The statue of Kwan Yin has been stalking me since it arrived on the property at the nonprofit where I dedicate my love and energy. I had never heard of Kwan Yin before the stature arrived. I eventually asked the board president why this symbol was so important and at the bottom of the two-page document that he sent me, it stated the following: “Kwan Yin’s name means the one who hears all sounds of suffering in the world. Kwan Yin is a deity of mercy and compassion and blesses all travelers and pilgrims on the Path.”
Upon further investigation, I found that our new statue Kwan Yin has many names and has shown up in several Asian cultures since the first century. The name Kwan Yin is also spelled Guan Yim, Kuan Yim, or Kuan Yin, is a short form for Kuan-shi Yin, meaning “Observing the Sounds (or Cries) of the (human) World.” She is the Buddhist bodhisattva associated with compassion. A Bodhisattva is a being that has reached enlightenment but decided to hang around and assist the rest of us along the journey, or as my friend, Michael so eloquently wrote, “pilgrims on the Path.”
When I asked Michael why this particular statue was important to have on the property he stated that Kwan Yin honors and celebrates the Feminine Principle alive in each of us—regardless of gender. A Bodhisattva has the magical power to transform the body in any form required to relieve suffering. We also have access to both our feminine and masculine sides and it behooves us to nurture and care for these aspects of ourselves. These aspects of myself.
I have always deeply reinforced my manhood. In some ways, I feel more like a man than a human. I am a man first if that makes any sense. I always defined myself as an alpha male with a sometimes sensitive side. I never really thought about the idea that both feminine and masculine energies flow through me. They are me. I am a man. I am a woman. Spirit is the unifier.
I never considered how important it would be to not only embrace the feminine energies inside me but also celebrate them. In some ways, this is also the dance of what I spoke about in another piece on chaos and order. Intellect and emotion. Protection and destruction. All these aspects of myself living inside of me. Yet, having something live inside you is different than intentionally cultivating and nurturing that same aspect. Just wanting to know something is much different than wanting to feel something. I have spent the majority of my life pursuing knowing—neglecting to feel.
Now I understand why Kwan Yin has been pursuing me—she was slowly and tenderly calling to something inside of me that has been asleep, or maybe half awake. I am thankful for her guidance and for the gentle whispers of encouragement that have fallen from her presence and embodiment. I have the feeling that I just discovered a part of myself that I always knew was there but didn’t have the capacity to bring forth. What other treasures have yet to be discovered?