As a writer (who has been working on his second book since about April 2014), I’ve been quite stuck. Since feeling that Inner Tapping and responding to it, I’ve followed the only way I know how, which is the way I went with my first book. And it’s been like running on a treadmill. I’ve had no trouble penning down my ideas; observing, interpreting and communicating; there has been no lack of adventure, emotion, spirituality, romance, comedy or tragedy … no shortage at all. But I have been absolutely bamboozled about how to pull it all together into a book. A single story for you to read. And then came Boetie. If you’ve been following me for a while, you should be familiar with him. Him and I have been siblings for a few lifetimes. Anyway, Boetie – in his way – listens to what’s going on and then throws out the question that perhaps Book Two is a collection of short stories … As soon as I hear it, I just know that this is it.
So, I’ve started a new blog category called Reflections of a Sojourner, where I will be posting bits and pieces of these short stories, poems, anecdotes etc., as I explore this new territory I am being led into. It’s a space of raw creativity, where I imagine that many different voices will speak. So please be aware if this. This is certainly not an area of well polished craft.
My hope is for this to be a collaborative work, and I invite you into the process, welcoming all your thoughts and comments, as contributions to the final publication.
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It was all set. I was on my way to a boutique resort in Central South India, to train a chef in western cuisine, set amidst a nature reserve. Yay! But it didn’t happen like that. 3 days before my flight, it cancelled. Boo! Slight anxiety. Now I’m flying with a one-way ticket into the Forest of Unknowing. Then I land in Mumbai and on my first day in India, I receive an invitation to a deluxe tented safari camp in the desert of Rajasthan. Yay! But then I injure my back really badly and must book into my ashram for 3 weeks of rest and rehab. I’m strongly advised to not lift or carry anything for the next 3-5yrs, and to expect 6 weeks of being incapacitated, before beginning gentle stretching and rebuilding of supporting spinal muscles. Boo!
At this stage, I feel I have every right to be disappointed, but oddly enough, I’m not. I’m watchful. Observing. If unseen forces are yanking me back to the ashram, I just know that Amma is doing something. So I arrive. My mind is set on recovering my physical health. I’ve already booked my train ticket to Rajasthan, 23 days from today.
“You make me laugh with your blog. Are you really planning an ‘after the ashram?!?'”
I get this message from Marie, my dear friend from ashram visit #1 in 2013/2014. She’s right. I should be aware. It’s not the first … second or third time that I’ve been here. But for some reason, I figure this time will be different.
It’s June 19 today. Four days to departure. Guess what? I’ve cancelled Rajasthan. I’m not going to the desert anymore. Everything has changed … or is everything exactly how it always was … only my thinking … the attempts of an insecure mind to cling to its plans, that has changed? Regardless … I’m not going. I’m staying at Amritapuri ashram and here’s why …
There’s silence in the ashram. But it’s different. For example, there’s silence in the exam hall … but somehow it’s not quiet … not Still. But in the ashram, there is Silence. Stillness. An experience of a different kind. It’s a Silence that introduced me to a part of myself I didn’t know. A part of me that is perpetually noisy, even though I don’t consciously hear it. And it’s not just me. We all experience this. Resorts, retreats, spas, meditation and yoga classes are all on a skyrocketing boom around the globe, and testify to this. We live for that two-week December holiday so we can have some peace.
be still and know that I am God
Whether as a biblical quote or in reference to any of the spiritual Masters, Science, Nature or common sense … Stillness and it’s direct link to all things ‘divine’ – Peace, Love, Bliss … – is not denied. Not even by the most argumentative. And yet we refuse. We choose rather, to serve a system that thrives on noise. Anti-Silence. Anti-Christ? Funny people we are. We spend our whole lives running from Silence, the one guaranteed place we have, to know God, fully. Intimately.
This time is not the same as the last time, or any of the times before. This is something new … and there’s a lot of unlearning and remembering that’s happening concurrently …
It’s how I wanted to do it back in 2002 when I began my travels. And I kinda wish I had managed it back then … then, when I was yet un-jaded by knocks and bruises, scars and ruptured discs (both literally and figuratively) … then … when my kahunas were bigger (that’s totally figurative). But it didn’t happen like that and now I’m here.
To Live and Serve has been woven into my core since I can remember … which goes back to this guy He was such a happy kid who did whatever he could, without thought for himself, to bring happiness to others. And then I lost touch with him; Became full of pride … ego driven and selfish. You couldn’t see it, because I was so busy ‘doing good things’. But I could see what was going on inside. I guess that’s why I’ve just sold away the last of my life’s possessions until it all fitted into a backpack, and then hit the road with a one-way ticket and just $1000 (Thanks Mum, for the little farewell boost). Because I feel now is the time to reconnect.
I only started meditating in February last year. I’m not a well practiced meditator. In fact, I think the longest consecutive run of days that I’ve ever managed was at my 15 day retreat in Sri Lanka where I began. Since then, I’ve been sporadic; few days on, more days off … until I feel like I’m suffocating and then do another few days etc. But slowly, slowly, I’m improving. Further training with the Art of Living Foundation, and having access to really helpful resources, is providing me with a ton of support.
So recently, I started using an app called Sattva (thank you Julie), where I can measure my heart rate off my phone. Now it might not be 100% accurate, but it’s pretty close and, importantly, it’s consistent. And that serves my purpose. So I measure my heart rate this morning before I meditate. It’s around 100 – 105. Not very good, especially in the context of an autoimmune stress disorder like Addison’s disease. That heart rate alone, speaks of stress at a subtle and cellular level, of pretty epic proportions. So if I’m serious about overcoming this disease, I must bring that heart rate down. My meds keep me ticking, but they’re not addressing the root. Besides, it’s a fact that prolonged use of corticosteroids weakens bones and joints, leading to osteoporosis … perhaps multiple ruptured discs (?). Anyway, then I meditate for 20min.