What was it like writing The Signature From Tibet?
They say there is a book in everyone!! I believe that is true, we all have experiences we can write about. These life experiences can be translated into story form if we allow our imagination to run free.
The storyline for The Signature From Tibet began with, or so I thought at the time, a coincidental meeting with a woman who insisted she takes me to Samye Ling Monastery, a crow who plummeted from the sky and crashed into the window of the car, and on the same day my meeting with Dr Akong Tulku Rinpoche.
Dr Akong Tulku Rinpoche escaped from Tibet and founded Samye Ling the first Buddhist centre in the west, there was an immediate connection between myself, and Akong, he offered to be my overseer and granted me a Dharma Centre (Spiritual Teaching Centre) and so begins my incredible journey.
The “coincidences” and chain of events just kept happening. The most significant “coincidence” is when I am given by my uncle, the original 1974 Scottish Tour Programme of His Holiness the 16th Karmapa, who had written a message of thanks to my uncle for treating him for a toothache. His Holiness had signed and dated this document.
On Akong’s instructions, I travelled to India and met with His Holiness the 17th Karmapa, who suggested I put the signed tour programme of His Holiness the 16th Karmapa in a book for the world to see. The finished book is now available for the world to see, The Signature From Tibet.
Each day, sitting at my desk in silence, in my home in Scotland, I lost all sense of my surroundings as I became part of the lives of a Tibetan Nomadic community. I am there living and experiencing Tibet, the Tibetan Nomadic lifestyle, their beliefs, habits, daily lives, culture, thinking and their environment.
I used to say to those around me, that it was challenging being present as me, living here in my hometown, Edinburgh. I had come to believe, that it was as consciousness, that I had been able to and accustomed to living an entirely separate life in Tibet. Once, The Signature From Tibet was complete, I felt a bit lost, strange and lonely.
A chance meeting with a professional chiropractor, a lady I had previously had chiropractic treatment from, whose integrity I admired and work I trusted, began to tell me of her experiences while training as a past life regressionist. She asked me if I would like to be a case study for her final exam and I jumped at the chance.
I was being offered the opportunity to have the possibility of making sense of a world linked to my past. Below is the transcript of this Past Life Regression Session.
Transcript of Regression Therapy
There is so much dust around me, it catches my throat and clouds my sight, but as I stare at the grey mist, it begins to slowly clear. I start to see people working; they are farmers. They are happy, smiling as they tend their yaks. There are a few tents nearby and smoke billowing out from the top of the roof. The Tibetans are talking about the weather. They do not see me. As I walk past them, their presence begins to fade away from my sight. As I enter a thick mist, I am trying to find someone or something. In the distance, as the fog clears, I see a monk walking towards me. He is wearing maroon robes that reach right down to his feet. Part of the material from his robe is slung over his left shoulder, revealing his tanned arms. He has a smile on his face, and I feel a familiarity about him which I can’t quite fathom out. As we close in on each other, I try to sidestep him but fail and as we collide, instantaneously an immense flash of white light bursts outwards. As I regain my senses, I now realize I have an extraordinary journey to make.
Needing reassurance that the letter given to me to deliver, is still in my pocket, I slide my hand into the slit at the side of my robes and breathe a sense of relief as I feel the softness of the pouch that the letter is contained in. As I walk onwards towards my destination, Lhasa the capital city of Tibet, I am happy. It is an honour to be the bearer of such an auspicious letter, and I will guard and protect it with my life if need be. I know that in this letter there is vital information that must be read by The Dali Lama himself.
My instructions were clear; I was to give the letter to nobody other than the Dali Lama himself.
It’s a long tiring journey to Lhasa, but I am so full of the joy of fulfilling my duty that any suffering I have endured through lack of sleep, tiredness, little food and water has paled into insignificance.
Lhasa is bustling with people as I arrive. The noise is too loud for me as I am used only to the silence within my monastery. But it’s the aliveness of the energy of the people and animals as they go about their daily business that I connect to. As I walk down the narrow streets I finally come face to face with the steps that lead to the Potala Palace; my journey is nearly over.
An armed soldier suddenly appears he is not Tibetan; he demands to know the reason why I am trying to gain access to the Potala Palace. I explain to him that I have a signed letter which I must give only to His Holiness the Dali Lama. The soldier holds out his hand to me and demands that I give him the message. No, I reiterate the only person who can see this letter is the Dali Lama himself. My access to the large staircase which leads to the residence of the Dali Lama is blocked.
Getting this vital message to the Dali Lama now seems impossible. My aggressor tells me he will shoot me unless I hand the letter to him. I lower my eyes. How can I fulfill my mission now, I wondered? I try to weigh up the situation. If I run to the steps, I will be shot. If I hand over the letter, I will be shot. As I raise my eyes up to the sky, I know my fate. I have no fear of dying, for dying is part of living. My sadness is only because I am unable to fulfill my mission and it is that which lays heavy on my heart. I vow that one day I will return and I will deliver this message; it is my promise to the universe and myself.
My only hope is to make a dash for the steps, in a flash I begin to run.
Out the corner of my eye I see the guard aiming his gun at me. I put my hand into my pocket, I feel the letter, the energy from the handwriting engulfs me. Instantly I feel an immense pain, like a red-hot poker burning through me. As I look down, I see a dark stain seeping through my maroon robes, I realize it is blood. I look towards the sky; I see a crow, it hovers above me. I watch the crow and the crow watches me. A flash of turquoise as the sun’s rays strikes the crows wings nearly blinds me. I fall to the ground, the back of my head hits the ground, I am now holding the letter tightly in my right hand. I watch as the crow swoops down and lands on my robes. I feel his feet on my body as he walks upwards towards my face. I feel no movement now, the crow has stopped, and is resting on my neck. As the crow cranes his neck forward, I sense a soft breath of air on my face. The crow looks directly into my open eyes. I gasp for breath, somehow, I understand the crow’s presence. As my last breath escapes from me, I feel a tear slide down my face. I whisper to the crow, “thank you for being here with me, my friend, but I’ve failed the mission I was given”. It is then I notice the letter has disappeared. I hear the soft tone voice of the crow whispering, “the next time it will be I, who gives my life for you, another place, another time. Until then, go softly my friend”.