< New Pictures in the India Album

Always thought myself to be an ocean girl…but my god…after spending only a few weeks in the Himalayas, my heart has expanded exponentially. And while meditating on a cliff I realized this; that what I love about the ocean, is that it fills me up, till I’m overflowing in its essence. But what I love about the mountains, is that they sweep me completely clean, so that I become almost a hollow vessel for life to just flow through…an invigorating breeze of the earth’s essence. (And it seems I desperately need this “grounding.”)And so now I am hopelessly in love with both! Does anyone know where in the world one can settle with these two lovers? Where the mountains spill into the sea?

So people are constantly asking me, “what’s your favorite country” – and if you have traveled extensively, you know that there is no answer to this question. One thing I recently learned about myself is that I judge most things in this life by how “useful” they are. Utility is everything (for me). This is why I have such disregard for the rules, laws, traditions and customs of life (particularly of “civilized” society)…take a wedding for example; cakes with figurines on top, flying garter belts, bridesmaids in matching dresses, uniformly uttered vows, expensive diamond rings…none of this stuff makes any sense to me. (At all.) So I (personally) don’t want anything to do with it. But the issue with this line of thinking is that I keep extending it…till now I’m at the point where my question is not just, “does it make sense and is it useful?” but, “will this activity advance my understanding of life or contribute to the advancement of humanity as a whole?” These are BIG questions though! A bit of a burden to carry with me. But I can’t seem to ignore or deny them and I would live in serious internal pain and conflict if I did.

As already stated, I came to some serious conclusions out there in those mystical mountains; I realized that my place is not in the United States. American society has a serious sickness, as all societies do…but because it is where I was raised, I seem more susceptible to the disease…whereas, when I am outside of the States, at least I can easily recognize, identify and avoid the symptoms . Neither is my place on a homestead. My place may not even include a family (by any conventional means anyway). (It seems that a lot of life learning is just realizing what and who you are NOT). Actually, I’m not really sure where my place is at all — but at the same time, I know that I am EXACTLY on the right path. Funny how confident I feel in the middle of such uncertainty!

So getting back to that question a few paragraphs ago…”what’s your favorite country”…well, based on the factor of “utility” I can now definitely say: India. For India has changed me. India has thrown everything upside down and pulled me inside out. Eastern philosophy and spirituality turned out to be my perfect bowl of porridge. I have suddenly found that all my ”silly” spiritual intuitions, instincts and hunches are all found *literally* written in *Sanskrit* stone here. And being surrounded by sadhus, swamis and others who have devoted their lives to understanding our place in the universe has somehow allowed my own inner swami to emerge from her cave. I realize now that although my travels will continue to take me down many roads, the spiritual journey is my primary path. (ala Ben Harper: “there are countless roads to travel, but only one road to freedom”) I understand now, and finally allow, that the question of the meaning of my life, our life, all life, will permeate my every waking and walking moment. And that’s just all there is to it. Almost sounds simple. And perhaps it is. Cause as a concept it sounds absolutely daunting. But one day at a time…one breath at a time – it’s natural, easy…and delightful. Of course this “pilgrim” phase of my life and the exploration process involved give me chills (and a few tears) of joy almost every day. And I treasure this movement, this constant change, this never-ending stream of stimuli. At the same time, the inner sadhu/swami/yogi inside of me craves a cave – a place where everything stands perfectly still, so that I can feel the movement and explore the darkness and paths within. These paths (inner, outer) and persons (pilgrim, cave-dwelling-swami) have to converge somewhere right? Perhaps they already are…

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