Monday, February 3, 2014

Goddesses in the Dust: 11:11 - Avalokitesvara and a Spiritual Window of Time

An archaeologist unearths the divine feminine, one archetype at a time...

It all started innocuously enough. I would get into my car and see the clock read out:

Looking away from a TV show for a moment and glancing at the cable box:

Reheating soup in the microwave:

Picking up my phone to make a call: (yes, my precious, 16 1/2 year old Airedale is the wallpaper on my iPhone)

After a week, maybe 10 days, I began to take notice (yes, I can be a bit of a blockhead at times.) Why was it, every time I looked up to check the time, it was inevitably 11:11? Sometimes this would happen twice in one day. It caught me so by surprise that one day I decided to Google it - what did it mean -  if anything - that one would see 11:11 all the time, every where? And was this happening to anyone else?

The answer was surprising. Yes, it was happening to other folks. And the single answer boiled down to: the spirit world was trying to break through - Pay Attention!!!! It was just as if the Universe was reaching out to me, like a child tugging on my coattails, and demanding me to open up my perception. For weeks, maybe months, I had found myself in a bit of a slump. I had begun to send out queries about my book and had heard nothing back. It seemed as though no one was listening or paying attention to my work. So when the elevens started to happen, I took notice. Was there a bigger lesson I needed to be learning here? I was so invested in getting others to pay attention to my work, but I was neglecting my own writing. What were my reasons in wanting to have an agent? To find an publisher, of course. And what were my goals in getting published? To have my work read by others, naturally. But was it also about acceptance? Ego stroking? Maybe even fame?

Nothing wrong with any of that, but on some level I realized the heaviness I was feeling was that I was focusing too much on becoming accepted by others and not so much becoming accepted by myself. 

That's where Avalokitesvara comes in. As the Buddhist goddess of compassion, she is ofter referred to as the Goddess of Eleven Faces. 

The eleven faces have many interpretations. One story is that the goddess was so moved by the suffering of humanity that her head split into ten more in order to minister to them all. Another states that the eleven heads refer to the eleven stages of enlightenment, yet another says eleven refers to all the directions of space and that the goddess needed another ten heads to reach all planes of existence.

Seeing 11:11 everywhere has reminded me that we need to enjoy the creative process, enjoy the play, to be who we are, as there isn't anyone else like us on earth. To not be afraid to bring forth our gifts, as the world is in need of them. To work on our craft and relish in the play of creating. To send out our jewels into the world without expectation, but with clear intent. The results are not in our hands, but the Universe's. Elizabeth Gilbert says:

Your job is only to write your heart out, and let destiny take care of the rest.

Meditating on the goddess of compassion is not only to deepen our compassion for the world 'out there', but - because each of us creates our own world - we most of all need to invite the compassion of Avalokitsevara for ourselves. 

22 comments:

  1. That is strange to always see the same time. It has never happened to me. I hope your search for an agent will reach fruition soon.

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  2. Oh! 11:11 holds no significance for me, but obviously it does for you. (No significance other than 11:11:11 is when World War One ended.) Sigh!

    I have no additional thoughts I can share, but I observe that a goddess of compassion is good news. Like saying thanks to St. Jude for benefits received. I like the note about no expectation, but clear intent. And waiting for the universe.

    Another grey, cold day in the land of the Bear. Winter will end at some point. Bear may cheer up at some point.

    Blessings and Bear hugs!

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  3. there's a real freedom in not asking for anything in return, isn't there? and a real prison in making demands upon the world. (speaking from personal experience.) but sometimes we need those little nudges to help us to get to the better breathing place.

    i like how you point to the play of being. it's not always as easy as the word play sounds but when we can manage - joy:)

    (ignore my question about the book. i see:) and we'll all see further in time.)

    xo
    erin

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    1. Yes, there is a freedom in giving up certain expectations. "And a real prison in making demands on the world"......wow - true that. I guess part of human experience is about exploring those edges in between.

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  4. It's interesting that looking at time took you out of self and to Avalokitsevara. One way or another our spirit finds ways to help us wake up if we want to.
    All of us want our bit of fame, but at what price?

