Meet your mentor
About Li-Anne Tang, Ph. D. Meditation Teacher
Three years ago, my life was going smoothly. I was
- a meditation teacher running three meditation groups each week and individually mentoring numerous students on the Path to Awakening,
- enjoying the fruits of the practice after decades of dedication to meditation and the Dhamma (i.e. I was living entirely free from suffering).
- able to step back and marvel at the two wonderful children I had raised. They were grown and embarking on their respective journeys in life,
- volunteering 3 hours/week as a psychotherapist/counsellor to support clients with cancer and their carers,
- In regular communion with a wonderful sangha of fellow meditation teachers and spiritual seekers, and
- starting a social business to help more people in the world Awaken.
While on a meditation retreat in Europe, my temperature suddenly spiked dramatically. My life changed in an instant. I didn’t know where I was and what I was doing. I remember not even being able to figure out how to put toothpaste on my toothbrush! After months of neurological tests, the diagnosis was a viral encephalitis.
But I was still left with a massive headache most of the time, an inability to read the simplest of words, remember the start of all but the simplest of sentences I heard, thought and spoke, and intermittent lapses into total confusion.
Here’s the interesting part: I was always content and serene. Despite the headaches, confusion and loss in short term memory. I was like a happy goldfish, always interested and happy to discover what the next moment presented.
Infinite patience and kindness were my constant companions. When I became confused and didn’t know what to do next, a kind and patient voice in my head said, ‘It’s ok. Let’s get a glass of water, relax and let things unfold’. When I struggled to read or understand what someone was saying, I simply let go of any tension I experienced in trying to do so and trusted that this was the only way it could be for now. All I needed to do was to let it come, let it be and let it go.
I spent two years rehabilitating my brain. I put the same dedication to this task as I did to my meditation practice (and actually, everything I do in life). This time, though, I had the fruits of my practice to keep me always smiling and always content. Suffering is, after all, a thing of the past. Challenges may be part of life, but suffering is optional. This path to freedom from suffering works.
My brain is now good enough to pretend to be normal again (let’s face it, I never was normal). I need help with some things, but am otherwise perfectly fine. The inspiration to teach meditation again came out of the blue. To call this a calling would be an understatement. And so this website was borne …
Click here for more ‘proper’ bio.
Would you like to learn to live free from suffering?
What would our world be like if everyone was Awakened?
I have had an ongoing thought experiment for decades. It centres around a simple question: ‘What would our world be like if everyone was Awakened?’ In other words, what would life feel like if we were all free from unconscious beliefs and habits that caused unhappiness and dissatisfaction in ourselves and the people around us? In what ways could we transform our community, if we were completely free to creatively respond to the dance of life?”
Freeing Our Mind seeks to help as many people as possible develop the tools to make this vision a reality. The root of most of our struggles lies in our misguided notions that we are each separate individuals, striving to survive in competition with other separate individuals in the world. This way of thinking leads us to a sense of isolation, tears apart our connections when we most need them, and pits us against one another. This framework makes us feel we need to compete, rather than cooperate, with one another. It compels us to feel we need to protect ourselves from the exploitation of others.
This old paradigm lulls us into the false belief that we need to compare ourselves to others, which creates a false sense of superiority, inferiority and even equality. But we are all part of a whole. It makes no sense to say that our fourth left toe is superior, inferior or equal to our right hip, or to our face. They are all part of our body, the only body we have. Similarly, we are all part of a vast, complicated and interconnected network far beyond our ability to cognitively comprehend. But we are able to apprehend this, if we train our minds appropriately.
Our mistaken beliefs move us away from harmony with ourselves and all around us; they pull us away from the essence of our humanity. Our lack of deep understanding of our interconnected nature with all of existence prevents us from perceiving nature as it truly is, takes us away from deeply connecting and engaging with one another, and holds us back from making the change we wish to make in our own lives and in the world.