SAT CHIT ANAND
- AUGUST 2011 ARTICLE -
HEART SHRINE RELICS
All your desires will be fulfilled in him
Who is one without a second.
Know him to be enshrined within your heart always.
Truly there is nothing more to know in life.
Meditate and realize the world is filled
With the presence of God.
In August last year, my friend Susan and I were walking in the forest complaining that the Buddhas had forgotten about us … that they had forgotten our existence …
We are in foreign land that is very unconnected to the Buddha-Dharma. We are the pioneers trying to bring the Dharma here, and it is very hard to be a pioneer. You sometimes get very despondent and discouraged. The bodhisattvas must have heard our conversation, because shortly thereafter I was asked if I would like to host the Relics Tour at our Centre.
I declined because there is no proper Sangha here and it was too much work for one person to take on. Then they asked me if the Relics team could stay at our Centre for a few days rest during the middle of their busy Southern Africa schedule, and I said, with pleasure, and perhaps they could do a talk and mini-exhibition while they are here …
HEART SHRINE RELICS TOUR
The purpose of the Heart Shrine Relic Tour is to inspire people of all spiritual traditions to experience the blessings of the relics. It is an inter-faith celebration that focuses on our shared human qualities: love, compassion and the importance of having a good heart. The Relics Tour is linked to the Maitreya Project initiated by one of my teachers, Lama Zopa Rinpoche. Maitreya is the future Buddha - the next Buddha to manifest, and he represents loving-kindness. By meditating on loving-kindness, peace naturally arises in our hearts and in our surrounding world.
A unique and precious collection of more than 1000 sacred Buddhist relics will be permanently displayed in the Heart Shrine of the Maitreya Buddha statue currently being built in Kushinagar, India. Meanwhile, it is the wish of the Spiritual Director of the Maitreya Project, Lama Zopa Rinpoche, that the collection should travel throughout the world to bring the blessings of the relics, and the message of loving-kindness, to people everywhere. The collection includes relics of the historical Buddha (given by His Holiness the Dalai Lama), and the Buddha’s closest disciples, as well as many other well-known Buddhist masters from different Buddhist traditions.
About the Relics:
Relics are beautiful pearl-like crystals found in the ashes of Buddhist Masters and highly evolved beings after they have been cremated. Buddhists believe these relics are produced as a result of the master's spiritual qualities of compassion and wisdom. Since we can all develop these qualities, the relics are a reminder of our own essential nature of purity and our inner potential to manifest that. Viewing holy relics inspires us to develop our own hearts and minds, to develop loving-kindness and compassion and to understand spiritual teachings.
The relics are extremely rare and precious, and bring the blessings of the enlightened energy that they carry. Visitors often report experiences of inspiration and healing when in the presence of the relics. While some are inspired to pray for world peace and to develop their inner wisdom, others are overcome by emotion as the powerful effects of the relics open their hearts to compassion and loving-kindness. Imagine having them in our house, in our Centre! It felt like the bodhisattvas were saying: well, you were complaining that there wasn’t any Buddhist energy where you live, so how about we send you some relics of the Buddha himself and other enlightened beings! This was a miracle!
Benefits of seeing the relics:
"I have seen thousands of people transformed by the presence of these relics. I have felt them transform my own mind ...They emit some sort of transmission that can make a person open to their hearts and to the hearts of others. I don’t know how, but the relics seem to connect people to the enlightened experience, what we call Buddha’s blessings." - Venerable Paula Chichester, Relic Tour Manager Africa 2009
When the Buddha lived in India in approximately 563 BCE the people of that time had the opportunity to actually see and hear him, to be blessed by him in his human form. In approximately 483 BCE the Buddha left the Earth by passing into nirvana (the enlightened state). At that time he compassionately left relics so that today we still have the opportunity to receive blessings of the Buddha directly. "The Buddha emanated many kinds of relics out of compassion for us, in order to help us sentient beings generate faith in our mindstreams as a cause to receive blessings, purify our negativities, and accumulate merit." - Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Spiritual masters throughout history have blessed the world with their relics in this way and this phenomenon is still happening today. For instance, in 2001, Geshe Lama Konchog passed away at Kopan Monastery in Nepal. After his body was cremated those attending the funeral rites were astonished to find hundreds of crystal-like relics among the ashes. PERSONAL NOTE: I did a one-month meditation retreat with Lama Zopa Rinpoche at Kopan Monastery in 2002, and saw the relics of Geshe Lama Konchog. They were unbelievably beautiful - if I had not seen these relics with my own eyes, I would not have believed it.
