MALIBU TO MANALI
I was awakened by Bodhi singing in the distance, “All Dharmas are marked with emptiness.” He was chanting snippets of the Heart Sutra. I rolled out of bed even though it was still dark. I slid into my house slippers and threw on my flannel robe. The air was chilly and I felt my way along the short hallway into the alcove where I flicked on a dim lamp. I greeted Bodhi who repeated again and again a mantra, “Gyate gyate, paragyate!”
Three years ago, George had bequeathed this African Grey to me along with his cottage by the sea, which had been his summer home but where he came to live fulltime. The parrot often repeated mantras taught to him and aphorisms from the sacred books of India. Never knew the parrot’s exact age but George indicated that a visiting Sadhu, a wise man and guest teacher who gave him the parrot said he was seventy. George had had him for fifteen and now, I had cared for him for the last three years. That would make him eighty-eight.
I turned from his mantra toward the kitchen to boil water for tea when Bodhi interrupted my reverie. “Arcturus in Manali,” he squawked. I wondered what that could mean. My client, Yoota, and I had been struggling at an impasse in our sessions and maybe this was some kind of hint through my parrot who was becoming more and more evolved. He used to only repeat what he had been taught but lately he was speaking as if from an ability to intuit and comprehend.
I phoned Yoota mid-morning. I told her what Bodhi had said. “Arcturus in Manali.” I asked Yoota what she thought the bird meant.
“Arcturus is her name, I am pretty sure,” said Yoota.
After a brief conversation, I dashed to my laptop to research the name Arcturus as well as Manali. Here’s what I found: Arcturus is the brightest star in the northern celestial hemisphere. It is the brightest star in the Bootes constellation which is approximately thirty-six light years from Earth. Here was another interesting bit: Edgar Cayce in his trance state said that Arcturus is one of the most advanced civilizations in our galaxy.
There was a lot more reading and research ahead. But, I had better tell you about Bodhi, how I came to acquire him, how he would fit into my life’s purpose and about my mentor, George Auckland, but first a little about me. I am a past-life regressionist. I am part Hopi from my mother’s side, and English from my father’s. My father, an anthropologist from upstate New York, spent a good part of his life researching the phenomena of hypnotic trance states induced in members of Native American tribes. Thanks to his interests and studies I absorbed all that he taught me. While growing up, I received subtle wisdom from him through cellular transference. What I mean by that is that I believe his body had absorbed secrets encoded inside the written documents. The information had seeped into his unconscious and from there the knowledge transferred itself to me.
The secret information did not exist in him as conscious knowing, yet, mysteriously the knowledge seeped into and ripened in my psyche. My Hopi grandmother validated this saying, “You absorbed the knowledge from your father’s research. The information seeped into his brain while he was exposed to some of the knowledge he dug up and you received it.”
I knew, for example, to combine specific herbs in an alcohol solution to enhance visions in sweat lodges. The participants could ingest the concentrated formula in a half cup of water, I blurted out one day. Neither my father nor my grandmother taught me that. There were other matters too that I simply knew. And, that knowledge mysteriously came while my father was researching certain Native tribes. No explanation about how or where I received the knowledge. My body-mind absorbed lots of information that ran loose in my father’s various states of consciousness.
On one of his projects he interviewed a young woman of part Hopi ancestry. That’s how he met my mother and eventually married her. Getting close to the inner circle of the Hopi was impossible for outsiders but my father was fortunate. Marrying my mother helped him in this regard. Though typically suspicious of outsiders the Hopi warmed up to him because he was kind and also because he was deeply interested in learning from them with no wish to exploit them in any way.
An outsider would never gain access to the secret ceremonies but he came as close as any foreigner might, due to my mother’s good standing with her people, crediting too his honesty and sincere spirit. My mother was not full-blooded but her ancestry of powerful matriarchs kept her a welcome visitor.
My father wrote about things the Hopi elders shared but some secrets he kept close to his heart because he simply knew they could not be given out to the world at this time. He took that knowledge with him when he died but I believe, in some mysterious way, bits of that knowledge was transferred to me by some unknown cosmic blessing. It did not exist in me as information that could be regurgitated by me, written down and repeated. The knowledge was simply stored inside me and I am guessing would be used by those who could pick it up in some way.
They named me Audrey after my father’s mother and I took his family name Brown. I turned seventy-five in July. I reminisced about mother and father and Grandmother. Glancing at the mirror I did not recognize the old woman that gazed back at me. I plucked a wiry white hair from the side of my chin and whipped up my hair now turned silvery grey into a bun at the back of my head, piercing a wooden stick through it. The thin stick carved with intricate designs was given to me by my mother on my sixteenth birthday so long ago. The Hopi culture and American culture blended well inside my mother, but I was drawn to the Native American in my blood mostly because of my English father’s research and interest.
As for my friend, George, whose last name was Auckland, had come for a number of sessions to my Santa Monica office where I practiced before opening my home office here in Malibu. I saw him professionally for a period of six months and then we became friends getting together often to explore our joint karma. In the relatively short period of time our friendship developed to such a degree I felt I had known him my entire life.
He was a fascinating man with a childlike outlook on life, a bit naïve, with a full head of grey hair despite his advanced age. He had a trim physique and looked as if he were a combination of many ethnicities. Soft-spoken and polite, with a pleasant British accent, his voice message on my phone sounded like a man half his age. “Hello. I am trying to reach Audrey Brown. Please have her return my call.”
As I got to know him, I felt an inexplicable closeness to him as if he were a paternal figure, like a grandfather. Perhaps more accurate to say that he was a guardian angel who arrived to my office not for his own interests but rather to guide me. Unburdened by mundane affairs he always spoke simply, directly and clearly with twinkly eyes.
George sought my services when he didn’t need it. He already had knowledge of his own past lives. He had not come with problems like most clients of mine who sought answers to peculiar habits or who needed explanations for unusual experiences.
“I am needing to help Bodhi clarify a lifetime that involves you,” he had said cryptically. I laughed at the idea that I would have a past life karma with a bird. But, George appeared quite serious.
“We will soon figure it out,” he stated confidently. “I feel I can be of service to you and to those with whom you have not yet made contact.”
I was puzzled and intrigued, but personal experience taught me to trust the feeling of ‘not knowing.’ Besides, his warm smile was genuine and reassuring.
George told me in his first interview that he had numerous past lives in Tibet and recounted harrowing tales of initiation rites in caves where in extremely cold weather he was made to dry wet sheets wrapped around his body. All of this was done, he said, in a prescribed period of time.
“Oh yes,” he exclaimed, “we were required to dry the wet sheets three timesby raising our body temperature!”
He entertained me with fascinating stories of bizarre rituals conducted by the Tibetans and I was in complete awe. “They even bore a hole in my Third Eye to open that psychic center,” he shared, pointing to the area at the midpoint between his eyebrows and I cringed with sympathetic pain. “Enough information about all of that,” he said laughing, “because the most pressing thing is not about my life as the Tibetan but rather the lifetime in question that is about you and Bodhi.”
“You see,” he bent forward in his chair with a mysterious glint in his eyes, “in my life as a Tibetan, I served a High Lama who asked me to look after him in future lives.”
I looked uncomprehendingly to George. “The High Lama said he would incarnate in many forms but always with elevated consciousness. In this current incarnation, the Lama appears and disappears.
I must have looked perplexed because George shifted in his chair as he and Bodhi both gazed at me. “Bodhi and I are linked. You might say I am his alter-ego.” Bodhi, in confirmation, lifted his leg.
I had no idea what George was talking about. I’m afraid he wasn’t making sense. I waited quietly to hear more but no further explanation came. We relaxed in our chairs as we entered another regression.