Heaven is Right Here, Right Now

Meditation & Health No 3 - Table of Contents

Heaven is Right Here, Right Now

By Melia McClure

An Unexpected Blessing

Lan Ma has always been a dynamic person, a bubbly leader who devotes herself to helping others. Since being introduced to Bodhi Meditation in 2010, her myriad talents and natural proclivity for serving are manifesting in ever more dazzling ways.

            “This is a pure blessing,” said Lan, of her association with Bodhi. “All the dreams I didn’t know I had just came to me.”

            Originally from Beijing, Lan now resides in New Jersey with her two children. In addition to being a devoted mother, she exercises her keen professional skills and interpersonal gifts through her career with IBM. 

            In October of 2010, Lan’s longtime friend Linda Wu introduced her to Bodhi’s Meditation of Greater Illumination on DVD, and Lan was immediately drawn to it. She wasn’t motivated to practice by a particular health issue, but simply felt open to trying something new, and trusted the guidance of Linda, who often spoke of the benefits she had reaped from Bodhi Meditation. Lan kept a detailed journal of her experiences during the first several weeks of daily practice that now serves as an amazing testament to the profound journey that rapidly enfolded her.

            “The first time I practiced [The Meditation of Greater Illumination] I saw beautiful purple light when I closed my eyes,” Lan wrote. “When I was practicing the Wheel Mudra, I remembered my dear grandma. I saw a clear image of a woman’s head surrounded by spokes of white light. She was reaching out to me, trying to embrace me. I was overwhelmed by a feeling of warm acceptance and cried out loud. I felt as if I was talking to her. I cried like a baby. I felt great love.”

            Lan’s grandmother was a central figure in her life. 

            “Grandma raised me while my parents were busy with their work, gave me all the love I needed and cultivated me to become a kind-hearted person,” Lan recalled. “Grandma was a saint in my eyes, always helping the family, the neighbors and the community. She took care of everybody before herself, and never complained about anything. I miss her and love her.”

Bonding with Master Julie

Grandma’s surprise appearance during Greater Illumination was a wondrous gift that proved to be the start of further awe-inspiring occurrences. Two weeks into her practice, Lan attended a Bodhi Meditation “Health and Blessing Event” held in New York City. She participated in the group practice led by Master Julie, Bodhi’s preeminent meditation master for the New York area. The two women had met previously and shared an instant bond. Master Julie had recently brought her wisdom and leadership to the eastern United States after having devoted herself to working directly with Grandmaster JinBodhi since 1993. As Master Julie facilitated the group healing session, Lan once again saw vivid purple light dancing before her.

“Somehow [the light] looked really happy and excited. I’m in love with the purple light, which carries a positive, loving energy.”

After the event, Master Julie told Lan that she had been thinking about her ever since their first meeting a couple of weeks earlier. Lan, touched by her teacher’s care, promised to call, and drove home feeling relaxed and lighthearted, untroubled by traffic for the first time in memory.

Lan and Master Julie spoke the following day, the former sharing the profundity of her grandmother’s unexpected visitation. 

“Julie told me she felt she already knew me. I shared with her that Buddha’s idea that ‘Heaven is right here, right now,’ really resonated with me. I’ve always felt that a person doesn’t have to wait to die to go to Heaven, that if one can live in God’s light, then one is in Heaven on Earth. A suffering soul, even if he or she lives in a palace, is confined in Hell.”

Lan’s strong bond with Master Julie encouraged her to continue along the Bodhi path.

“I felt very much encouraged and felt camaraderie with a person who shares the same goals and values,” Lan enthused. “Receiving validation from someone who also lives to devote her life to better the world was very heartening. Not everyone shares my belief in altruism and my pursuit of spiritual growth.”

Transformed by Effortless Fasting

The day after her conversation with Master Julie, Lan went to the gym for her regular Pilates class. 