Seeing holy objects and images has the effect of purifying the mind and planting seeds of enlightenment. You cannot attain enlightenment without creating the causes of enlightenment, namely, following a spiritual Path. Holy objects leave very positive imprints on the mind. They have great powers of purification. They have the power to purify non-virtuous states of mind (wrong attitudes and motivations). Just like atom bombs have great powers to destroy, holy objects have great powers to purify the mind and plant seeds of enlightenment. We get limitless skies of benefit from holy objects! [Lama Zopa Rinpoche]
So a year later, the Relics team arrived! A friend who is hosting the Relics Tour in Port Elizabeth drove them through to Plett. I have been out of the Buddhist circuit for nearly 2 years now, so I got quite a surprise as they got out the car: Buddhist nun in maroon robes, holding a case wrapped in gold cloth with the Relics inside in her arms like a baby; another lady reciting mantras and spinning a Tibetan prayer wheel; and the third lady holding a bunch of burning incense in her hands. We proceeded in a kind of procession to place the Relics in the cottage where the nun was staying. She put them on a high table on another richly embroidered Tibetan cloth, and the three of them proceeded to prostrate to the Relics. It was starting to dawn in my mind how precious these Relics are and what a blessing it is having them on the property.
I was reminded of the young boy, St Tarsicius, patron saint of altar boys. He was martyred because he refused to hand over the Blessed Sacrament because he knew it to be the body of Christ. This nun would have protected these holy Relics with her life!
What lovely people they are: Ven Paula, an American nun, who has spent the last 20 years of her life preparing for and doing retreats; Andrea, a British lady who works at a Dharma Centre in the UK; and Dana, a Swiss lady who has been living in Dharamsala for the last 4 years. We showed them round the Centre, and Ven Paula said: “You have created a little Pure Land here – we are staying in a little Pure Land.”
On Friday evening, they came for supper, together with Fr Johan and Maurice. We had a wonderful evening sharing Dharma stories and talking about the Dharma. It was so inspiring and uplifting. We share a connection to Lama Zopa and have been to similar Retreat Centres and have had teachings by teachers and monastics they know and respect. It was so amazing re-connecting with this, and I realized how much I have missed having this Buddhist connection. The loneliness and isolation here was such a suffering. I am much happier now that I am connected to the Catholic tradition, but I still miss the profundity of the Dharma which is unsurpassed. Oh God, I am such a hybrid – I love Buddhist philosophy and I love God! What to do? It causes an unbearable aching in my heart, and I long for union between these two great traditions: the Buddhist path to God!
You can’t live without input and nourishment. You need spiritual food in order to survive. This is what the Mass is – your spiritual food. Here in Africa, I was starved of Buddhist food, contact and connection. Now I am getting fed from the Catholic tradition: I am receiving my daily bread without which I cannot live. I have to accept that it is my karma to be an experiment in marrying the two great religions of Buddhism and Christianity. Please dear God, help me in this union. I thought to pray this when we have the Relics talk and are blessed by the Relics. Apparently your prayers when prayed in the presence of the Relics are very powerful.
During the course of their stay at our Centre, we had several opportunities to talk about the Dharma. On Saturday afternoon, we went for a walk along the Harkerville coastline. It was a beautiful day and we walked and talked. On Monday afternoon, they came to help set up the Meditation Hall and afterwards we had tea and chatted. Paula is an experienced practitioner and is very knowledgeable about retreats and the different deity practices; and Dana is very knowledgeable about Buddhist philosophy and has a talent for sharing the Dharma.
EMPTINESS UNION WITH BLISS:
I asked the question that has been bothering me for a long time about emptiness being empty, which sounds so unattractive and off-putting. The answer (as I understood it) is that emptiness is empty but it is united with love, compassion, wisdom, bliss etc. There is a union of emptiness and these enlightened or God-like qualities. So emptiness is infused with these qualities. It is kind of like the Trinity: they go together.
