Hubs and I went to India last October/November. It would be his first time there but knowing him as I do, I had no qualms that he would adapt and easily go with the flow. In fact, the only problem that I could foresee is that I might not be able to convince him to leave. (In retrospect, I was right about this). Who I was really concerned about was.....me. I am finicky (massive understatement here but I don't want you to think I'm weird...oh oh, I've blown it, haven't I?) about things like hygiene and environmental cleanliness . I have built-in microscope eyes that detect germs with no effort. I can obsess about bed bugs like you can't begin to imagine. I HATE my feet to get (and have to stay) dirty. You get the picture. Add to this the fact that I'd been to India twice before with mummy when I was twelve and then again when I was maybe fourteen and was so miserable, unable to keep any solid food down for weeks. Back then, I think it was the inescapable sight of the poverty and abject suffering of so many people, all at once, everywhere we went that put me in a tailspin. Growing up in Trinidad, this was not something to which I had been exposed and it shocked me out of my naivete. Up until this, I thought that all people pretty much lived like I did: not rich, but certainly decently clothed and shod, under shelter, with running water and sufficient food. Going back now as an adult (well, as much as I will ever be), a part of me really did not know if I'd feel any differently. From the first, all those things I mentioned above, hit me right in face again. And no, I am not about to say that I had come full circle and "enjoyed" or was unaffected by them. But against this backdrop, I'd like to describe one experience for you. It was one among many amazing ones over the course of that journey, but one of the most unlikely for the likes of me to have been in a position (literally) to have had. It occurred during my first visit to the Golden Temple in Amritsar. Shoes are deposited, in exchange for a numbered chit (which you better not lose otherwise you'll be walking barefoot back to the hotel through the streets, OMG, OMG, OMG). You then wade through a shallow pool of water (insert graphic of frantically swimming spirochaetes trying to get in between your toes here). I could not bring myself to look at the water fully, nor could I not look, so I was casting these little furtive downward glances...sufficient to assure me that the water was certainly not pristine (although sevadars change it multiple times a day). So my initial progress toward the Temple was significantly tied up with all this...ugh. Then I walked onto a sort of covered landing at the top of the stairs that one traverses down onto the parkarma (the marble walkway around the Temple and its sacred pool of water), still very much aware of my goopy wet, DIRTY feet, now attracting particulates of all kinds. A few more paces to the top of the stairs....and there....I saw Harimandir Sahib, the temple itself, for the first time. I'd seen pictures of course, but this first view with my own eyes...wow. It felt like all the air whooshed out of my lungs and both it, and I, were flying towards the temple like it was a powerful magnet. I have no adjective in my vocabulary superlative enough to describe the vision of that temple. I definitely was not thinking about feet any longer. And wait, there's more. Descending the steps took me onto the parkarma, directly in front of the temple and without questioning it, I obeyed the urge to bow. Not just a "head and knees bow"....like the pretty little bows I'd make at the end of the pew in Catholic church (being careful to not let my right knee touch the GROUND for too long)...this baby was a full body, stretch-right-out, lay-on-the-ground-prostrate kind of bow. I've seen religious types do this kind of thing before and believe me, a part of me thought it a bit extreme and fanatical. I mean why does one have to lay on the nasty ground to show a love of the Divine, right? I'd had an ungenerous suspicion it was mainly "for show". And here I was, laying down on my belly, all sorts of FEET walking by my head and all I could feel was what a great blessing it was for me to have the privilege to do this, to bow like this in one of the most sacred sites in the world. It is said that a saint sacrificed his/her life on every square inch of that marble walkway and the temple, to defend it, to ensure it was preserved into the future, and I am telling you....I could feel such elemental power and energy and majesty coming out of that marble and into my body. I am not prone to going into what I call "New Age rants", but at the risk of making you roll your eyes, I felt as if all of my chakras were getting a tune-up. For the moments I lay there, I was acutely aware of a sort of energetic umbilical cord, from my navel, through the marble, connecting me directly to the Temple itself and to the Universal Ong of the planet. I felt incredibly loved and incredibly at peace. I go back there again and again in my mind and I cannot wait to physically return, Deo Valente, and discover exactly how long I can lay like that until one of the patrolling sevadars pokes me with the tip of his "respectful behaviour enforcing stick" and bades me to get up. You don't say "no" to those guys. Not even me :-) . Enjoy this beautiful video....as lovely as it is, it cannot come close to being there for yourself. So my prayer is that for all who have the desire to do so, the Universe will open the way to make that happen. And now, I'm gonna go clean my house. 'Cause, like debt, there's good germs and bad germs.
I am a field of awareness. Any thing beyond that is identification with form...