What is Lotus Laughing: Extraordinary Tales of Mystical and Inspirational Life Experiences about and what inspired you to write it?
“Lotus Laughing” is a memoir of sorts, however, deliberately written as a fictional narrative. The tales did occur – no exaggeration, but the characters and some of the settings are fictitious. This was the advice of my publisher, possibly as I am a public figure being a high school teacher of a leading Brisbane school.
After many years on a personal sadhana (spiritual path) and coupled with decades of academic research and teaching, I came to the awareness of the illusory nature of life. Further, the only real truth about the nature of things lies within the body temple. Simply put, I personally perceived the power of my own spirit within and saw that the contemporary life we lead does not encourage us to access and develop that. “Lotus Laughing” had to be written as evidence that within all of us lies a deep and powerful set of abilities. These include intuition, perception and the power of will which, when developed and enhanced, are a set of instruments to greatly assist us to navigate the complexities and obstacles of life to reach our goals.
How did you come up with the title “Lotus Laughing?”
It was there in waiting to be called upon. However, if I have to rationalize it, then the ‘Lotus’ refers to the ‘Soul’ of the human and the ‘Laughing’ refers to the cosmic joke that we’ve known all along that we’re not just blood, bone and organs. In fact, when the veils of illusion are lifted, we’ve always known that we’re spirit or soul that stops off each incarnation to reside in a body temple owned by a personality. Herein, the opportunity to burn seeds of past karma present themselves.
In your book, many of the characters feel inexplicably led towards making an unusual decision that turned out to be life changing. Can you give any compelling examples of that from your life and how that worked out?
The novel is my life. They are my tales; they are my mystical and extraordinary experiences.
How about from another person’s life? Can you give any examples?
Well, regarding (3) above, actually one of the tales belongs to ‘Jez.’ In essence, the extraordinary events and outcomes are his tale are actually real. Jez was a solitary person with immense technical and mental brilliance, and he had a transformational experience which turned his life around.
Other examples can pertain to your life. How often have you perceived some truth about some complex situation which you knew was the real answer? How often have you thought of someone and within minutes/days you see or hear from that person? How often do you reach a point of crisis or despair and call within for help, and help is extended from who knows where? Why is it that when one’s survival is challenged, so often a power from within comes to your rescue?
One of the characters in your book, Lillian, finds herself coming across the numeric configuration 11:11 frequently. What is the significance of this? Do you have personal experiences with receiving messages through this numeric configuration?
As detailed in the novel, Lillian’s Tale reveals that her imagination was haunted by this numeric configuration for years and finally she found out what it meant. Whether one believes it or not, at a time when she was sitting down – exhausted and disinterested – in a bookshop she was called from within to turn around and take the book. Following the instruction, and not resisting it, the book directly behind her was called, 11:11: Inside the Doorway.
Yes, I do have a personal experience of this because Lillian’s Tale is a memoir.
Which character’s story was your favorite to write and why?
I love all the characters because they are all facets of me – except Jez, although Jez was to become my husband. Having said that, my favorite is Gemma because Gemma’s Tale was the hardest to write being a true story of lost love between a gorgeous man and woman whose natures just could not blend, resulting in near tragedy which finally lead to her spiritual liberation and genuine self-love.
One of your goals with the book is to encourage readers to delve deeper into the mysteries of their own lives. What advice would you give readers on how or where to start with this process?
What a wonderful and inciteful question. Thank you.
- At first base, ask yourself, with commitment and authenticity, “Who am I really and what am I capable of?”
- At second base, keep those questions at the forefront of your mind and stay open for answers to come to you in all sorts of ways. Be alert and trust that you have a right to the answers because you are ready to listen, hear and learn.
- At third base, seek a spiritual teacher and/or community. Seek other truth-seeking souls – others who are asking similar questions. Read spiritually uplifting daily sayings and/or books. After all, it is your innate intelligence seeking and not some broken person as the mechanisms of our society would lead one to believe. And remember the wise Buddhist promise: When the student is ready, the Master will appear.
- At home base, develop a spiritual discipline and practice. Meditation is the only path to God-realization and that only comes through Self-realization lead by a spiritual teacher.
Personally, I am a Kriyaban and devotee of the Self-Realization Fellowship. My spiritual teacher is Sri Paramahansa Yogananda. I read, and continue to re-read his book, An Autobiography of a Yogi. Within the story of Lotus Laughing, Kristina’s Tale reveals my final spiritual awakening.
A must read, an engrossing and deeply humane story about seven people, their varied lives, their trials and their ultimate triumphs; not just an inspiring literary diversion from our troubled times, but an affirmation of the resilience and nobleness of the human spirit, and perhaps a venue or spiritual path for those of us; such as myself, to seek an inner sanctuary from the demanding pressures of our daily lives; thank-you, Marie-Celine for your “wonderful tales”.