk, after a morning flight from Kangra, near Dharamshala, into Indira Gandhi Airport, Delhi, followed by an afternoon flight to Udaipur, and a busy one hour drive into the city. We noticed that the traffic is heavier now than on other visits.

The first thing one does at Dream Heaven after depositing their baggage in the room, is visit the marble deck at the top of the building. We had forgotten just how breathtaking the view of the lake and the five century old city is at dusk.

We were given a lovely corner room with two view points, a step up from our usual room over the kitchen, a great room with a view, but also with kitchen fumes from time to time!

Dream Heaven, built high above the lakefront, was Deep’s father`s dream, and is built on the family land where Deep was born. Opened in 2006, with just two rooms and four dining tables, it now has eighteen rooms. The additions, all designed by Deep, have turned the guesthouse into a fascinating above ground rabbit warren, with its narrow passages on many levels, joined by stairways of varying heights and steepness.

The simple Dream Heaven rooms are all decorated in traditional Rajasthani style, with wall murals and wall hangings in beautiful colours. It is truly what Deep and his family dreamt of, a  relaxing guesthouse for visitors to come and feel safe and comfortable in. The family members all live in the building, each group in their own quarters, and that adds to the homey feeling.

The Dream Heaven owners and their staff really do live up to their motto of honesty and hospitality and their belief that “Guests are like god”. The delicious food served in the deck restaurant and the incredible views made it hard for us to eat anywhere else, but we did patronize other restaurants at lunchtime.

Ellen

Copyright 2018 Ellen Besso

Ellen Besso is a former Life Coach & Counsellor & a Reiki Practitioner. She is the author of An Indian Sojourn: One woman’s spiritual experience of travel & volunteering, and Surviving Eldercare: Where their needs end & yours begin, both available through Amazon.

 

 

 

 

You Stood in Line to Be Here Now

New Message from the Council of Grandmothers through Sharon McErlane
“Blessed are all beings,” the Grandmothers said.  “You are blessed.  Everyone on Earth is blessed.  Perhaps you think that because there is so much strife in the world today, you are not blessed, but cursed to be living in these times.  No!  We assure you the opposite is true.  You stood in line to be here on Earth now!” they cried.  “We are speaking figuratively, but in essence, you did.  You wanted very much to be part of life here at this moment in time!
 
“Courage is called for now and your soul wanted to experience courage. Steadiness is called for and you wanted that too.  You wanted a challenge, to be utilized for the highest good and so you were allowed to be part of the great shifting that’s begun.  You are blessed indeed.
 
“Things are not as they seem,” they said, nodding to reassure me.  “We have told you this before and we know it’s hard for you to grasp.  A BIG picture is being formed now and a confluence of events is taking place, an intersecting of energies as they overlap and dovetail with one another.  This is taking place in the most creative and unsuspecting ways.  What’s occurring is so astounding that all you can do is stand back and marvel at it.  Greater changes than you can imagine will begin to reveal themselves now.  What is unfolding is indeed marvelous and as you gain in understanding, you will join in marveling at it.
 
“The gross selfishness and the disrespect for living things that you are witnessing now are aberrations.  Sickness, grotesque formations of energy, and ancient thought forms are surfacing from the primeval ooze.  This dark and heavy energy must come out.  It must rise and be eliminated from Earth’s energy field.  As it rises up, it is hideous to behold and it stinks!
 
“However, this ugliness is in the process of coming up and out, up and out.  It will not last,” the Grandmothers said.  “Let it come.  Let it swell up from everywhere on Earth, from all levels of society.  Let it rise and lift off.  You may even be aware of it coming up out of you and out of others too.  Simply watch it as it goes.  It’s time for it to leave.
 
“As this seemingly dreadful drama takes place on Earth, hold fast to us and to the Net of Light.  Let yourself rest, anchored in light, held steady while all that is ready to be eliminated comes to the surface.  This is your work now … bearing witness and allowing what must go to go.  We stand with you.” 
 

To Learn more about the Great Council of the Grandmothers and how to work with the Net of Light, go to www.netoflight.org

Celebrating Friendship, Our Final Weeks in Dharamshala

After our two peak experiences during the week of November 13th, our remaining ten days were spent visiting with friends, usually in their home. The week after the Golden Temple trip and meeting the Dalai Lama, we developed an Indian cold, usually a hard hit for us, blamed on the changing weather by both Tibetans and Indians. I don’t disagree with that popular belief, but also think our immune systems are not used to the cold germs in India. After seeing a different Doctor of Tibetan Medicine, a middle aged nun, this time right in the McLeod Ganj office, we took it easy for a few days, going out to eat but otherwise lying low.

