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Dalai LamaIt was my delight and privilege to attend a lecture by His Holiness, the Dalai Lama today. I am captivated by his gentleness, humor and the sureness with which he carries out his role in life, a full expression of grace. Grace in the face of danger and opposition. Grace in the face of disbelief. Grace in the face of seeming despair. Grace in meeting the rigours of a full schedule, every move and expression under public scrutiny. Grace in fulfilling a very difficult calling that must surely have many discouraging moments along the way.

His Holiness instructed us, “The process of teaching and learning are the foundation for enlightenment. The quality of the teacher determines the quality of the instruction.” And I was reminded of the lesson of the flowering dogwood, the lesson of Grace in the learning process we call healing body and soul.Flowering Dogwood

The flowering dogwood, the bark of which has been used as a substitute for quinine for periodic fevers, that is , fevers which return such as in malaria, provides us with the confirmation of Spring’s arrival. The pale green bracts that are often assumed to be petals, turn white as the flowers mature. These four bracts remind us of the Four Directions and the four seasons of the year, those elements that speak of the continuing spiral of life. The dogwood teaches us to surrender, to trust the timing and process of healing. This inner soul work of healing includes learning to release our attachments to our suffering so that we can experience liberation and find room for peace and compassion. This is the process of grace.

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