The Silver Lining


This application for the Parallel Perception Scholarship  was submitted by Dustin Payne. 

This year the scholarship includes a choice of either: attendance at the Dragon’s Tears Workshop in the Canary Islands from August 2nd-8th – or – participation on the online Transformational Healing and Meditation program.

If you would like to offer your support for Dustin please leave a comment at the end of this blog post.

Change is both interesting and necessary. In my experience, if I don’t have the insight to make a change, life will make it for me. Sometimes, a completely random event happens that doesn’t seem to make sense. Even though it can seem harsh or devastating, it’s often a blessing in disguise.

There are so many lessons from Lujan that seem relevant to my story. For instance, doing versus not doing, observing rather than interfering, and getting what you need rather than what you want. They all played an important role in my process of finding peace in an unfolding of events that shook my core.

About three years ago my mother passed away very suddenly, leaving me and my stepfather behind. She was so full of life and young at heart, that we were completely caught off guard. My stepfather was left grief stricken, heartbroken and with no desire to live. Fortunately, he moved to Hawaii and reconnected with his daughter and grandchildren from his previous marriage. I, on the other hand, was left trying to hold the pieces together. What I really needed was to fall apart and grieve, but I didn’t. Call it shock or just being too afraid to face my emotions, I wouldn’t allow myself this most human reaction. I also couldn’t seem to find any understanding regarding her death even as the years passed.

My mother and I were very close, so it made sense for me to mourn her passing. However, instead of releasing my anguish, I bottled it up. This sort of reaction was a long time in the making. Over the course of my life, I learned to numb my feelings, conceal my emotions and manipulate the world around me. This was my handy way of protecting myself to avoid injury from others and was also a poor example of the emotional, sensitive child I once was. I had put on so many disguises that I began to fool myself, but there was one person who saw right through them.

Last year I met Lujan and was fortunate enough to learn Dragon’s Tears with the love of my life. This was an experience like no other, and I suggest anyone who wants to know themselves on many different levels to give it a try. I truly believed I would achieve some sort of outcome when meeting Lujan, that this was just another part of my big plan, that he would see something special in me and I would be recognized as having some sort of special purpose. Well as it turns out, some of this happened, but not quite how I expected. Instead, he saw my controlling tactics, my not so hidden talent of being the center of attention and my inability to express my feelings. This is the truth of what I was doing and who I was being, and he let me know it.

Shortly after our visit with Lujan, we received a call from my stepsister. My stepfather was in the hospital with stage-four cancer throughout his abdomen. My love and I flew to Hawaii to say goodbye, which I never had a chance to say with my mom, and we got to meet the family we never knew we had. We went to say goodbye and instead, we said hello.

When talking with my stepsister, after my stepfather’s passing, she said, “Through this grief and sadness we found each other. It is the bright and shiny silver lining of a sad grey cloud.” All of the sudden, it dawned on me that the peace I was looking for in my mother’s passing had suddenly come without me looking for it. If my mother had not passed, my step-father would have never reunited with his daughter, and we would have never visited Hawaii, where we met our new family and found our new home.

Life has peculiar ways of setting things into motion. It forced upon me a situation I could not control or manipulate. I had to just sit back and observe what was happening and to act accordingly only when it was appropriate. Lujan has shown me this, but until I experienced it for myself, I could not see it. The peace I so yearned for came from something beyond my control.

Through all of Lujan’s teachings, the one lesson that sticks out for me the most is to not interfere. What I’ve come to realize is when we do what we need and not what we want, we will often be shown the way to our salvation. Life handles everything, we only need to witness the process, and eventually, we will see the silver lining. I hope that Lujan will continue to shine his light on my path, so that I will continue to see that ever-escaping moment.

Dustin Payne





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  1. Dearest Dustin,
    The silver lining is full of promise, as long as we don’t interfere and just observe. Thank you for sharing this reminder, as I don’t always trust the process of life and I try to bend the will of the universe to meet my wants. I have received a lesson via your training with Lujan. Thank you!
    Love, Georgina

    • Hi Georgina,

      Sometimes I wonder what might have been had I never interfered with the process, but I realize that what has been is what was meant to be or else we would never be here to learn the lesson.

      Thank you,

  2. Thanks for sharing your story Dustin. Death and grief can be amazing teachers if we can stand there and allow ourselves to learn from them rather than running away or trying to assign our own meaning to them.