THE BUDDHIST TRINITY:
The parallels between the 3 kayas in Buddhism and the Christian Trinity became more clear to me. The Dharmakaya is like the God the Father, the unmanifest, the ground of being, the source, the emptiness out of which all creation comes. The Nirmanakaya is like God the Son who proceeds from the Father, in other words, the manifest. All is God. The Sambogakaya is like the Holy Spirit, that which connects the manifest with the unmanifest.
Just as “God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten Son” to save and redeem the world, the Dharmakaya is endlessly manifesting to save sentient beings, out of great love and compassion. For we are made to be saved. We are created in order to be redeemed. The love of God declares: From all eternity I have loved you! This eternal Love eternally sends saviors as emanations of Itself to call us back to a sinless and pure life of unity with the Divine. This is the endless manifestation of compassion which reveals the redeeming love that is calling us back to Itself.
(In my humble opinion), Buddhists are incorrect when they say: we don’t believe in a Creator God. The story of creation contained in the book of Genesis is not meant to be taken literally, as this is putting it far too simplistically: the world was created in 6 days and on the 7th day God rested! This is nonsense! The story of creation alludes to evolution that happened over millions of years. But ultimately, all things came from the Source, call it God, call it emptiness, call it the unmanifest, uncreated, whatever you like. And the Source / God / emptiness the womb of creation has been around since beginningless time because it is eternal and exists outside of time.
(In my humble opinion), Christians are also incorrect when they say: Buddhists don’t believe in God. We don’t believe in the simplified notion of God that is put forward to child-like minds. But if you do deeper, beyond the words and literal interpretations, you come to a deeper understanding where superficial differences are reconciled.
FULLNESS NOT EMPTINESS:
Emptiness is an unattractive word. It would be better to replace it with fullness. You have to look at emptiness in terms of what it is negating otherwise it can be misleading. It is negating separate existence: we are empty of separate existence. We do not exist separately as we think we do – this is an illusion. We are inextricably connected to everything. All is part of the whole. All is part of God. The positive expression would be: we are empty of separate self because we are connected to the fullness of the whole / the holy (whole means holy).
When we feel separate, we feel miserable, and we act out of self-centeredness, which causes more misery. When we feel connected, we feel love, and we act for the benefit of all beings knowing that we are all connected. Separation is the cause of suffering and sin. Connectedness is the source of love and compassion. Separation is an illusion. Connectedness is the true reality. When we are out of touch with reality, we suffer. When we are in touch with reality, there is love.
I couldn’t find God within the concept of emptiness. But actually the Buddhist concept of emptiness was transforming me to be more “empty of ego” so that I could start to feel my connectedness with life, and then I felt love. The love of God, the love that is the fabric of life, is always there: From all eternity I have loved you! It is only when we are so trapped in our separate little egos that we don’t feel it. This is why we have to empty ourselves first before we can feel the fullness and the love.
KARMA AND PURIFICATION:
It is possible to purify all negative karma. You can do this, for example, during a 3-month Vajrasattva retreat. When you have purified something, there is a sign: namely, the thing doesn’t come back into your mind-stream. It has been purified and released. When we get enlightened, we go beyond the dualistic mind, and we don’t create karma anymore. Then there is no more need to purify.
The more you purify the negative, the more you make space for the positive to manifest. A daily purification practice consists of the 5 ‘R’s: REGRET (repent your negative and harmful actions); RELIANCE (rely on and trust the method to purify and trust our ability to overcome negative karma); REMEDY (do something to make amends ie apply the antidote); RESOLVE (promise not to do again); and REJOICE (rejoice every time you succeed, rejoice in your positive actions, as this increases your self-confidence that you can do it, that you can become a better human being).
GRACE AND BLESSINGS:
Buddhism does not speak about grace, but there is grace in Buddhism. Grace is the same thing as blessings. The Buddhas are showering blessings on us all the time. The shower of blessings is always raining on us if our hearts are open. The greatest blessing is leading us on the path to enlightenment.
It was a lot of work preparing for the Relics presentation. I had to take my altar out and replace it with a bigger and higher table. The table was then transformed into a beautiful altar. It was covered with a rich maroon cloth, with white hand embroidered overlay. It was then richly decorated with Buddha statues, including my big Medicine Buddha, 2 Maitreya Buddha statues, 2 Vajrasattva statues, and the statue of St James that Fr Johan gave me, who sits on a chair in the same posture as Maitreya Buddha. There were lots of water bowl offerings with saffron water inside, a vajra and bell, candles, crystals, stupas, flowers etc. The relics were displayed in little gold containers. The altar looked beautiful and the relics looked absolutely beautiful.