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    1. I like that observation - looking at time took me out of self and to Avalokitsevara. For some reason I hadn't quite thought of it that way - wonderful how a tiny shift in perception brings one even deeper. Thank you Rubye.

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  5. I believe this wholeheartedly, that we each must bring our expression to the world. We must do it to keep understanding the connection with our own Presence. And we must do it so others understand theirs through ours. So cool that you got this call.

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    1. Beautifully said, Ruth. As to be expected from a poet - I treasure this observation.

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  6. Compassion - something the world could do with so much more of. Good reminder that it begins with each one of us.
    Liz

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  7. This used to happen to me at 3:33. I wonder what that means...

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    1. Whether it's 11:11 or another repetition of numbers, I'd pay attention to what I'm thinking when it happens...

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  8. Wonderful post..and so lovely you were able to recieve and connect with these special messages within and also the connection you found in the Goddess of 11 faces..she is quite a powerful one..enjoy!
    Your book will happen when divine...simply create and keep writing it..without expectation..and it will all fall into place.
    Victoria

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    1. Thank you Victoria - I am doing just that - enjoying and leaving the rest up to the Universe. As T.S. Eliot says,

      "There is only the trying. The rest is not our business."

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  9. Amanda, this post was so profound. You are amazing. Keep me posted if you see any more elevens. Just a note here, I know exactly what you speak of with the writing thing. It was all encompassing for me. Spent 3 years eating, breathing etc. my novel. Had two different literary agents. One for fiction and one for non-fiction. After everything, I realized I couldn't continue down that path. I read about Virginia Woolf lying across her divan, her arm draped over her face. She said, "I'll never write again." That was how I felt. Just too intense for me. Plus, there were too many other things I wanted to do. On another note, I had a female tell me in a dream to follow the crystalline or crystal line. I still haven't figured out what that is.; Life's experiences and mysteries are a trip. Great post.

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    1. Donna, I continue to experience the 11:11 phenom and smile inwardly when it happens. Thank you for these thoughts - they are profoundly meaningful to me. I do ask myself what I want as I continue on this road. I'd love to know more about your struggle and why you decided to not continue down that path, as you said.

      About your dream - I wonder if it might have to do with ley lines — have you heard of them?

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  10. Whether one believes in the spiritual realm or not, this is fine advice indeed.

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  11. Hello there Amanda! I have not been by for some time (life!) and it' so interesting to me that after all this time THIS is the post I read. Wow. I say wow because I too have been busy trying to put my work out there. It has been a joy and a pain at the same time. A joy because I am still painting. A pain because I miss the days of painting without expectations...the simpler way of being. I was actually just moments ago looking back at my very first blog posts and comments and that is what led me here again. I am trying to piece together a slideshow for a group of people telling them my artistic story. Obviously telling that story forces one to look back to be able to piece together the parts of the tale I want to share with them. And when I did look back I had a twinge of longing for the person I was in 2011 when I started my blog (there's that 11 again).

    I loved your post. And the post about letting go of your mother's clothing moved me.

    Blessings Amanda and I hope you do find an agent. You are clearly gifted at expressing yourself in written word.

    Kiss that sweet doggy of yours too! My what a face. :)

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    1. Thank you Lisa for your kind words. I am curious what happened to your days of painting without expectations?

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  12. I love it when messages are trying to come thru and finally they get thru our block heads - listen to your spirit reaching out to you.
    and you will find an agent - a deal - a publisher or whatever you need. You will

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    1. Sweet thanks dear Mim - your words warm me and bring a smile :)) xoxo

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  13. I don't believe it's ego-stroking that you desire, Sis. I believe your heart is poised toward making a genuine connection. There is a desire for acceptance of the message we carry--and there is a purity in that. I honestly believe ego doesn't play into it for you. I know the ancient wisdom is that ego plagues us all but I also believe that our focus enlarges something and I don't think you've spent your attention on a desire for fame just for fame's sake. Just thought I'd put that out there.

    xx

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    1. Btw, I have been noticing 4:44 quite a bit after reading this post ...

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