Last weekend (7-8 december 2019) I witnessed the sacred and secret ritual of initiation into zen buddhist priesthood where, on the second day of this impressive rite of passage, none other than my brave father stepped into the role of Sensei.

Outer initiations are performed after completing a training, often witnessed by others to celebrate and acknowledge a shedding of skin and putting on a new suit. Anthropologists have been studying this part of the human condition for years. After receiving a diploma or certificate from a teacher, it may feel empty or you may feel like needing to fill it with further Outer opinion, because the Inner initiation has not yet been granted. The student continues up the path paved by the desire for inner recognition, battling untruths on the Way. A beautiful path indeed.

Then there are Inner initiations, not witnessed, not celebrated, not acknowledged by outside spectators. This initiation is between you and You. When an inner initiation occurs, oftentimes, it feels so light, so natural, so much a part of you. You celebrate it differently. It is a celebration of what Is, the wonder and marvel of You.

When an Inner initiation has occurred, the Outer ritual between teacher and student is a splendidly humble event where the student gracefully receives what he knows is His. I think this is why the ritual I was granted to witness between my father and his Teacher, since the very beginning starting with Shakyamuni Buddha, was between Student and Teacher only. There is no need for further witnesses.

The deeper seated the Inner initiation, the less words, actions, movements, resources and declarations are necessary to reinstate someone. My father realized his Inner initiation at the moment his teacher suggested he was ready to become Sensei. He cried tears of gratitude when realizing the Truth in his teacher’s words. A year of preparation went into the ritual. The Inner initiation was granted time to sink, settle, embody. When the time was there to perform the physical ritual, he went through the movements lightly, though with deep reverence, presence and gratitude.

The Outer ritual serves as an instatement of embodiment; Truth has descended in the Body. Now he can help others let Truth descend and guide them on their paths. Have you ever experienced receiving an Inner initiation? We come to this world as initiates. It is your secret, your Gift and Expertise. You know this art better than anyone, it brims in every cell of your bones.

Since it is almost xmas, ask yourself what it is that feels so natural to you, that you have so much of, that you are gifting others all the time, usually without being aware of it.  Give it to yourself this year.

Lisanne Claessens

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