The following most extremely precious relics were displayed: Shakyamuni Buddha, Venerable Shariputra, Venerable Maudgalyayana (close disciples of the Buddha), Venerable Nagarjuna, Milarepa, Lama Tsongkhapa, Gyalwa Ensapa, His Holiness the First Karmapa, His Holiness the 15th Karmapa, His Holiness the 13th Dalai Lama, Jamyang Chokyi Lodro, Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, and Geshe Lama Konchog.
I did an introduction, welcoming everybody and especially our special guests:
VEN PAULA: has been studying Buddhism for the last 40 years. She is a student of HH and Lama Zopa and other great Lamas. She and her husband practiced together for 16 years, and then they both ordained – so they have been Buddhist nun and monk for 13 years now. Paula has spent the last 23 years devoted to doing retreats, including a 4-year solitary retreat. Prior to becoming a full-time meditator, she was a PhD fellow at Berkley University in California in International Development with Compassion.
DANA: is from Switzerland. She used to be a microbiologist, and she worked in Switzerland as a medical scientist for 7 years. Then she travelled for 2.5 years in Asia and met the Dharma. After that she worked for the international Red Cross humanitarian organization for 7 years in Zimbabwe, Ruanda, Guinea, East Timor and Sri Lanka. It was during this time that she established a connection with Africa. In 2006, she moved to Dharamsala in India where His Holiness lives in exile, for a life of full-time study and meditation with His Holiness, Lama Zopa and other Lamas, including a German nun who is the first ever Geshe-ma (PhD in Buddhist philosophy). This is her first time joining the Relics Tour.
ANDREA: used to be a window dresser at Harrods in London, before she moved into a path of healing and natural health where she lived in the Highlands of Scotland near Lochness. She met the Dharma at a Buddhist Centre near Findhorn in Scotland. While visiting Nepal and Tibet, she met Dharma teachers who inspired her to offer service to the Buddha-Dharma. She was encouraged to contact the Relics Tour Director who needed an assistant, and she became a full-time member of the Relics team. She is based in London, and helps to organize 70 -80 events per year.
And the most special “guests” of all – the holy relics! The first time I saw some relics was at Kopan Monastery in Nepal in 2002. I read an extract from my retreat diary:
Relics are the remains of beings who have devoted their entire lifetime to virtuous practice. Beings with high spiritual attainments establish relics as a means for passing on blessings of their body, speech and mind. There are various different types of relics. Some of them are bones, hair, mummified flesh or teeth. Other relics are blessed pills, appearing like pearls, jewels or crystalline deposits. These relics, called ‘ringsel’ may manifest within the ashes of the great master’s body when it is cremated. They appear due to the purity of the spiritual master’s mind and may spontaneously multiply over a period of time. [From brochure: Precious Relics of our Time: The Great Mahasiddha Geshe Lama Konchok]
The venerable Geshe Lama Konchog, previous teacher at Kopan Monastery, passed away in 2001. Geshe-la was born in Tibet and became a monk at age six. He studied at Sera Monastic University in Tibet and received teachings from highly realised teachers who have completed the Path. Geshe-la spent 26 years in retreat in the mountains, sometimes living in caves used by the great Tibetan yogi Milarepa. He entered into clear light meditation for 7 days, after which his body was burnt. During the cremation, many auspicious signs were observed, such as rainbows and light rain. After the cremation, many relics were found amongst the ashes.
Geshe-la’s vajra and bell, and Dhyani Buddhas’ crown, remained intact after cremation. It is unbelievable to believe that objects can survive the intense heat of cremation fire! Two self-arising footprints, with a lotus in the centre and the crown of the Dhyani Buddhas above, were found after the cremation, at the bottom of the stupa. Footprints usually indicate that the Lama intends to reincarnate and point in the direction where he will be reborn.
