Tea with Jesus & The Buddha

 

Gautama      © 2020      Lee Anne Morgan

Several mornings ago, I was invited to have tea with Jesus and Gautama Buddha. Do not think me addled. I am not. I only ask that you read about this experience before forming preconceptions and conclusions.

This is what happened.

I woke early as is my habit. Delighted with the cool morning, following weeks of oppressive heat and humidity, I walked longer than usual, took pictures, greeted other early risers, and made my way home. Once there, I did yoga and then began a meditation period. When I heard the end-chime, I turned it off without opening my eyes for I didn’t want it to end. I took a few breaths to re-center and was back into a mysterious yet comforting place. Then, a journey unfolded unlike any I’ve experienced in my seventy-seven years.

A man walked towards me holding a beautiful, round beeswax candle. Its flame radiated warmth and safety as did the man. I first saw his sandals, then his jeans and a white shirt with billowy sleeves not unlike something worn in Shakespeare’s time. As he walked closer, I saw his olive-colored skin and long, dark hair pulled away from his face tied low at the back of his neck. When he stopped about three feet from me, I looked into his brown, kind eyes looking back into mine with great love. He asked, “How can I help?” I replied, “You are Jesus. I feel ashamed and I have failed. I can do nothing in this world. My heart is filled with outrage at the anger, hate, pain, division, ignorance, and suffering that permeate our lives along with daily death counts. Injustices, racism, and violence I myself was not fully aware of feel insurmountable. My soul cries for help. And, I do not believe I can love enough to help.” Jesus said nothing. He placed his index finger into the candle’s flame, yet it did not burn. It glowed. He touched my heart with his finger and said, “Walk with me.”

Where Ocean Meets Sky © 2020 Lee Anne Morgan

He took my right hand as we walked along a white sand beach with ocean water the color of turquoise. Seagulls abounded, dolphins played, turtles and seals bathed on the shore. Soon we entered a cathedral of trees in a small forest. There were trees and foliage of all kinds, flowers, large and small, of all kinds with colors I never imagined. A Bengal tiger approached us calmly nuzzling Jesus for a rub of his head and a scratch of his ears. There were large and small animals co-existing everywhere my eyes could see. I asked, “Am I in heaven?” Jesus answered, “No. You’re in your Soul. You ARE your Soul.” Suddenly we were in a meadow I dreamed and envisioned since childhood…a meadow of yellow and white fragrant flowers. Butterflies of varied colors and sizes flew about me and landed on my shoulders and in my hands. I twirled round and round realizing I was no longer wearing my workout clothes but a long, white gauzy dress with wide flowing sleeves. My hair was raven-black, and it fell in one long sweep down my shoulders and back. A garland of gardenias, my favorite flower, and scent, graced my head.

The Forest Floor No. 1.      © 2020      Lee Anne Morgan
The Forest Floor No. 2 © 2020 Lee Anne Morgan
The Forest Floor No. 3      © 2020      Lee Anne Morgan

Focusing more broadly on the whole scene, I saw a beautiful, grand tree lush with green leaves, flowers, fruit, and birds darting everywhere while rejoicing in song. Behind the extravagant tree was a brook of cobalt blue water babbling, gurgling, never-ending.

Sādhanā (Remastered)      © 2010 – 2020      Lee Anne Morgan

Beneath the tree was a wizened old man, or so I thought. When Jesus and I approached, the old man stood with the strength of a strong oak tree. His thick hair was pure white worn in a long braid down the middle of his back. He wore a white T-shirt and light blue yoga pants. His skin was deep brown, and his blue eyes sparkled like sapphires. Jesus said, “Siddhartha, how good to see you, my brother.” With an intense reverence, they hugged one another close. “I have brought Lee Anne.” Siddhartha, also known as Gautama Buddha, took my face in his hands and bent his forehead to mine resting it there for a few moments. My mind, no, my Third Eye! felt like it expanded into the cosmos as I saw galaxies and supernatural events in a flash. Then the vision was gone. Siddhartha asked us to sit and have tea. I was moved to see an old bone china English tea set I once owned set out on a woven white linen cloth. Fruit bread, fresh fruit, and my favorite Assam tea with cream were served. I walked to the brook as Jesus spoke with Siddhartha explaining how I believed my heart was burdened and my soul was not free. I looked into the clear blue water of the brook expecting to see my seventy-seven-year-old face but, instead, saw a lovely young woman with porcelain skin and emerald-green eyes. Who was I? When I returned Siddhartha said, “Remember the monastery bell?” Then he quoted Matsuo Basho: “The temple bell stops but I still hear the sound coming out of the flowers.” I knew this quote well. It has always been my hope when I photograph the precious life of flowers that when the images are looked upon one will hear the monastery bell, the music, a song. I nodded in understanding and gratitude for this work is sacred to me and it is very much a part of my Soul. Then, both Jesus and Siddhartha spoke to me and said these things:

