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To the one who hears all sounds: Kwan Yin

Yesterday I was a traveler.  Cars, trains, and subways got me to one of my favorite sacred places:  the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. 

As an artist and spiritual person, I feel the same way when walking into a cathedral as I do when walking into a museum.  There's a sense of awe and quiet stillness.  There's reverence and time for pause and reflection.  For me, visiting a museum is a spiritual experience.  It feeds my soul.

I have been to this particular museum countless times before, but in the past have focused my visit on the paintings.  This visit, time was not an issue, so I gave myself permission to intuitively wander around the museum.  I almost wanted to get lost, to find something new.  Without reading signs, I let my inner map guide me through doors, down corridors and up stairs.  Then, I turned one corner and saw her:  the lovely Kwan Yin.

I mentally fell to my knees.

The room was empty.  It was just her and I.  I could feel her presence still within this statue that was created is the year 580.  Before cars, trains, or subways could have gotten me to see her.  Before there were ways to take her picture.  & yet there she was, still standing on that lotus that blooms out of the mud, still strong.

It is said that Kwan Yin had the chance to reach Nirvana, but before accepting this gift, she heard the "yin," or all of the sounds of the world.  She heard the cries, the pleas, the suffering.  She was known for her heart of compassion, and she couldn't walk away from all of the healing that needed to be done.  So, this Bodhisattva said "no" to Nirvana and "yes" to helping others.  She is the divine feminine in Buddhism, the jewel in the lotus.

She who hears all sounds.

There's something magical about that, isn't there?  To hear.  to listen. 

So we chatted, Kwan Yin and I.  I talked to her in the most hushed whisper.  But I knew she could hear. 

After our chat, I wrote her a letter. 

This summer, my body has been talking to me.  In whispers and in more harsh tones.  I can't understand all of what this body has to say.  But I'm listening.  I'm all ears.  I'm learning.


To the one who hears all sounds:

There have been whispers
whispers of my heart, of my muscles, of the palms of my hands.

It seems my body has many secrets.  It speaks to me in hushed tones.  I am cupping my ear, cupping the lotus, listening.

I am learning to understand.

And then here you are: full of compassion, the perfect listener.

Be my translator. Let me know what I need.  Guide me towards healing.  I'm listening for the way.


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