I am skiing down through the snow and come across a building called Innovation. I walk through the door, and come across the people at the pay kiosk. I say I have no money with me but I want to meet my other half. They let me go in and I go up the escalator to meet the other half, at the top of the stair I see myself, and follow ‘her’ through something which look like market stalls. ‘She’ collapses, and I shout out, is there a doctor here to help? Three Doctors come by me, but not in time as she dies in my arms. I am bereft as I walk to the great window and look out. There is a vast expanse of nothing.
I wake up and tape my dream, which I take down to my partner, who has a painting and writing studio down in the barn, on the land which is in the Highlands of Scotland. We study some Krishnamurti and Wittgenstein together for awhile. As one does! I am age 31.
A little later, I put on a pair of gardening trousers, to lift potatoes I have grown, I would normally wear a dress or skirt. I see smoke coming from the croft, and run towards it, and call for Neil, my partner. The croft is becoming ablaze with fire, and cannot be entered. Since we only have a small bridge over the river to this remote land, above Loch Ness , there is no way a fire engine can get access to the house. Neil says to me, I will get two deckchairs and we will sit and let it be. Unless you watch it consciously Kate, you will never let it go, he says. We sit behind the house on deckchairs, in the meadow and watch the house and all the belongings burning down. There is a strange feeling mix of shock, sadness and yet there is also elation. This moment changes my life. The Phoenix.
UNLESS YOU WATCH IT CONSCIOUSLY KATE, YOU WILL NEVER LET IT GO, HE SAYS.
That night we go to friends, support I suppose. They are having a party. We only have the steading barn left with artworks and writings of Neils, and my spinning wheel. He is a poet and playwright. Friends offer clothes and washing things, for me to take ‘home’ which I take in a rug bag. We return home, sleep in the steading, Scottish for barn, as the croft still smoulders. We have lost everything, and the local farmers come to pay respects, with whisky. I lie on the balcony bed and watch them reminisce, exhausted.
In the morning when the fire brigade men in their yellow suits are there, smashing down the remains, I go in and find a double egg cup which had belonged to my mother, and a copy of Ivanovitch Gurdjieff’s ‘All and Everything’ untouched by the fire. All else had gone to the fire.
Within days I go to the Tibetan Monastery in Dumfrieshire, and on arrival find Situ Rinpoche, Gyalsab Rimpoche and Thrangu Rinpoche there on a visit. It is an auspicious moment. I meet Akong Rinpoche and say, I have had several dreams, and experiences, I think you spiritual masters, may have burnt my house down. He says ‘maybe.’
I ask if I may stay to follow the Dharma. I ask if I may stay for a year and a day! Neil decides to travel to India to follow a spiritual master in India. We go our separate ways. Within months I am in Oxford, starting to care for the Lama House, for Thrangu Rinpoche. Yes, my life has changed. I am in the kind hands of the Buddhas. And still am.
I learnt from this experience that the material world, is very much less important than the spiritual world of which I am now making an effort to live. The Phoenix was a hidden blessing.
The first time I think I was enchanted by the Tibetan Knowledge of Healing was when I was in Dharamsala, India. I took a friend to see the great Tibetan Physician, Dr Yeshe Dondon, one misty winter morning.
My friend had told me she had cancer and needed help. She was a visitor to this hill town, the home of His Holiness Dalai Lama, where I lived. After waiting since six in the morning , in line, we finally went into his consultation rooms. The Tibetan Doctor, took a sample of her urine, and he bustled into his courtyard to test it. He returned, without a word. He then looked at her kindly, and rather deeply and seemed to scan her body visually. He then took her pulses for some time.
What arose was astonishing. He said to my friend : “You have three small tumours, one here and two there. “ He pointed his finger to an area of her breast and two other spots nearby. At the end of his consultation, he asked my friend how long she was staying in Dharamsala, and she said three weeks. He recommended she lengthen her stay to six, and that she stayed at the hospital. He said he would remove ‘this one’ very quickly and the other two would take more time. But he told her he would take care of her. And there should be success.