Broken Open

By Thea Iberall

A friend of mine told me she had been meditating for years with a teacher, a channeled master named Wan Lo Sensei. When Wan Lo Sensei was offering an open session, I jumped at the chance to experience and to learn. I was a bit nervous. What would he think of me? I decided to try to look spiritual. I wore soft cotton clothes I bought at the Whole Life Expo. I blow-dried my hair. I was ready. This was not your normal, contemplative meditating that I had been used to. Through the psychic medium, Wan Lo Sensei taught his students to go with the forces in their bodies—to move or sigh or cry or yell or squirm—everything was welcomed. After we meditated, he walked around the room revealing things about people, sometimes being evasive and making the person guess at what he meant. He encouraged his long-time students to read other people’s energy fields. They complained they couldn't, but then they did it quite accurately. Wan Lo Sensei came up to me and said, “Looking good.” The medium's eyes were closed but Wan Lo Sensei was seeing right through me. He knew of my preparations. Then he asked me why my kitchen was such a mess. I knew it wasn’t. I said maybe it’s because I’ve been cooking. He said everyone cooks and their kitchens aren’t messy. Then I got it. He was playing with me. He knew I had a deep chaotic mess in my life. But it wasn’t the kitchen, it was my closets, all filled with stuff that I had to get rid of but couldn’t. I’m trying to remember exactly what happened next. He asked people to bow down but I didn’t want to. He motioned to me to come to the front of the room. He told me to close my eyes and put my hands in a praying position. The next thing I knew my knees had buckled under me and I was bowing. And in that moment, he broke my will. I stood in the parking lot afterwards, surrounded by friends holding me up while I sobbed. I had hoped to be recognized as a spiritual person by a channeled disembodied master. Not only was I recognized, I was seen as the fake that I was. But this meeting didn't happen in a vacuum. For 7 years prior, I had been practicing living by the phrase 'acceptance is the key to all my problems'. And also by the phrase 'Thy will, not mine, be done.' My day with Wan Lo Sensei was putting this practice to the test. In the Conference of the Birds, the Sufi master Farid ud-Din Attar says to become enlightened you must die to your old life. Everything that does not belong to the core has to be expelled. It takes fearlessness to take a step towards being one’s true self. A fearlessness that embraces life and doesn’t shy away from it. In a previous meditation, I shared a story about the homesteader's life, how taking care of a pack of dogs could be more spiritual than sitting on a mountaintop praying. Because it’s not about just looking spiritual; it’s about being spiritual. That day, I think Wan Lo Sensei saw that in me. And maybe he didn't break me. Maybe it was more of a course correction. He was breaking my attachment to my ego. I was striving to be spiritual, wanting approval for my work. But what I was reminded that day was that it's an inside job. I had old baggage I needed cleaning out. I needed to find a way to practice 'thy will not mine be done’ that didn’t involve my ego or my being a doormat. And most of all, I had to really get it that acceptance is the key. It's not about saying I'm in acceptance, it's about my being in acceptance.

A Blessing for Traveling in the Dark

by Jan Richardson

Go slow

if you can.


More slowly still.

Friendly dark

or fearsome,

this is no place

to break your neck

by rushing,

by running,

by crashing into

what you cannot see.

Then again,

it is true: