I am a fortunate human. Alongside several of my fellow vajra siblings, I received Vajrayogini empowerment in the fall of 2021. So, during this weekend’s empowerment, I was keenly aware of how much this “vessel” for initiation was different from the one who received that first empowerment. It felt like I was meeting Vajrayogini again (for the 1st time).
Shortly after the 1st empowerment, our 13-year-old granddaughter, Myra, and I were visiting some family out of town and staying in a yurt-like cabin in the woods. Those mornings, I would wake up early to practice the short sadhana and recite the mantra in the dark, sitting in a chair next to the bed where she was still sleeping. A month later, Myra died by suicide and our lives as we knew it ended forever. Vajrayogini’s charnel ground opened up and swallowed me whole.
With this bottomless chasm of grief in my heart, I was somehow comforted knowing that Myra had made a connection with Vajrayogini before her death - in the dark, in the cabin, in the woods. I determinedly and sometimes in blind grief, continued my daily commitment of practicing the sadhana with mantra recitations and, at Khandro-la’s suggestion, began to recite the Vajrayogini 8-Line Praise as often as I could.
A lot could be said about the last 2 years of my grief journey with Vajrayogini and as Vajrayogini. Paradoxes of the grief experience can mirror paradoxes of Dakini practice – drowning in emptiness; creating from nothingness; laughing through brokenness; loving with despair. I discovered how, surprisingly, a shattered heart can hold so much love. All beings and all phenomena in this charnel ground are, after all, manifestations of Vajrayogini.
Thus, I approached this Vajrayogini empowerment with a thoughtful intention – to arrive as an empty “vessel,” empty of all that obstructs, and to receive and water the seeds that lead to awakening.
As the empowerment began, I couldn’t shake this feeling that Myra was here with me, standing behind me, smiling (in a rather dakini-like, mischievous mood which was not unlike her). There was a knowing, some clarity and a sense of complete dissolution that I can’t honestly describe. It felt as if I was melting into awareness, into love, into bodhicitta – into Vajrayogini – meeting her again for the first time.
With this, there arose a sense of urgency - fierce determination, as KL might call it, to wake up, to embody Vajrayogini to beneft all beings! I literally felt this in my body – warmth in my lower belly and a tugging in my heart. Was this alive, limitless, and ungraspable energy a glimpse of the purity of the charnel ground? I don’t know, but what I do know is Vajrayogini’s charnel ground of grief has (and frankly always will) cleared some sort of way for me to see, to give, to receive and to love in a new way. We’ll see where this path now leads.