The Friday after meeting His Holiness, we climbed down the trail from Pema Thang Guesthouse to Chonor House below for dinner, a five minute hike on rutted dirt. I had been trying to have of meal of their tasty chicken teriyaki for several days, but they had run out of chicken due to a  large visiting group requesting chicken momos, a delight somewhat similar to perogies.

On this particular night the Hummingbird Restaurant was catering a dinner for all the staff of the Norbulingka Institute, the Tibetan Government in Exile’s cultural workshop and retail facility in another town down the mountain. We could not order from the menu, we were told, but were invited to attend the dinner, as their guests, even though we were not staying at the hotel. This invitation was typical of Tibetan and Indian hospitality; both in the home and in hotels.

We sat a while before the food was ready, but it was well worth the wait. Everything at this restaurant is fresh and high quality and the chefs had outdone themselves on this occasion. First we were offered some birthday cake, and chose a small slice. (Cake first appears to be a Tibetan custom, as it happened again at the birthday dinner of our young friend.) The dinner on this evening consisted of appetizers, barbecued skewered fish and meats, then a hot buffet, followed by a dessert station consisting of mini cakes and puddings. Everything was delicious, and we particularly enjoyed the fish, not having eaten fish for several weeks.

During our time in McLeod Ganj we had the honour of visiting five Tibetan homes, more than usual, for mostly Tibetan meals. Our friend K cooked each of the three times we visited her and her husband, she would not take no for an answer. It didn’t matter if we had just eaten, we had to eat more! If K spoke English it would have made no difference; she just ignored my words and hand motions as if they were invisible!

Our final evening in Dharamshala, we went down the hill to Dr. D’s, for her daughter’s birthday dinner, this time Indian takeout, her choice. It was a perfect ending to our trip, dining with our closest friends in their small apartment where we had sat on many previous visits to the town.

The next morning we checked out of Pema Thang at 7:30 am and took a taxi downhill towards Kangra Airport. Near the back entrance to the temple I spied K and T on the road, ready to begin their circumambulation of the temple grounds, (clockwise waking around a sacred site), followed by their morning visit to the temple itself for worship, their first visit of the day. At my request our driver stopped the car, and more tashi deleks, (translated simply as “blessings and good luck”), and hugs were exchanged before we reluctantly climbed back inside the taxi.

Saying goodbye to our dear friends was hard. We spent many happy hours in Dr. D’s apartment over ten years and I have a snapshot of it in my memory. We will visit her and her family in their new home in Canada in a year or two. I took a picture of K & T at the door of their home so they will live on in my memory.

Now, after some weeks back home, I am beginning to realize how my journey with the Council of Grandmothers and the Net of Light, begun last spring, affected me during this very special time in Dharamshala. During my first two plus weeks there I cast the Net of Light, the Divine Light that holds and protects this planet and all beings on it, around the Dalai Lama’s temple repeatedly each day. Shortly after meeting His Holiness, I suddenly received the message that the net was now cast around the entire town, and that my work was completed.

We have visited this small town in the foothills of the Himalayas five times over ten years, and have developed many enduring friendships. What I will always remember about McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala, whether I return or not, is my comfort level there, how at home I feel. “It feels like a second home to me”, Don says.

Note: You can read Alma Anderson’s channelled messages about my lifetimes in the Dharamshala area in An Indian Sojourn.

Ellen

Ellen Besso is a former Life Coach & Counsellor & a Reiki Practitioner. She is the author of An Indian Sojourn: One woman’s spiritual experience of travel & volunteering, and Surviving Eldercare: Where their needs end & yours begin, both available through Amazon.

Next: We return to Udaipur, Rajasthan to visit our Indian friends.

The Dalai Lama Blesses Us

After we had been in Dharamshala for two plus weeks we reached the apex of our visit: an audience with His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Months earlier our friend, a former minister in the Tibetan Government in Exile, had suggested that we apply for an audience, so we visited the temple to inquire and were given the Dalai Lama’s Secretary’s office contact information. Internet connections were poor, worse even than I remembered, so I tried the wifi at our favourite breakfast restaurant. Oddly my email request for an audience disappeared from the tablet, so Dr. D. sent an email and phoned the Secretary’s office.

