Namasté spiritual friend,
As a child I fell in love with the chaplain. He was talking about realms which not corresponded with the material world I lived in, but the stories he told and the way he told them quietly felt so beautiful and so lovingly. I sat in the front to listen to him and I did my best to answer all the questions he asked during the religious teachings at primary school.
My life went on and the chaplain disappeared out of my life. When I grew up I was a bit dissappointed about life.
I never had an idea of what kind of profession I would like to follow when I would be a grown up person. The only thing I knew was that I wanted to get wise, although I didn’t know – and still don’t know – what I meant by that. In our family we talked about me, as the ‘Professor of Not Knowing Anything’.
I bumped into a lot of experiences and professions. I studied chemistry and theatre sciences. A lot of people inspired me on my way! So many people, living beings, and nature I met in life, gave – and still give – me sparks of wisdom.
Just before my father died in 2004, he gave me one advice: “Find the truth by Beauty”. During his life he mentioned once in a while the poet ‘Ithaka’ from Konstantinos Kavafis (1863-1933). A poet about living a life with no regret. My father and I shared the love for language and poetry.
My mother was a very spiritual gifted woman. She learned me a lot about the beauty of flowers, herbs, love and life. She gave me a glance of how to live a spiritual life.
In 1992 I was looking for a person who could help me to get some answers to vital questions and the person I found, Bernadette Hupperts, was inspired by Buddhism. She combined psychotherapy with Kum Nye and she had a Thangka hanging from the medicine Buddha. That was my first acquaintance with a religion other than Christianity. She introduced me to her Sangha, where we experienced the body and mind by Kum Nye.
In 2006 I found my future spouse Eric and he was also curious and engaged in living a spiritual life. He inspired me to join a Shamatha retreat on Holy Isle by Allan Wallace (formerly a student of the Dalai Lama). I loved the stories, the environment and for the first time I got some blinks of having a clear mind. This retreat inspired us to meditate together at home on a daily base, once a week with a group at the Amsterdam Nyingma Institute and in 2012 we started to follow a drawing course for Thangka’s as a preliminaries for another Shamatha retreat of eight weeks.
Soon after this last retreat I got overstrung, while working in a job that did not meet my deepest soul need. After some though months I decided to resign. It took me about a year to find new ways to really feel the joy coming back into my life. Then my journey began to discover how blessed I am with my highly sensitive, outgoing gifted nature, rather than seeing it as a burden.
This year, 2021, I bought a book from Monica Furlong, which I remembered that it touched me as a teenager. The book was translated in Dutch and was called ‘Heksenkind’, (Child of a witch). Just now I found out that originally the title is ‘Wise Child’. When I read it again, I see that I live my life as a ‘Doran’ (the woman who raised Wise Child :)).
Flying on the wings of wisdom and compassion, in the benefit for all sentient beings.
That is how I would like to see this life to unfold.
Warm regards, all blessings to you,
Annette van der Swaluw
The Netherlands, 2021