The Potala Palace, Lhasa, Tibet.
When I was about 5 years old, something happened that has had a lasting effect on me.
I was awakened by an unfamiliar voice. It was a gentle voice. It did not however, belong in my house.
I was not afraid, more curious. I have always been just that; curious, and as Alice would say this was indeed, ‘curiouser and curiouser.
I lay, listening for movement, any indication of another person in the room or next door in my Parent’s room.
All was quiet.
I whispered, ‘Mum’ and waited. She had bat like hearing and I can tell you it was impressive; what that woman could hear when we didn’t particularly want it heard, and with only one ear! The other, well she burned that ear drum out with peroxide when she tried to dye her hair as a teenager. This night however, this night she must have been sleeping with her ‘good ear’ on the pillow, and Dad was snoring. I was alone with the disembodied voice.
As I believe most children of this age do when confronted with situations that are not entirely ‘usual’ and there are no Parental guides; I looked for instances where I knew there would be a ‘how to react’ and I didn’t have one really, so I did what I have done since in these situations. I decided to ‘wing it’!
I sat up in bed, in the dark and I waited. The voice hadn’t seemed at all menacing, it actually sounded like someone does when they are trying to stir one from sleep in the morning. He’d said my name three times in increasing volume and intensity. There was no shouting, just an increase in the volume and that kind of importance factor. The ‘you really have to wake up now’, tone.
As I waited and my eyes adjusted to the dark; it never occurred to me to turn on the bedside lamp, it seemed like it wasn’t really so dark at all. In fact it was quite light really. Then a tiny speck of bright light pierced into my awareness. There at the end of my bed a couple of feet off the floor, something was happening.
The bright thing looked like a tiny square tile, and it was glowing golden yellow. It sort of flipped open like a book and became another tile of light, and another and another. These were not all golden yellow, these others were blues and greens, a mosaic of tiny tiles of light in my room; not just randomly there but coalescing into a form.
As the form took shape there was, I realised more happening, there was sound! No, not the voice that had awakened me, but a tonal sing-song kind of chant and a deep long bass tone. I had never heard such a sound before…then how could it be so familiar?
Being 5 or so, I didn’t dwell. After all there was this truly wonderous sight in front of me sitting, suspended, somehow at the end of my bed. He was beautiful. He was peaceful, he was entrancing. He was made up of these greeny blue, turquoise tiles and the golden yellow light. He sat legs crossed with something in his left hand and his right was held up as if in greeting. At least that is how it looked to me at the time. He was exotic-bright. He was in my room. I was woken up to see him. I wanted so much to go with him, I remember leaning more and more toward him.
And then he was gone.
From that time onwards, when I was in distress, emotionally, mentally, physically I would have a dream. It was also after the ‘visitation’ that I became fascinated with Tibet and everything about it.
I dreamt that I was with a group of people and we were travelling in Tibet. We found ourselves in the mountains and there was a monastery. We went through these fantastically painted doors and there was a long room, banked up on each side behind rows of butter lamps were monks. Their robes red and orange, their faces serene, they chanted a sing-song chant I remembered. At the end of the room there was a stone dias, upon which a lectern stood. There was a single long window just above and behind the lectern and on the lectern was a great tome of a book.
Each of us in the party took it in turn to ascend to this lectern and as we approached the book a monk appeared from one side with a circlet made of iron. This was placed on our heads as we read a page of the book. As we read the light spilled from the window behind us and illuminated the pages of the book. To me as I waited my turn it looked like they were being bathed in the light. Their faces shone in some otherworldly way.
I was suddenly there, at the lectern. The book was the grandest, most unique thing I have ever seen. The binding was what looked like wolf skin, I had my hands there and there was that energy, it was red, from what I could see of the edges, but it was what was written on the pages… before the Monk placed the circlet on my head I could see some kind of language there, it made no sense to me. Once the circlet was on my head, everything changed. The light was so bright, it cold burned my eyes. They were not what I was using to read. There was something else going on. It was indescribable. What I remember is, this was the relating of the journey of my Soul through time. This one set of passages in this book was the story of me. There was the future there also, it was there, I read it.
They took the circlet from my head and I was no longer able to remember the information. It seems the future will unfold as it is written and not to be ‘edited’ by me. Though, I have an idea that there is a way to do it.
I dreamed that dream for years.
Then in January of 2019 I received word of a pension I ‘forgot’ I had. I also saw that my friend and Teacher, a Nepalese Shaman was taking people on pilgramage to Mt Kailash. I immediately knew I was going on that trip.
I was 60 years old. I finally got to Tibet.
I finally saw the butter lamps and heard the chanting and most amazingly I heard the bass tone of the Tibetan Horn the way I remembered it. I had heard it on the film Kundun by Martin Scorsese and recognised it. I had seen one in a shop window on Glastonbury High Street, but when I was in Tibet, so high, the atmosphere, the energy, the knowledge that a whole culture was being quietly and incrementally erased brought that visitation sharply into focus.
I have never dreamed that dream again. It stopped shortly before going to Tibet. The one thing that I brought back with me though, the one thing that made my heart and Soul sing when I found him in the deep dark belly of a shop in Kathmandu… my visitor, with his robes made of shiny turquoise tiles…