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Buddhadharma : Summer 2018
BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY 57 I HAVE NEVER FELT ALONE. I have always felt touched by an unseen world; the world of ghosts, spirits, demons, and angels has dwelled at times as close as a hand’s length, at others as far as a galaxy away. I understood as a child that these two worlds maintain a precious balance, that they are continually rubbing up against one another. I knew people with psychic ability who could see and talk to spirits. It was a gift I yearned to have. I grew up in the Black church in the South. My upbringing was rich in mythologies passed down from our African and slave ancestors. Though we rarely talked about them, we intui- tively knew we were inhabiting a world with many different reflections. Even in the context of a colonizing Christianity that my ancestors were forced to buy into, significant portions of our African mythologies trickled down into our churches. When we spoke of the “spirit moving” it felt like we were experiencing a kind of possession. The way people moved, shouted, jostled, eyes rolling back into their heads, speaking in tongues was communion with and expression of the unseen world, a connection with nonmaterial beings. It was also a method for releasing the energy of trauma accumulated through the impact of systematic oppression. Through these experiences, I learned at an early age not only that there are unseen forces around us but also that we can enter into dialogue with them. So much of my yearning as a child was to find strategies for communicating with this world and with Introduction Lama Rod Owens Forum: Unseen Realized Beings opposite | Green Tara Descending, 2007 PAINTINGS BY MARY DEVINCENTIS