Auspicious Signs

"Orchids are Superb and Mushrooms flourish."

Pay attention to your dreams, literally.  They might mean something important or be an auspicious sign.  Prior to the Buddha’s conception his mother dreamt of a white elephant with six tusks entering her side.  She awoke feeling bliss.  This was an auspicious sign portending the future birth of the Buddha.


Jisho, my partner, recently gave birth to our second child, whom we named Pema, meaning, “Lotus.”  A week prior to her going into labor I had two dreams, one following the other, on separate occasions.  The first was of an image of Jisho having a quick delivery:  one push and out the baby came, with little effort.  The second dream was that she went into labor.


It’s interesting that the second dream didn’t come first.  Usually, one goes into labor first.  But as I write this, I’m coming to understand that these two dreams offered valuable information of things to come, and, perhaps, an auspicious sign for me and my family.  Let me explain.


In the so called non-dream world of the here and now Jisho went into labor on Friday, March 29th.  She was 9cm dilated and the nurse said, “This is going to be a quick birth.  Three pushes and out she comes.”  I thought of my dream, and everything seemed to be in alignment with it, in the real world.  Would this indeed be a quick birth, like I saw in the dream? 


However, as Jisho’s contractions and pushes continued it became apparent after several hours that this would not be so easy.  The baby’s heart rate began to drop significantly after each contraction.  The midwife and doctor decided to slow down the contractions and re-evaluate the situation.  After another hour it became apparent that a C-section was the only way to proceed.  Later that evening Pema was born and Jisho remained another two hours in surgery.


Any way that I look at it, for me, the two dreams of the birth of our second child were auspicious signs from the universe of things to come. 


How do I make sense of this?  The first dream seemed to suggest the exact opposite of what would happen. 


Dreams are interesting.  I learned from Haitian culture through Jisho that sometimes our dreams communicate the exact opposite of what will happen.  Dreams, of course, can mean many things, and it’s up to us to make sense out of them.  That’s what we humans do.  We are meaning-making creatures. 


When I put the two dreams together, though, they make more sense.  The delivery came first.  The labor came second.  The baby was ready to come, and she came.  Now, as of this writing, Jisho is in the recovery stage due to the C-section, a kind of ongoing labor.


The Chinese Characters above read, “orchids are superb and reishi mushrooms flourish.”  It has the sense of auspiciousness.  In life, if we pay attention closely, we get signs that help us to be aware and to witnesses the wonder that is right before us.  Attention is mindfulness of the present moment.  This is Zen practice. 


Sometimes signs come in the form of dreams.  Sometimes they come in the form of synchronicities.  However they come, if we are open and paying attention to our life, like the Buddha’s mother and her dream of the baby Buddha, all of us are recipients of signs.  These signs remind us to be grateful.  We are not alone in the universe.  There are powers far greater than we can imagine, beyond our sense perception, that are constantly at work. 


In Zen teachings we use the phrase, “mind only” to indicate the sentience strewn through all things.  The universe is pervaded with feeling.  Everything feels, even inanimate objects.  Everything has eyes.  We are all being lovingly watched.  Even now.  Pay attention to the auspicious signs in your own life.  Let them guide you to gratitude.

The words Zen Fields and a signature stamp next to a spare ink pen outline of a meditator in a field


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