Mar 14, 2014

Flight or Fright?... The Yatra Of Our Lives.

Flight, or Fright?


    I woke up this morning a bit confused, still somewhere between the dream and waking state and not sure where I was. I had very deep and poignantly informative dreams about shiny empty homes and Universities where I would begin new curriculum, new understanding, relationships and ways of being. I was gazing into my new rooms that had infinite amount of storage facilities yet none of them were used. They had been left unnoticed for infinite years and where just being recognized for the first time by "me". I wondered "why in the world have these storage units of information not been accessed before? What have I been doing all this time?" Possibly my consciousness was emptied to an entire new level of being so that I could finally, really begin, where before I was to full or plugged into something else.  After a 2+ month pilgrimage to India and Indonesia I looked around my bedroom on the bayou in New Orleans… “where am I? This place is so nice, so lovely! Where have I landed now? I just love it here and can't wait to explore!” It was as though I was reaching my most familiar destination for the very first time.

It reminded me of a favorite quote by T.S. Eliot…."We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.

  After some groggy Sadhana I opened my email to read that the Malaysian flight from Kuala Lumpur was still mysteriously missing. It is simply no where to be found. This has never happened before in aviation history. 300 people were on this flight. I was on a Malaysian flight headed to Kuala Lumpur over the Indian Ocean myself the very exact day it disappeared. I missed the other flight by just a few short hours. I remember on that flight thinking that the airline attendants were unusually nervous. At one point in our flight the air was the bumpiest I had ever experienced on all of my flights. It was a wild one. So turbulent that our drinks flew up into the air and spilled everywhere and we were not to move from our seats for the duration of the trip. I considered even at that moment that this was unusual and that something might happen. I was strangely calm about it. Once we landed and entered the airport I saw the headlines about the flight number, just a few numbers different than ours. I looked around and everyone realized this slight by chance fate. It was as thought we were looking at a lottery board and won, but it was a flight departure board and many were missing. I must say it was a bit unnerving and I held hands with those around me in touching gratitude. We could feel and we were still here. The edge of our lives sometimes reveals itself to be quite near, in this case, by just a few simple numbers.

  I thought to myself, “well if I had left my body today I would have had a much smoother flight to the next adventure than ever before, having just experienced deep resolves within myself and others, having close association with many Saints and doing very seriously deep work and sadhana on myself, so stripped down and emptied out.” There might be a thing or two that I still truly desire to experience for a deeper fulfillment of my life’s mission and personal need to evolve, yes, and I am working towards this with full focus now, but truly, I feel the best I have ever felt. It was interesting contemplating even these thoughts as a Jivamukti Yoga teacher/brother that I met in Mumbai on this exact trip, who also was just with Saints and full of memorable laughter unexpectedly left his body right after our pilgrimage together. I learned about his passing while in Bali. I was just with him. His Soul is now in flight and we will miss the body we remember him in.

  A pilgrimage, quest or exploration, called a “Yatra” in Sanskrit, is thought to be a very important part of our personal spiritual journey. I never quite grasped it’s efficacy until making treks to India, as India really can takes it toll on you by deprogramming you. It is quite a bit of money to save, time to get there, long waits in many lines and layovers and couldn’t be more different culturally in every way. The amount of people that live there, the customs, the space, the water supply and quality, the cultural nuances from Caste systems to the treatment of women/Goddess to poverty to animals to the earth’s cleanliness is enough to keep many Westerners home or on edge and overwhelmed as you really have to embody surrender. It is work to get there and be there as it works on "you", or in other words, works your karma out of you. I have dealt with qualities of humility, self image, being female, being in relationship, abundance, "spiritual" and being patient and overwhelmed in India on major scales. I also always come home with deeper appreciation and more profound insights as each time I get deprogrammed to what I got “use to” here. After being put through the washing machine (and not on the gentle cycle) I always yearn to go back for more. It may be because I also experience the most unreal, unimaginable insights, teachings, people and experiences of my life as I set out on these adventures. These explorations have gotten me to shift dramatically (inwardly) each time. Even if every time I am somewhat nervous to go, the overwhelming sensations become an imbibing elixir of overabundance and ambrosia that I remember each time I return home, as though my Soul is happy and yearned for it. 

