mental experience


Left over Art Project on the Lawns of Tagore’s Visva Bharati University

I don’t actually remember how to compose without a keyboard, so now you get my journal short-sentence scribbles. Welcome inside my head…

On my own again; I find my intuition welcoming back my company like childhood friends latching arms and holding hands. Renewed and heightened awareness, skipping by my side, I feel again the space between bodies and mine and the currents that run in between. And it feels like breathing. Navigating the sea of India, I swim again. I remember now, why I love travelling alone so much.

A Buddhist monk recently linked two words together in a new order that pushed the first domino on a chain of thoughts. He said, “mental experience,” and I realized that I had found the answer to a hundred questions.

How do you know which path to take? Why aren’t you afraid? How do you explain your relationship to the divine?

Mental experience.

I walk past tens of thousands of stares along my way to my platform at the Kolkota train station. I break a few of those stares to help me with directions. When I find my seat, I warm off the stares of those sitting in my berth and spend two hours in discussion on India’s current battle with a tidal wave of marketing and materialism at the stakes of India’s spirituality and heart. (But the fact that I’m (even) having this conversation with three 18-year olds proves to me that India’s heart still holds the advantage. I wonder if I’ve ever heard any reference to any heart of America not attached to the head of a blond Hollywood celebrity?) Eyes peer around corners at me and passerbys linger. Few ever bother me. But this time there is one. I wait patiently and finally turn around and look him in the eye, raise a hand, wag a finger and tell him to, “Stop. Go away.” He jumps at his recognition, tosses his cigarette out the window, turns around and disappears. A woman in the cabin nods her head in approval of the code of discernment I have learned. The same of which a foreigner would question and I would have replied: mental experience.

My two months of daily Hindi classes are starting to bob apples to the top. Precious communications like, “you are telling me lies” and, “I really like this country, of all, it’s my favorite” have been especially effective in bringing down haggles and warming up smiles. Still, my skills failed me yesterday when I tried to tell my taxi driver, “No, your ‘brother’ is not allowed to come in the taxi too.” Yet somewhere in the efforts of failed communications with the brother, mental experience told me that, this time, it was okay. As it turned out, it was only the brother who knew how to get me where I was going.

Oh, you’re seeing where I’m going with this? Yes. Mental experience is a blend of trust, intuition and faith that the universe is working in my favor, but it is not blind and it is not uneducated and it is not momentary; it is a confidence based in evidence that I have witnessed and earned through the thousand tried experiences of following my heart. It is a hundred at-the-moment unsolved mysteries, that upon exploration and reflection and the passing of time, were understood all to be for my greater good. It is a million mental steps off unknown edges upon which my feet found solid ground. It is the bookless and wordless education that musicians and artists earn in their midnight manic hours. And I imagine that, when it is perfected, it is what allows beings like Jesus to walk on water and the Buddha to chose his incarnations.

But I would have to sit the rest of my life under a tree to walk that far. I guess I would put myself at about 7 years old in mental experience, where the world is my jungle gym from which I’m not afraid to hang upside down, but when I investigate the grass and find the decrepit wings of an aged butterfly losing the fight to muster a last flight, I still cry. I think, a few years ago, I posted an entry about wanting to get back to age 7. Well it took me a lot of world wandering, but I think I’m almost there. 🙂

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*sol bows her “namaste” and gratitude to World Nomads Travel Insurance, ThinkHost and Merc for their ever-supporting roles in the realization of her dream.

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