Notes from Before The World Changed

Notes from Before The World Changed

Apr 20 2020

So looking back, through the present hazy lens of COVID-19 apocalyptic reality, here’s some highlights from this year’s trip to India:

  • Learned that I absolutely love guiding people on their first adventure in India. Four brave friends came with me this year. Their first night, after I picked them up from the airport, we  traipsed across the Rham Jhula (foot bridge) across Ma Ganga (Ganges River) carrying backpacks and luggage to Parmarth Niketan Ashram. There were Aarti (fire ceremony) bells clanging, cows mooing, horns honking, smoke and incense wafting, sun setting, tuktuks chugging, water rushing, priests chanting, wandering orange robed saddhus (homeless holy people), dogs barking, merchants hawking their wares, monkeys jumping… I could empathically feel all these sensations landing in the sponge soft senses of the four universes walking behind me.  As we walked, it was like I got to experience it all for the first time over again, leaving my small self behind and stepping into this immense lap of culture, chaos and devotion.
  • Fell in love with a provocative wild-haired Indian Rishikaa (female spiritual teacher) who wears red and is unsettling the patriarchy by saying that Enlightenment is the ultimate “accomplishment” of the Ego (!!)
  • Accepted the “reality” (whatever that is) that I don’t actually know how to love another person. Then was invited to love that part of me who doesn’t know how to love, and this practice/thought-form completed some very important part of me, like a master plug finally finding its socket.
  • After feeling quite rattled by my conversation with my Inner Convict during a Shadow Work session, am now convinced that he may be the keeper of soo many secrets of my inner landscape.
  • Reunited with my Indian friend Tasneem and we made a soul sister pact to find the living Tantra tradition in India, and the hidden pockets of sex-positivity. Also realized that what the Osho “movement” was lacking in the 70s was an understanding of consent. Betty Martin’s Wheel of Consent could have saved them all those machine guns, maybe!
  • Reaffirmed that freshly cut, ripe, sweet, juicy papaya could indeed be used as earthly bait to entice me to re-incarnate after my soul has left this plane. I’ve always loved papaya but this year we came to a new kind of engagement.
  • During a sunrise to mid-afternoon Medicine Walk in the jungle, I came to know, in the most real way I have ever felt, that life happens FOR me, not TO me.
  • Learned how to get my mouth to make the sounds of the Gayatri mantra on fast forward so that it is possible to say 10,000 mantras in one morning. And it’s actually a special kind of spiritual fun.
  • And lastly, I learned that if there is any place in the world that I want to be quarantined more, it is right here in the Red River Gorge. I love India and its wonders and mysteries, and yet as soon as I realized that things would be shutting down, I became powerfully magnetized to getting home as soon as possible, pressing my feet into the cushy green moss and tickling the fern fringe.

Am I going back next year? I sure hope so! And hopefully with another sweet group of pilgrims, ready to open hearts and minds to an entirely new way of experiencing reality and themselves.

Hari Om