    I have always known that whatever happens to us is not random. Everything happens for a reason and we grow and benefit from ALL of it, even the worst of it, if we allow ourselves to.

    But death of a loved one is a particularly difficult experience and challenges even the most solid belief in universal intelligence as our benefactor. When I lost my Mom (many years ago), I temporarily lost my way. Like you, I couldn’t find meaning in it, although my mind scrambled and scrambled to do so. Now, I no longer believe that the human mind can ever find meaning in death; we’ve seen what the internal dialog really is and any meaning it assigns to something is usually a big fat lie.

    So when my Dad died a few months ago, it was a vastly different experience. I didn’t allow my mind to scramble around looking to assign meaning to the event. I knew I would never understand it. I just allowed myself to FEEL the river of grief pouring into my body. (I can still feel it now, writing this. It is still so strong.) But while the river may be raging, bringing with it waves of real, physical pain in my throat and my heart–the pain also brings its own consolation of sorts. I’m not sure how to explain it, but as long as I just FEEL and accept the fact of the pain, without thinking about it, I am consoled and eventually the river quiets and a deep peace settles over me. It’s okay that I don’t understand; that the meaning is beyond my feeble human mind. I trust eternity, and I am consoled.

    All that said, silver linings are wonderful when you find them and I look for them constantly. But I’ve learned that we can’t demand explanations or silver linings from death. Yet we can create them — the way that you and your stepsisters have done.

    • Dear Rhonda

      Thank,you for that. I feel what you write and know it to be so true. Thank you for reminding me!!!

      My mind loves meaningful stories, and I will,probably never stop creating them, but the truest moments are what you are describing. Very lovely to read this.

    • Hi Rhonda,

      I believe that your process for your fathers death will eventually bring about a silver lining. As you said it can’t be demanded, but I feel it will reveal itself when you least expect it. In my experience with my stepfather, just allowing the feelings and the grief to take their course eventually paved the way to my healing. Visiting my stepfather was an opportunity that was almost lost to us and it frightens me to imagine the outcome had we not not, but of course what needed to happen, did happen. Our visit also brought about completely unexpected results which we weren’t looking for or could have ever imagined. This entire experience was a result of acceptance, without understanding or meaning, and also the silencing of the mind chatter and the fear it tried to push on my love and I. It comforts me to know that others out there are able to have similar experiences and have the same growth process I have had. These are such tender and fleeting moments that could easily be lost due to our own interference. Thank you for sharing your story with me.


  3. Lovely application, Dustin.

  4. Dear dustin

    I was moved reading your story and felt wih you on your long journey.
    It’s not over! Am saying that as much to myself as to you.

    What I hope I will learn, oh so,late, is that the moment I judge something as good or bad, I am disconnected from the real experience. These are not just words for me but to live this is something I am far away from and I have had to live with many regrets for not being able to. So it’s good to have others who can remind us.

    It’s very frightening to me not to attribute meaning to death, so I will probably need to do that for now to manage that fear. It’s the biggest unknown over which we have absolutely no control. Isn’t it a brave thing to be alive?

    Much love to you

    • Hi Angelika,

      I must be constantly reminded that any judgment on my part steals the moment from me. It becomes a distortion of the reality and the truth of the moment. Yes, it is good to have others to remind us of this as you have done for me.

      It seems to me that attributing meaning to death is fine if it helps lead you to peace, but this is highly personal and the process is entirely for you. There are no rules. Eventually I found peace and acceptance with my mothers death through a process that had no meaning, it just was what it was and I went with it.

      Thank you for your kind words,

  5. Reading this made me realize alit about myself and how much family Ireally have

    • The ones we love are all we have in this life. I am grateful for the time I had with them.

  6. “The Devil hides in the details” – I remembered this while I was reading your story. Lujan made me look deeper, closer. It is like he is giving you an extra pear of glasses!

    • “The Devil is in the details” has been relevant in so many of Lujan’s lessons for me. I’ve really had to face myself and who I was being in the circumstances of my life. This is not easy, but so necessary if we are to heal and grow.

  7. I really enjoyed your application Dustin.

  8. beautiful dustin. the journey is so wondrous.

  9. It makes me happy to hear you’ve found the resolution you have. Those glasses Bralgei mentions: keep them on. Sounds like you have a whole new adventure in front of you. Thanks for sharing such a personal and relevant account.


  10. Thank you Jerry,

    The glasses will stay on for sure. I’m glad we can grow through each others stories.

    Take care,

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