You say the event changed your life – in what ways?
Before I went to Plum Village I was like a fish out of water, a tree without roots. I had been living in Britain for a long time and I was out of touch with my practice.
I had a basic understanding of its principles: love, compassion, joy and equanimity, but I did not explore deeper to go beyond this. Whist living by its principles helped me to overcome life’s challenges, I was still unhappy and caught in my sorrow, worries and anxieties.
When I was in Plum Village, the tree in me that had been withered for a long time was finally watered. Nourished and inspired by the skills of Mindfulness, I continued to water my own tree with my practice at home. A couple of months later, it bore fruits.
It was the enlightening moment – an epiphany that enabled me to let go of my own suffering. It was the realization that I should stop my struggles against fate, come back to myself and tap into my own sources of love to nourish myself. I let go of all my notions about love which was the source of my happiness, but also the cause of my suffering.
As I explored the practice more deeply, I came to realize that love and compassion were not enough, I needed to develop awareness as well. Like a bird, you can only fly with two wings – wing of awareness and wing of love.
Since then that tree has been growing well – taking root, blossoming and bearing fruits. I have been able to have peace and joy every day whilst mindfully meeting the challenges that come my way.