   A teaching we had with one of Radhanath Swami’s key disciples while at the Govardham Eco Village was an “order” to our Soul’s craving to have experience.

For our Soul’s journey to latch itself into the physical experience so that it sticks and becomes real, one must first:

  1. Hear it. The teachings were traditionally passed on through an oral tradition. There is a reason for this. It is thought we all came from sound. The teachings are best absorbed orally, not visually be reading it or by seeing it. This is exactly why sound and Sanskrit (thought to be the first language) are so sacred and important to us.
  2. Observe it. Next we take the time to assimilate what we heard and what it means. Observations also including reading from spiritual texts or philosophies.This is where we begin looking for it in our everyday experience, all around us.. We try to see if others are doing it, research it, "see" if it is possible, if we can do it and if we really believe it our not.
  3. Live it. Next we do out best to actually live it once we have decided on an intellectual level that it does seem to make sense, so here, we test it out through trial and error. 
  4. Experience it. Through action and following the guidelines we have heard, the way it gets infused into our being, is through an actual experience. Until then, it is not fully lodged in and is still a concept. It is still a bit shaky and unwavering within us. Experience itself is THE WAY into actualizing our meditations, the books we read, the people/role models/teachers in our lives that we look up to. 

You see how the first letters are H-O-L-E… sounded out to be Whole.

   Our Soul desires to have experience, which means all of the teachings must become physical. The two must link for us to finally “get it”. (not just one) This is the reason why getting out of everything we are use to, going on personal explorations and treks, as a spiritual practice, is very important. You may have a  Sadhana ( spiritual practice) that does include meditation, yoga & mantra. Have you considered “Yatra” as one of your Soul’s desires, in the form of an exotic retreat, or personal inner silence retreat, near your home or the other side of the world? It is a vital ingredient to establishing the order of your aim. In India, after all familial obligations are fulfilled, each person is to make this trek and flight, both in and out. It is part of the standard workings of the Culture.

   On each flight I take, I have a deeper understanding of fears instilled within me from within or from my culture or surrounding, of opportunities I overlooked to be kind, of my availability to serve, to love and to ask for and be loved. Without pulling out completely, how are we to know? It is like the classic Zen koan…"ask a fish how the water is".  On personally imposed adventures, whether they look exotic on the outside or not (as some are deep meditations or periods of mauna, silence) I give myself the chance to unplug, whether I think I enjoy being plugged into what I currently am or not. There is thought to be a very deeply ingrained, innate remembrance of being enlightened within us. If we are plugged into falsehoods of any sort, consciously or not, this memory pulls further away from our Soul’s fulfillment and purpose and it is more difficult to access. I personally do not want to let fear rule my experience. I also personally want to be bold enough to live my life fully and wake up like I did this morning, thinking…”where did I land today? It is so exquisite and beautiful.” 

  I want to wake up like this every day and each time I go on a “Yatra”, I find a complete cycle ascending into a new brilliant one, with less gaps of lackluster, uncertainty & imbalanced restraints in my life. What if each day, every day, you woke up wondering “wow, where did I land today? It is so brilliant!"
Yatra helps us to step back and consider…”am I living in flight, or in fright?”. Please choose flight, and if you are uncertain as to how to begin to pull out as you may be afraid of what will indeed be sustained and remain once you begin “undoing", find a  well versed, well intended flight attendant that wants you to find your inner guide. If each day becomes a Yatra, you will know it because you will find yourself in the flight attendants role with your Soul saying "Welcome aboard. Fasten your seat belts. In case of emergency, place your mask on first before assisting others, and most of all, Enjoy your trip!"

  What are you waiting for?  I am talking to you. Love someone new now.  Tell someone you love them. Give someone a secret service or offering without them knowing it was you. Tell them something. Forgive someone. Make love to someone you love. Let go. Move on. Let them Be. Face your fear. Walk your dream into being. Befriend your Soul. Live up to your purpose. Be Real. Be bold, wild and joyfully humble. Be a lover. Enter and be love itself.  When did you plan to start living?  Do you wish to live in flight, or in fright?  We just don't know when it all could change on this particular life pilgrimage we are on.  

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