Ferry Rides and Seeing Clearly

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“The power that has created the eye can see.” ~ Swami Radha

After riding the ferry twice a day every couple of days I’ve become accustomed to the way my eyes play with the water. I stare out toward the lake the boat rushes over and every time I look away at something stationary, the movement doesn’t stop. Eyes settle on ripples over waves and then shift and suddenly the mauve metal floor is dancing, brushing past me in the opposite direction the water was.

I’m amazed at how easily my sense perceptions can twist reality.

The Kootenay Lake Ferry is the longest free ferry in Canada. This past week and a half it’s been 35 minutes of unexpectedly chatting with friends I haven’t seen in years, sitting quietly with my journal, eating dinner or mentally filling amethyst beads with mantra as they roll through my fingers. Yet every minute of it is informed by my fallible sense perceptions.

Can I really trust my eyes?

Tonight we had satsang, the Ashram’s nightly devotional gathering, down at the beach around a bonfire in an early celebration of the Fall Equinox. Instead of Aarti, our usual ritual to symbolically ask that our sense perceptions be purified, a First Nation’s resident led us through a smudge. They’re quite similar, these two rituals. We blended lineages and sang to Divine Mother while gathering around Chuck, waiting for our turn.

Standing in front of him, Chuck offered me smoke from the sage while lifting up prayers to the creator. I turned around and he waved smoke all around me with the forceful flick of his feather. I could hear it breaking through space; each wispy tip responded to friction the air provided.

It felt more real that way, like all of my senses were engaged in the process of purification.

Will they ever be purified enough to not get tricked into thinking the ferry floor moves like melting ice cream?

I like to notice these shows my vision puts on for my mind. It’s not just caused by the steady movement of a ship along water. Sometimes it’s a ceiling covered in splattered knowckdown, or lights along a straight flat line of a prairie horizon. I sometimes stare at things until they shift into other things. It helps me remember that what I’m seeing is just a false representation of Reality. It’s been said that the entire universe, its vast and infinite expanse reaching out into the cosmos, is merely dust under Divine Mother’s holy feet.

I’m grateful for these ferry rides to help me remember that my eyes can’t see everything that is. I’m grateful I get hints there’s so much more.

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