Old Tibetan Singing Bowl      © 2020      Lee Anne Morgan
The Third Eye © 2020 Lee Anne Morgan

“Our dearest daughter, you are a seeker. You have learned many teachings and practiced with sincerity and reverence trying to do your best. You have come to a point, however, where your Soul is now tethered to formalities in teachings whether Christian, Buddhist, or others. While the institutionalized church rules, doctrines, and rituals have merit, and once did for you, your Soul’s lifeforce is reaching for the Divine…beyond unquestioning beliefs. Remaining tied to manmade credos will no longer fulfill your Soul’s needs. You seek the Divine that is outside phenomena, even the supernatural, for your heart and Soul discovered that the Womb of God’s Cosmic Love is so transcendent it cannot be defined or ritualized or reduced to precepts.

It is your mind, ego, and thinking thoughts over and over that prevent inner peace and the freedom your Soul seeks. Do you understand? Actually, we know you do. It is you who refrain at times from setting your ego apart from your Soul life that prevents total freedom to love. That is why you are here. You can now accept and bless all spiritual paths, their goals and rituals and rules, and acknowledge with non-judgment their importance to others. You are free and no longer need anything that separates you from those who live in eternity; who breathe the Divine. This is what you seek.”

Soul Life      © 2020      Lee Anne Morgan

Yes! I felt these truths when Jesus touched his finger to my heart and Siddhartha his forehead to mine. Their acts comprised the first minuscule steps to awakening. Siddhartha and Jesus rose and said, “We must be going. Stay a while if you wish.” Then Siddhartha said, “You are so hard on yourself. Be tender with your wounds, Lee Anne, for they are many. Compassion for yourself will open your heart and enable you to connect soul-to-soul with others.” I bowed deeply watching them walk away, arms on one another’s shoulders laughing and talking. They were, indeed, brothers.

When I opened my eyes, tears soaked my face and shirt. I thought this vision quest, waking-dream, mystical experience, however one might define it, lasted a few minutes. Yet an hour had passed. I knew I could no longer follow rules, biblical stories as literal fact, arcane Buddhist doctrines, or anything spiritually institutionalized for I threw myself headfirst into so many doctrines, so many times, trying conscientiously to do it their way, yet remained hollow.

I’ve wandered to and fro on my spiritual path, changing beliefs like wardrobes. This is why I know there is only one thing that matters and that is to love all living beings: Our planet, animals, trees, creatures large and small, the waters of this good earth, and…one another. My spiritual journeys served to illuminate and understand my Soul life; to try to be love if at all possible. If I make it sound effortless, it is not. Does talking about loving everyone and everything sound contrite? Yes, it does. Yet I still want to try. This is not arrogance on my part, but aspirational.

Cascade of Purity      © 2020      Lee Anne Morgan
Renoir’s Rose (Remastered)      © 2001-2020      Lee Anne Morgan

These are difficult times. It will change. Impermanence is an abiding Law of the Cosmos. Going through the challenges, watching anger, hatred, division, violence, extreme racism on several fronts, and death on a daily basis can cause anyone’s soul to despair. We must not permit darkness to pervade our lives, our homes, our nation. Let us look to the billions of acts of kindness each day that we never hear about. Gandhi said, “Think of the poorest person you know and see if your next act will be of any use to him.” Each of us can offer a smile, listen to a friend’s problems, again and again, share a meal, deliver food to someone in need, and fight to extinguish injustices for all lives matter. We are the ‘same kind of difference.’

We can refuse to be the judge and jury of those who are not like us, for we are all from one Divine Source, and we all live in the same house capable of ‘oceans of love’ as Ram Dass said in his final book, Walking Each Other Home: “Love has no judgment. It is boundless. You are standing on the beach, you put down your shoes and your ego, and then you dive in. If we love well, we will die well…being fully in the moment allows us to lose ourselves in love, in the love of the beauty and awe of the manifestation of God, in the love of ourselves and others, and in the love of everything else…the suffering, the pain, the joy.”

Old Tibetan Singing Bowl No. 2      © 2020      Lee Anne Morgan

 May you be well. May you be safe. May you be healthy.

May you be happy. May you live with ease and peace.

 May all living beings be free.

Thank you. In Love.

Namasté.

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