“When I came home I felt hungry but strangely, didn’t feel like eating. I usually nibble all the time between 10am and 8pm, a bad habit made possible by working from home. I’m a comfort eater. I have a busy, demanding life and not a lot of ways to comfort myself, so food has been what I turn to for emotional sustenance. Typically, I’m always hungry and crave for all kinds of snacks, especially after exercising. That night, when I didn’t feel like eating, I thought maybe something was wrong with me.”

Little did she know, Lan had embarked on a journey of spontaneous fasting, prompted by her newfound practice of Bodhi Meditation. Her previous experience with fasting was limited to a deliberate fast she had undertaken in 2008.

“I tried the Master Cleanse and lost fifteen pounds, which I gained back. During that eight-and-a-half day fast, I felt weak and wobbly and had to use willpower to stop myself from eating.”

Her experience with Bodhi-induced spontaneous fasting was radically different. On the first night, not yet aware of what was happening, she forced down a bowl of diluted congee and a couple of pieces of pineapple. Despite a well-stocked refrigerator and the physical demands of Pilates and several activities with her children, she had no urge to eat. An occasional hunger pang or craving would surface, but she had no real desire to sate them, and Master Julie informed her that they were only due to longtime habit. The following morning she again had no desire for food, and even her favorite dish of stewed pork, which she prepared for her son and daughter, didn’t tempt her appetite. She forced herself to eat an apple, but she felt as though the fruit was stuck in her chest. The feeling was terrible, so Lan decided to continue fasting.  Her energy level remained high, and her mood peaceful.

For fourteen years, Lan had been a dedicated consumer of health supplements, a self-confessed vitamin junkie. However, that changed abruptly on her second night of fasting when she swallowed her usual coterie of pills. 

“I took fish oil, a multivitamin plus extra D, calcium and enzymes for years. This time they didn’t seem to go down properly, and gave me a terrible choking feeling. I had always believed that the supplements ensured me good health and sound sleep, but after the unexpected, awful sensation they gave me, I knew I needed to find out what would happen if I stopped taking them.”

Lan continued to keep up with her regular activities, including her fitness routine, and ate only tiny amounts of food on a sporadic basis. In fact, she felt even stronger than usual during exercise class. She lost four pounds early in her fast, and then her weight stabilized. Despite the fact that Lan had given up the calcium supplements that she had always depended on for restful slumber, she was sleeping like a contented baby. Her mood remained positive, and she was imbued with the feeling that she was “interacting with lots of spirit or energy” each time she practiced Greater Illumination. The purple light that had appeared when Lan commenced her practice continued to visit her, at times moving like liquid silk, and at other times being replaced by blue, green or white light. Whatever the hue, her inner vision was consistently illuminated by an overwhelming outpouring of incandescence. And, during the meditation, when she was instructed to receive white light into her hands, she felt her palms grow warm. Indeed, toward the end of the twelve days that Lan spent in a state of spontaneous fasting, she experienced an overall warming during her meditation sessions, to the extent of sweat forming on her face and back despite the cool temperature of the room. Patches of warmth were generated on her back and legs. Lan became cognizant of being infused with great energy.

After nearly two weeks of spontaneous fasting, Lan felt pangs of hunger one night after a busy day without food. She began to eat again with ease, not experiencing the uncomfortable, choking sensation that food had caused when she had begun fasting. The spontaneous fast ended as smoothly and naturally as it had started. 

A Healthy Glow

Lan has continued to be a devoted practitioner of The Meditation of Greater Illumination, experiencing several significant and lasting benefits.

