From the time I was a little girl, I dreamed of being in India. I remember creeping around the living room on a bitterly cold day in Northern New York (no kidding about the cold, as I write this it is -23 degrees, F. in Watertown, -37 degrees factoring in wind chill). I remember knowing that was driving my very neat mother crazy with all this leaping and knocking sofa cushions off and so on, knowing my twin brother really wasn’t into my game, that he was just along for the ride letting me narrate an adventure in an imaginary India because it was too cold to go back outside.
I didn’t care what they thought. I was seeking something, padding through a gorgeous jungle going towards something I couldn’t name, my black panther consort by my side. Are there black panthers in India? Who knew? It was as if I was practicing something–practicing for something–that I somehow knew without knowing in any literal way. I was practicing another way to be in this world. In that grand and innocent way that children have, I knew I could be brave, free, and noble way that I didn’t actually know. For me, nobility didn’t reside in Middle Earth or English kings and queens and or any rugged American superhero but in India. And it had something to do with being in tune with the beautiful life around me, fully embodied, a regal little island unto myself, yet having the whole jungle including all the animals on your side.
Many decades later, I sometimes feel an echo of that childhood knowing. While meditating or walking or sometimes in nature I sometimes fleetingly sense there is a finer sensation to be sensed, an energy in us that belongs to a greater life. This energy is not separate from awareness, from knowing, from the light that surrounds us and is always seeking a way in. This is what I’ve learned since childhood: the light takes us as we are, broken and uncertain as we are. The light does not judge us as we judge ourselves. It seeks us, and it blesses everything it touches.
Right I am now actually packing to fly to India on Sunday, and I have to smile at how un-noble and un-princess-like I really am. There is seemingly no fear beneath me: I imagine losing my passport, my connecting flight, my companions, that I will have all the wrong clothes (gasp). Worst of all, I imagine being on retreat at the Gandhi ashram (where I’m bound, for “Gandhi 3.0”) and being revealed to be…myself. Worn down by jet lag and away from my cozy nest of habits, I will break down and show my wonderful Indian hosts and companions just how small and spoiled and un-noble I really am. Than I remember the light, and that just as we are we are invited to see and feel and be the truth.