I first met Yuan Miao in the summer of 2004 at the Open Secret Bookstore in Marin County. I am a psychotherapist in Sonoma County and a serious event had just occurred in my practice. I drove to San Rafael to meet with my consultant about this matter and afterwards went to Open Secret to meditate. That is when the first of many "coincidences" related to Miao occurred for me. There was a large poster announcing that a spiritual teacher named Yuan Miao would be making a presentation there that evening. Still struggling with my feelings of desperation, I made a spontaneous decision to stay and attend her presentation. As always with Miao, it was magical and transformative, and the first time I experienced her mantric singing.
I believe I put my name on an e-mail list, and at some point an announcement came that a group called the Blue Pearl would be forming to learn and practice the spiritual teachings of Yuan Miao. I was thrilled, because ever since that evening in San Rafael I had been longing for a way to be in more contact with her. I attended all of the initial meetings when Miao was present, and sporadically when she wasn't. I began to internalize some of her basic teachings and to feel a special devotion to Guanyin.
I had no idea then of the huge life challenge looming on the horizon for me. In January of 2007, I was diagnosed with a Grade 3, Stage 3 Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. I was told that unless I could achieve a Complete Remission, the prognosis was not good for me. I found out at that time that Miao had decided to stay in Mill Valley for the winter and spring, and that she would be present for a long series of Blue Pearl meetings. Though she had intended to go to Big Bear to write her book, she had some esoteric experiences that influenced her to decide to stay in Mill Valley. The beautiful "coincidence" for me was that she would be near me throughout the course of my treatment. An even more profound "coincidence" was that my first chemotherapy appointment was scheduled for my birthday, February 22nd. I truly saw the whole process as a rebirth for me. Miao's first meeting of her Vajra Wisdom Cycle was scheduled for the following Wednesday, February 28th.
At the time, Miao spoke often of cultivating a reflexive reaction to life events of "That’s good!!" even if they appeared to be bad or sad or frightening. The idea is that we have no idea of the potential good which may be an inherent part of any life experience. She also talked often about trust and courage. I decided to blend these concepts and set about my cancer journey with a trust that somehow "it's good!!" and that I have the courage to find spiritual growth through this experience.
Miao relayed an amazing fact that the ancient Chinese characters for heart and death when put together form the characters which mean busy! Busy was the definition for me at the time. I was seeing 25 to 30 clients a week, raising a 15 year old son, caring for my blind 92 year old father, running to my gym when possible, etc. etc. Miao talked about, and models with her own life, the concept of letting go. I began to understand that if I were to heal, I would have to embark on a serious course of letting go. I began by taking an immediate, indefinite leave of absence from my psychotherapy practice of 22 years. As each event which required letting go happened during the course of treatment, I clung to the concept of "That's good." I began to see it all as letting go of old constricting forms and worn out identities.
As my busy-ness came to a roaring halt, I had time to deepen my spiritual practice. I developed a daily routine of doing 20 minutes of Chi Gong followed by Miao's DVD. I did the mudras and actually chanted the mantras aloud, trying to align the vibration of my voice as exactly to hers as possible. I then did the Yoga of Joy with the DVD. Often I would follow this with an hour walk in the Sonoma County countryside, drinking in nature. The irony was that although I had cancer and was undergoing a challenging course of chemotherapy, I was increasingly filled with a sense of pure joy!! I began spontaneously chanting the Blue Pearl and Guan Shi Yin Pu Sa songs.
I had twelve infusions of chemotherapy at Stanford Medical Center between February and July. During every infusion I listened to Miao's CD entitled "Love". As I listened, I formed the mudras she was teaching us with my hands. All of my treatment team was amazed at how well I weathered my treatments. I never developed any kind of infection (which is a huge danger when you are immune compromised from treatment), I developed no neuropathy, I had no heart damage (which can be a result of one of my Chemo drugs) and other than low white and red blood counts, my blood labs remained amazingly normal.
I was able to attend all the bi-monthly Blue Pearl Groups with Miao. She did a special "Healing Ceremony" mid-way through my treatments. I’d had Chemotherapy the day of the ceremony, but I was determined not to miss it. I traveled directly from Stanford to Mill Valley for the ceremony, and when I returned to my home in Sebastopol that night I vomited extensively for the first time during treatment. My husband says he believes the cancer left my body that night. A PET Scan the following week showed no hyper-metabolic activity in my lymph nodes - that means no fast growing cells - i.e.: no detectable cancer cells.
During the course of my treatment, as I connected more and more deeply with Miao, I wrote a series of e-mails to my community of friends about my journey. I was very open, and talked a great deal about my spiritual searching and discovery. There was the most incredible outpouring of love, support and help of all kinds from many, many people. One of my neighbors organized a "food tree", and from February through July someone brought us an organic, home cooked meal EVERY OTHER NIGHT without fail. Someone gave me a ride to every appointment at Stanford. I never had to ask, the rides were just offered. People gave my son rides to and from school. Friends came to my home and walked, laughed and visited with me unsolicited.
My experience was that as my heart opened more and more completely through my connection to Miao and Guanyin, the hearts of those around me opened in direct response. Perhaps my more open heart allowed me to see their hearts in this way. People told me that my willingness to receive gave them the space to open their hearts and give. I believe that it is this ever-intensifying and expanding circle of love which has been healing not only for me, but also for many close to me. I think this love is a manifestation of the vibration Miao talks about.
In June Miao left for a trip to Tibet and China. My first reaction was to be very sad, but then I immediately remembered, "That's good!" Miao had emphasized that she would hold us in her central channel and that when hearts are joined there, geographical distance does not matter. I continued my ritual with her DVD, adding some of the breathing exercises taught by Wei Da, and I meditated on opening my central channel and joining my heart to Miao and Guanyin.
I became more exhausted toward the end of my treatments and there was one Blue Pearl meeting I knew I would have to miss. I was so held in the love and compassion of the group, that they did a healing ceremony for me in my absence.
On September 19, 2007, exactly nine months to the day from the onset of the first illness that alerted me to the Lymphoma, I received the news from my doctor that I am in Complete Remission. I truly feel blessed that I have experienced a rebirth. I believe the cancer was a physical manifestation of a profound spiritual longing that I needed to respond to and heal. I believe Miao and the energy of the Blue Pearl Group and their healing practices have supported me to embark on a course of healing and transformation. I hope with this new lease on life I can find a way to live up to the grace I have been helped to receive, and that I can extend the love and compassion of Guanyin.
Susan (Loving Tara)
© 2012 Susan Sattler