The theme of losing things had followed me the last little while. A fancy pen, my i-pod and charger, a cheque and gift certificate. All misplaced in languid moments of absentmindedness. Decidedly my attention has been other places. I’ve been gathering gems of the last three years of my life, how have I learned and grown in my time at the Ashram.
In January, 2011 the day I came back to take the YDC, I remember arriving in the bookstore, checking-in, and my bags being sledded to my room with the help of the Karma Yogi Sherpa’s. After depositing them in my chosen corner I headed off the to Divine Mother prayer room to reacquaint myself with the place after my four-month absence. Chanting Om the wooded enclosure held me in this vibrational embrace. The mantra bounced against the walls and around the altars in the room, this space that Swami Radha had lived in when she first started the Ashram. It lifted and faded, resonating away until only the overtones were still audible. They seemed to go on and on, oblivious to the fact that I had stopped chanting, that the harmonium was no longer being sounded. It’s like they existed on a different plane, seeming to be above my head yet not in a physical way. More like this ethereal place that only the inner ear can access.
I sat in this room last Sunday, my last reflection day at the Ashram, chanting, this time, to the cosmic lovers Radhe and Krishna. Instead of oscillating mantra filling the spaces, in the stillness after mantra a question arose. I’d been outside a lot that day, really soaking up the sunshine and energy of the place, knowing I’d be leaving on Friday and spending a lot of time thinking about what I would take forward, what was different in me. It was exactly that question that arose in the silence of my chanting: “How will I know that I’ve changed”.
A few days later I was walking to the temple early in preparation for offering my last Satsang and the word “continuity” came to me. It wasn’t just the change I wanted to capture; it’s the continuity of how my essential self comes forward. There’s less junk in the way after being cleaned off with all these practices over the years. The change has been discovering how to express who I really am. The essential self I interact with inside of me remains the same. The greater depth I’m able to engage with myself, the greater depth I can share with others.
Extricating myself from the Ashram in the tangible, physical reality this week was a process. It was a process of discovering what I’ve learned and gained, and a process of committing to continue the work in whatever new situation I create for myself. In that extrication process I also discovered every last article I had been missing. The fancy pen, the i-pod and charger (ironically each in different completely differnet illogical places), and the cheque and gift certificate. Taking these items symbolically I feel a great sense of abundance and support, like I have all the tools needed in order to step forward joyfully and creatively. Which I will do – one step at a time.