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Excerpt from:

Transforming Anger, Fear and Pain
Creating Heart-Centeredness
in a Turbulent World

by Marilyn C. Barrick, Ph.D.

Kuan Yin Riding the Dragon
A Metaphor for Our Soul

      Kuan Yin is known in the East as the bodhisattva of compassion. She is the celestial one who "hears the sounds of the world" and rescues people endangered or floundering in perilous situations.
      As we see in this portrait on the preceding page, Kuan Yin is serene while she guides the fierce serpent of the deep through tumultuous waves. I see this as a metaphor for the journey of our soul.
      We, too, are meant to envision and attain the stance of mastery over turbulent happenings. We are called to tame our own inner dragons when they surface midst the upheavals in our lives.
      The rolling waves are a metaphor for those swift-moving ups and downs we go through. We either ride those waves with grace and serenity or tumble into the restless currents. In the face of chaotic circumstances, our choices are determined by our attitude, not by the events themselves. And our outer posture is decided by the inner stance of our soul.
      Strength, balance, self-mastery—all these qualities are depicted in Kuan Yin's graceful bearing atop the dragon. She is unmoved by the fierceness of the creature or the swirling of the waves. She is in command of herself, her mode of travel and the forces of nature around her. Will we be equally unmoved?
      Some years ago, a store on Ross Alley in San Francisco's Chinatown featured an extraordinary picture of Kuan Yin riding a dragon through billowing clouds. Legend has it that this was a photograph taken by a World War II pilot as he was flying a mission.
      That picture of Kuan Yin struck a new chord with me as I was writing this book. I thought her masterful stance so symbolic of the transformational process that I commissioned an artist friend of mine, Roxanne Duke, to create this beautiful painting.
      The dragon itself represents primal forces we are in the process of taming. And when they are tamed, they bring good fortune. As we have seen, we have many such dragons—anger, fear, uncertainty, frustration, confusion—add your favorite to the list. How do we tame them? That's what this book is all about!

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Copyright © 2002-2006 Marilyn C. Barrick, Summit University Press. All Rights Reserved.