Nicolae Tanase: Katalin, what is the meaning of life?
Katalin Koda: Life is the opportunity to discover our true nature and gifts and offer them in service to others along the path. True meaning becomes apparent in the practice of offering, being of service, to dissolve our smaller self into the large universal Self. Acts of service are completely personal and looks different for each person on earth. When we discover our own unique set of tools to offer, we develop a whole-hearted and joyful life.
In my Buddhist training I recognize that ultimately there is no small self, we are all interdependent on others, earth, air, thoughts, emotions and so on. However we also contain the seed of an awakened Self, our bodhi nature. Until we become fully aware of this Buddha like nature within, or the absolute reality, we still have to work with our own relative reality on a day to day experience. Discovering our own nature through meditation, creation, interpersonal relationships provides the workable bridge to connect between our unique expressive self to the loving presence of Self. I feel that this bridge is our soul essence, the connection between our mindbody heart and our divine Self.
Our soul essence is revealed when we are small. Since I was a child, I have always loved fantasy stories, other worlds and dreams. I found safe haven in nature, visiting the bamboo grove near my home and hiding in the magnolia tree when I felt overwhelmed by my family’s emotions or unable to fully express my own. As an infant, I had a head surgery and illnesses that created openings to non-ordinary reality which resulted in seeing auras, spirits and other beings as a child. As I grew older, recognizing that most people did not connect to the non-ordinary world, I put it on the back burner.
Later in life, experiencing cancer at age nineteen and the death of my first baby daughter at age twenty-six I faced powerful initiations around life and death and started my healing path to rediscover these parts of me and integrate my soul essence more fully. These experiences and my practice as a healer, as well as my love and study of myth and story, have fueled my unique self to continuously investigate inner worlds, emotional states and cultivate self-reflection. I find the connections and interweave them through art, writing and ceremony.
I have discovered profound meaning in life when I view myself and my relations as characters in an ever unfolding journey or story. Humans have used story and myth for thousands of years to orient themselves in the natural world and understand their own connection to one another. Myths are collective dreams which are fed by our personal experience on earth and then reflected back to us. Stories help us to discover deeper states of true power, love and wisdom.
In the more recent past, many of our myths or collective dreams have been centered around the white, male, heterosexual experience. That is changing. We are reaching back into the ancient times to discover the reflections of the land through story as well as creating new myths that include the experience of women, queer, land ecology and indigenous perspectives. My personal work as well as many around me is to reclaim, rewild and renew our connection to our earth, body and lives through the stories of diversity, beauty, transformation and healing.
I believe each of us has a unique story within that can help guide us to the soulful expression of who we are. When we align with these gifts, our personal destiny is revealed and we can offer in service to earth and others incredible opportunities for healing, growth and Love. In a time of immense change on earth, the more we align with our gifts and discover our true nature, the more we can discover the work that will benefit others and the planet. As this happens we actualize our true Self and the bodhi nature within awakens. For me, this is the ultimate meaning of life and my sincere wish and hope for each of us!
~Katalin Koda is an author, ceremonialist, poet, and queer visionary life artist. Inspired by fifteen years of living in India and Hawai’i she is a dedicated student of earth stories and sacred myths, reclaiming womyn’s mysteries and discovering intersectional mysticism. Her current healing work includes spiritual mentoring and ceremonial design to help clients through transformative life journeys and deep soul level healing. As a Hospice volunteer and life transition celebrant Katalin honors the deep processes of grief through death and dying. Katalin is the founder of Fire of the Goddess Retreats and Ceremonies, which honor the divine feminine and illuminate womyn’s brilliant potentials to affect community and global change. She currently resides in Portland.
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