On our way back to Dharamshala from the Golden Temple Dr. D. received a phone call from the temple office, asking why she had not returned their email. Apparently she had forgotten her email password! Our presence was required the very next morning at the temple, she was told.

We arrived at the temple office early the next morning, as instructed. We had no hard copy invitation to present, but after a bit of  confusion, the words “We’re from Canada”, alerted the security officer to who we were. We were then sent outside where female and male security guards searched us and instructed us to leave our bags. My body search was thorough, the female guard found a toothpick in my pocket and confiscated it!

We then lined up on the driveway towards the reception building and home of His Holiness, standing in the chilly morning air for about an hour. Most of the sixty or seventy attendees were Tibetans, with about a dozen Westerners. Finally the Tibetans were directed to move up towards the building, where they stood, heads bent and khata prayer scarves in hand. All the Westerners stood a few yards back.

After a short time along came the Dalai Lama, accompanied by several monks. His Holiness took his place in front of the entrance to the building. The audience was tightly orchestrated, with several older monks flanking Him and a long line of Tibetan security guards forming a tunnel visitors walked through. An Indian Army guard with an automatic rifle stood on each side of the doorway, a much smaller army presence than during the Dalai Lama’s teachings, when thousands of folks are present.

Each group or individual was directed through the tunnel of Tibetan security guards, while the rest of us stood back and waited our turn. Four Western women went before us, one of them a nun. When a question was asked by one of them, the Dalai Lama offered them a ten minute mini history lesson. His recall of historical dates was impressive.

Then it was our turn to meet Him. He grasped my hand, then Don’s. I told him that  twenty Tibetans live in our community near Vancouver, (part of Canada’s Tibetan Resettlement Sponsorship Program). He expressed interest, and I had the sense he was about to ask me something, but the staff intervened and told us to line up for  pictures. The monk photographer quickly took eight pictures of the three of us. I then asked His Holiness if he would bless our friend who was very ill at home in Canada. An expression of deep compassion crossed his face, and he gave a brief blessing in Tibetan. We thanked him, bowed, then left, with precious pills and blessed red silk thread in hand.

What remains with me, and, I believe always will, was the gentle peace surrounding His Holiness, indeed around the whole area where we stood. His Holiness gave us a lot that day. We received a powerful healing energy from his presence and his touch.

Afterwards, walking down the driveway of the temple towards the street, I was attacked by a street dog, a first. The dog jumped on me twice, and in my haste to get away from him I fell off the roadway to the ground below, a drop of a foot or more; I remained on my feet and fortunately was not harmed. The dog and his friend continued to follow us after this. Naturally, I was shook up and afraid they would jump again and bite me this time.

No one, including the police, believed the dog was harmful, however, there is still a  threat of rabid dogs in McLeod Ganj.  The vaccination program is improving each year, though. Eventually Don took charge of the situation and, taking me by the arm, suggested we leave the main road and go up the  Kirti Monastery laneway.

After mulling over what happened for a while we concluded that the dog did not mean harm, he was being playful, and was responding to my altered state after meeting His Holiness.

The meeting with the Dalai Lama had a great impact on both of us. Our previous exposure to Tibetan Buddhism, both in India and in Canada, and to Tibetans through our enduring friendships in Dharamshala and our Tibetan family sponsorship in our home community, deepened our experience.  And I would venture to say that past  lifetimes as Tibetan Buddhists also contributed to making the encounter more profound.

In later days we met a beautiful man, a Tibetan Buddhist who manages a catering facility for the government in exile’s cultural department. He told us that he blacks out every time he meets His Holiness and does not remember the experience.

Looking up the term “medical blackout” I found: a transient dulling or loss of vision, consciousness, or memory. While we did not have that experience, the audience had a strong effect on us and we believe we received a powerful healing from the Dalai Lama’s touch and from being in his presence, one that we are still integrating into our energy system.

At our initial chiropractic session within a week of our return from India, our spines were quite integrated, and our doctor sensed that it was from the experience of meeting His Holiness.

Clearly, meeting His Holiness the Dalai Lama was our destiny, part of our spiritual path.

Tashe delek,  

Ellen

Copyright Ellen Besso 2018

Next: Celebrating Friendship, Final Weeks in Dharamshala