Friday, April 1, 2011
It was easy to come to grips with the striking realization that I had woken up in a distant land, far far from home. Gentle palms swayed in a sultry tropical breeze outside my hotel window. It had taken me 26 hours and I had traversed many thousands of miles to get here. I was now, in point in fact, clear across on the far side of our lovely planet.
My regular past, which I had recently fled from, just a day ago, was being swept away by all the sunbright optimism which is Bali. My existence now was poised in a place which fit snugly into my personal conception of heaven on earth. I could clearly recall how I got here, to this place of incredible natural splendor. Yet somehow, in a strange contradiction, I could not quite get over the notion that everything within me had not settled somehow back into a natural order. Truth to tell, I wasn't exactly sure how to put the scrambled elements of my being back together again in harmony.
It happens to all of us I suppose. Perhaps each and every time one takes a long and arduous International trip. There comes a Humpty Dumpty moment when it feels as though you have fallen off the wall, and a malingering foolish doubt lingers, that just maybe you can't get all the pieces to fit quite all back together again.
Then, when just as the feeling of normality of begins to percolate up through your feet and past your knees, you have to once again enter another identical metal snake and zoom skywards into a stratospheric hell. For me this interminable international journey has only but briefly paused. A momentary respite, barely past half way in Korea, and then on and on again. The torture resumes with more plastic trays, unnecessary trips to toilets. For many there gradually comes an ever growing gnaw, swelling in your guts, that some might call a desperate prayer, for it all just to end.
This is familiar to all who have traveled to far off places. Multiple time zones tumble under your wings until you loose track of where you really are. Certainly you have no idea of what time it really is despite access to a seat back tv that can show you a clear cartoon image of your plane drifting across an infinite expanse of blue.
For me, the first morning in heaven would be a daze. To observe beauty and remain just a little distant and separate from it. A participant, and yet not be sufficiently immersed to feel oneness with this tropical world I adore so much. The solution for me, and it is a simple one, was simply to go out for a walk and explore. Trek the streets of Sanur and hope to catch my bearings. There was no goal other than to simply walk. Feel the heat of an equatorial sun on my back and breathe in the sweet air spilling off from the clear ocean waters nearby.
After a couple of miles of heading straight down the main artery of Sanur I swung back towards my hotel. I took to a smaller path that clung to the edge of the beach. Each step now began to feel like one more small medicinal drop of my self cure. There was nothing to analyze, my meandering movement forward simply felt right. After a while I could feel a gentle shift in the breeze. The wind was changing and when I glanced back over my shoulder I could see a great dark ominous thunder cloud rolling up behind me.
Yet it was in this final last soaking mile of my miserable march back to the hotel that I at last found myself coming fully and comprehensively together. The tectonic plates of my being had at last come to rest. My mind felt a bulb of awareness switch on to full brightness. I was at peace within myself. I had once more become a complete intact entity. I had at last arrived.
The answer for me was simply not to question, but to do. To walk, to move, to act with faith that I would reach my goal. Give no time or moment for hesitation and doubt. Let the world unfold as it does best. My only task was to willingly participate in one of its infinite mysteries, and not wait for miracles to come uninvited, but to step forward as best I can and let them find me as they always do.
Do give me the capacity
To come to You step by step.
I am asking You to bless me
With tiny steps,
Not giant steps,
For tiny steps are safe.
Sri Chinmoy, Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Trees, Part 33, Agni Press, 2003.