“It’s still amazing to me that I suddenly stopped taking my vitamin supplements after fourteen years of depending on them. I feel wonderful, and I don’t need them anymore. The supplements had helped me to deal with severe PMS symptoms, but now I don’t experience the back pain and other problems that had always caused monthly difficulties for me. I’ve also noticed that I no longer experience major blood clotting during my periods. Large blood clots had always been there, but now they’re completely gone. Not only that, but I’ve also become free of constipation. It had been an issue for me for much of my life, and I had been taking senna [an herb used to treat constipation] to treat it, but now I’ve stopped that, too. I’ve become regular. Another great benefit is the improvement in my complexion. My skin tone used to be really dark, and I had multiple sunspots on my face. It’s incredible how much lighter my skin has become, and all of the sunspots have disappeared. People are constantly asking me what I’ve done to look so much better, and when I tell them it’s Bodhi Meditation, they want to sign up! And another thing I’ve noticed is how much calmer I am while driving. I don’t like to drive in busy areas, and before, whenever I had to go to Manhattan, a dark cloud would come over me. Now, I don’t have any anxiety about driving, even when my kids are in the car, which is great.”

Reaching Out with Helping Hands

Lan has spent her life as a selfless helper and inspiration to others, and she is grateful that her involvement in Bodhi Meditation provides her with the opportunity to reach many.

“I’ve experienced a lot of difficulty in my life, but I always see the silver lining in everything. The challenges I’ve experienced have made me dedicated to walking a compassionate path. I always have both hands extended, helping people. Prior to being introduced to Bodhi, I read several books on the healthcare system and decided that one day I would do a public health degree, so that I could bring greater wellness to people. But now that Bodhi has come into my life, I know that this is the way that I will help people instead.”

In December of 2010, Lan began to host group meditation practice at her home. Her good friend was suffering a hemorrhagic eye condition, and was desperate for help. After practicing Bodhi Meditation, the woman’s illness stabilized, and the blood spot in her eye failed to worsen, despite medical predictions to the contrary. Another student at Lan’s group practice, her piano tuner, no longer needs to wear glasses. And yet another friend that Lan introduced to Bodhi, one of the many who had noticed the improvement in Lan’s complexion, was thrilled that a longstanding spine alignment issue and severe allergies were healed after she started meditating. 

Although Lan considers herself a spiritual person, she believes that addressing people’s physical reality first and foremost is more practical than approaching others from a metaphysical stance.

“We are in a physical form, which is the house of the spirit. I always start with the physical. When people are in physical pain, they can’t connect to an idea of ‘purity’ or other spiritual concepts. Like Buddha, Grandmaster JinBodhi says that his goal is to have everyone living in Heaven, right here, right now. And that starts with good health. What I do is a tiny part of a bigger plan. I enjoy being an instrument and when I do something, I devote 100% of myself to it. It’s a matter of what God wants, Buddha, the Universe.”

To further spread the Bodhi word, Lan created a bi-weekly meditation newsletter in February of 2011, called Meditation Inspiration, which is widely distributed and available on the New York chapter’s website (www.bodhimeditationsociety.org).

“The newsletter is another way of supporting people, and of documenting our progress and the great benefits that people are experiencing.”

In December of 2011, she again experienced the phenomenon of spontaneous fasting. Lan drank water but ate nothing and lost fourteen pounds. While fasting, she worked full-time, took a challenging professional examination, and was also kept busy by her children’s piano competition and daughter’s ballet rehearsals. Despite the frantic pace, she never felt fatigued or deprived.  

Not surprisingly, Lan plans to become a Bodhi Meditation instructor, and has coordinated a Retreat and workshops in New Jersey, in addition to attending a Second Level Retreat in Vancouver. She has created the “Vitality Workshop,” an eight-week program that has proved so popular it will be held regularly, and the “Meditate Toward Joyful Pregnancy Workshop,” which is held year-round at an alternative health facility – the first wellness class to be hosted there. Another brainchild of hers is the “Virtual Bodhi Meditation Room,” a virtual community space where practitioners can get the resources and support to keep up a sustained practice. Participants from New York and New Jersey have been joined by people from Texas and Ohio and all have reported benefits.       

Bodhi Meditation is indeed fortunate to have a dedicated guiding light like Lan Ma furthering its mission of love. As she said with a smile, “Bodhi is one of the most wonderful, fulfilling things in my life.”


Meditation & Health No 3 - Table of Contents