The relics included pearl-like relics, pill-like relics in many colours including white, red, turquoise green, black, grey, golden, copper and crystal, conch shape tooth and bone, black shining hair found in ashes, copper, gold, silver, grey and black coloured hair, crystallised heart, tongue with self-emanating image of Tara, eye relic, skull relic (commonly such organs of high Tantric practitioners don’t burn). “… it is as if Geshe-la’s whole body was a precious jewel … it is all about the strength of Geshe-la’s realisations.” [Lama Lhundrup] The relics were placed in containers on the altar in Geshe-la’s house at Kopan. Some of them have multiplied into hundreds, and pearl-like and golden relics are growing on the bones, and relics are manifesting still from the ashes.
Relics are signs that indicate the greatness of holy beings. Relics are manifested and remains are left behind due to the kindness of holy beings, so that they can continue to benefit us even after they have died. Just by seeing or touching such holy relics, we generate faith, accumulate merit and purify negative karma. Shakyamuni Buddha emanated thousands of relics as objects of devotion for sentient being. These most sacred relics are housed in stupas in many different countries and continue to inspire and lead numberless beings to the attainment of liberation and enlightenment today. Holy objects are very powerful – if one makes offerings, prostrations and circumambulations to them, even with impure motivation, it becomes the cause for liberation and enlightenment.
This all sounds too unbelievable to be true. If I had not seen these relics with my own eyes, I might not have believed all this stuff, because it sounds like magic and we aren’t exposed to much magic in the West of saints and sages who still perform miracles today. We are conditioned into believing that only Jesus performed miracles of healing, walking on water, rising from the dead and the like … and that was 2000 years ago and doesn’t happen in the 21 century! Well, in the magic land of Tibet, it still happens today! There are many stories of great Lamas bringing people back to life, so that they can die properly and be guided by the Lama who does transference of consciousness on their behalf. There are stories of Lamas who go into deep trancelike states where they stop breathing and appear to be dead, but are actually in very deep meditation and later ‘rise from the dead’. Unbelievable stuff still happening today!!!
Paula then gave a talk on the Relics and also said a little about Buddhism. After this, there was space for questions and comments. Fr Johan mentioned a particular verse from the Bible that came to him: The Kingdom of Heaven is like a pearl. It sounded like these people had discovered the Kingdom of Heaven, and were literally manifesting pearls when they died.
I asked the Relics team to share some stories about their experiences while on tour:
They travel with a lot of luggage and are always many kilograms overweight. Somehow when they check their luggage in, it weighs nearly half of its proper weight eg 110 kg suddenly becomes 65 kg! Somebody in the room commented that this was en-light-enment!
They had just come from Namibia. They told how their host had passed out after receiving the blessing! He was an Indian man, who had no connection to Buddhism or the relics, but had been persuaded by his brother in America to host them. He was very skeptical and refused to receive a blessing from the relics. At the very end, when everyone had gone, he went up to Paula for a blessing, which was so powerful that he passed out!
On their first trip to South Africa (this was their 2nd trip), they went to Johannesburg and Cape Town. In Johannesburg, one of the relics started glowing and emitting light. They switched all the lights off to check, and this relic was radiating light to a city that so badly needs it.
Here in Plett, we also had an interesting experience: there were 2 relics of Nagarjuna which were light grey in color. When they displayed the relics, they noticed that one of them had changed color – it was softly glowing pink, the color of rose quartz, the crystal of loving-kindness. This relic was the one that really jumped out at me and caught my attention – it seemed to be shining and emitting light.
After the talk and sharings, we were invited up to view the Relics, and receive a blessing from relics of the Buddha. People knelt in front of Paula, while she held a gold container containing relics from the Buddha on top of their head. We were told that this was a very good time to make prayers, because prayers said in the presence of the relics are very powerful. We were encouraged to pray for the welfare and enlightenment of all beings, before making own personal prayers.
I prayed for blessings for our Centre, and that more Buddhist monks and nuns and teachers would visit our Centre, and that I would be able to continue to benefit and bless others by bringing the Dharma here (and not so infrequently – it has been years since our last Buddhist visitors!) I prayed that my ability to help others would increase.
After everybody had left, we went and fetched our animals and Paula blessed the dogs and cat, which was so cute and we felt so happy to be able to bless our animals and know that in their next lives they would come back as humans with access to the Dharma. Maurice prayed that the cat be purified of all her negative karma having killed so many birds!
The relics were packed up and we dedicated the merits of the evening. Then we had tea and cake and rejoiced in what a beautiful evening it had been. It really was a wonderful evening, very, very special.
I couldn’t sleep that night. The energy was so high. For a long time, I sat in the Meditation Hall immersed in the energy field of the relics, feeling blessed and blissed out of my mind. I was filled to overflowing with gratitude, love and bliss. I felt overwhelming gratitude for being able to host such a precious event. I meditated and listened to Paula’s chanting music, and my mind was vast and expansive and open. There were no thoughts in my mind, and it was filled with blissful love. At midnight I was still “on a buzz” so I recited Buddhist prayers: the Heart Sutra; the Foundation of all Good Qualities; and the King of Prayers. Then I did prostrations and finally went to bed at 01h00, still on a high.
It was one of those nights when your mindfulness / awareness is so highly tuned, that you don’t seem to sleep. Paula said we should watch our dreams as they might bring us a message. I didn’t have any dreams, but I couldn’t stop admiring the relics. When I woke up the next morning, I felt disappointed that I didn’t have any inspiring dreams. Then the pink Nagarjuna relic came into my mind, and I felt that we had received a special blessing from this relic. Nagarjuna was like a second Buddha. He is founder of Mahayana Buddhism and the Middle Way. He reconciled Buddhist philosophy into the right view of emptiness. I felt that he gave his blessing for reconciling Buddhism and Christianity.
Fr Johan had a nice dream that night: he dreamt that the church was on fire, but it was not damaged in the fire – it only became more beautiful with his artwork of the passion of Christ in it. He tried but could not get hold of the fire brigade! The dream is symbolic of the divine purifying fire of love. This is not an earthly fire and no earthly means can put it out! This is why he couldn’t get hold of the fire brigade. Let the Church be cleansed and purified of all wrong views! So that the purest Truth (that we are capable of understanding) can be transmitted. Come Holy Spirit, and kindle within us the fire of your love J
Veronica: I would really like to express my gratitude for the wonderful experience on Monday evening. The talk was very informative and the Buddhist ladies were just so very special. The special blessing was awesome and I had an experience that was very symbolical for me. Leela I would also like to thank you for organizing the evening – you really are gifted with the ability of being an instrument for providing these opportunities for us and I really appreciate all that you do.
Jenny: Thanks ever so much for helping to bring this blessed event to Plettenberg Bay – it was such a great privilege to be able to go to your beautiful prayer hall and partake of this awesome event, right here on our doorstep. As I approached the entrance and went up the steps I was overcome by emotion. I could feel the energy radiating out from inside the hall and had a hard time trying to hold back my tears, as I went up the steps. They were tears of joy of being able to participate in this wondrous event. I loved Venerable Paula, her beautiful strong face and depth of presence. I loved the other ladies as well and felt inspired by them and what they were doing, and by what you are doing and what you have done for us right here in Plettenberg Bay. You have shared so much with us of the Dharma and I have learnt so much. Love, Light and Blessings to you.
Jeremy: Thank you so much for inviting me to join you on Monday night to see the Buddhist relics and to hear Paula, Dana and Andrea speaking. It was quite unusual to look at the relics and I can only say Wow! I felt particularly blessed by Paula who was radiating light and peace when I stood and kneeled before her. She seemed so beautiful and full of love and warmth. The experience was something new to me and it was totally worthwhile. It is a humbling experience to be near people who work so hard spiritually. You are all examples to me of how one can lead a good and disciplined life. May you be blessed very day.
Susan: It was a most profound experience for me. I felt enveloped in a blanket of love. I felt that I was touching the Source and saying, yes, I remember you. You have been there all the time but I had forgotten you. I couldn’t stop the tears from coming – tears of gratitude for this re-connection.
Gordon: I am just speechless!
Leela: For me, this was one of the 3 most special events that we have hosted in the last 10 years, the others being the Tenzin Palmo visit, and the Blessing Ceremony of our interfaith meditation chapel with satsang by Swami Suddhananda.
What a joy it was to host the Relics Team for a week! I felt like a little bodhisattva, giving shelter and rest, relaxation and rejuvenation. And what wonderful people! They are part of the blessings brought by the Relics! It was sad saying goodbye. I think they were touched by my trying to run a Buddhist Centre by myself. Paula said to me: “It is hard”, and Dana repeated the words of His Holiness the Dalai Lama: “Never give up!” It is input like this last week that strengthens one and enables one to continue. Paula said: “You are like a Goddess – don’t forget that!”