Day 140 – everything changed in India

I am ready to leave the guesthouse at 4.30am, but when I get downstairs the gate is locked and the owner is not answering his phone. When the taxi arrives, I have no other choice but to climb the fence. Is it some kind of sign that I shouldn’t be leaving? I am more than excited to get home and see my family, but I also have a feeling that they will need to physically force me, kicking and screaming, through the airport and onto the plane. I wake up early to do pranayama but there is enough time in transit with nothing much else to do but to meditate. I practice a grounding meditation I did once at the start of this journey, over four months ago when I left Sydney. I imagine a thread of light extending form the crown of my head, down through my body, out my feet and deep into the earth, all the way to the core of the planet.

Before I board the third and final plane that will take me back to Sydney from Bangkok I start chatting to a couple of Swiss guys. One of them asks if my trip to India has changed me. As I nod with a smile, I go back to that moment in January when I sat at the airport in Sydney, waiting for a plane to take me to Bali. How different everything was back then. How different I was then.

“Yes, I have changed.”

“In what way have you changed?”

Unprepared for this conversation with a stranger, I blurt out the most honest answer that is available, “Everything. Everything has changed. I have changed entirely.”

When I left Sydney, I was erratic, half full of anxiety, entirely too full of negative thoughts, my hair was long and I was engaged. Now I feel relaxed, centred, excessively optimistic, my hair is short and I am single. Going to Mexico, I realised just how different my spiritual path was to the path that I was on with my fiancé. We had a great time, but I didn’t get to do all the things in Mexico that I wanted to do. I went back to Sumatra feeling once again way too dependent on my partner to keep me happy. I put unfair expectations on him and then when we were separated, I became despondent and by the time I got to Bali, I gave up my power to my shadow by drinking. I was still practicing every morning but with less energy and less prana. After one more week in Bali, trying to find balance I retreated to an ashram and after practising a day of silence for Nyepi, the Balinese Hindu new year, I went to the local salon in Candidasa and shaved off all my hair. By the time I left for India, I had to say a final goodbye to my fiancé, knowing that my spiritual journey had now led me away from our path together and onward on my own. A part of me had no idea what I was doing and I still remember that crippling fear I felt on that first morning in Delhi when I didn’t even want to leave the hotel. Then, meeting our teacher at Sadhana Mandir Trust, the man who shook my world up, yelling out his TLA’s (three letter acronyms) and demanding that I speak about myself in the third person. Three weeks later and I knew that everything in my life had led me to that point. Trekking up to Gaumukh was the single most life changing moment. As I ascended the final metres, I felt that descending force pulling me up and into the frost tipped mountains. Seeing that frozen glacier, I felt like I had entered the kingdom of heaven. They say that Ayers Rock, in the centre of Australia, is the solar plexus chakra of the world. Well then, the Gaumukh glacier must be the world’s crown chakra. It is a physical place where you can reach out and touch god. As I continued through India, praying at temples and visiting ancient forts, I felt the energy of the ancient land, its rich history culminating to create this world of myth. Meeting the children of I-India I was inspired by the people of this world who, despite having no water, no food, no family or no clean clothes; have undying faith in god, and radiate brightness and joy and dance through life anyway. Watching the Bollywood movie with my friends, I realised how different Australian culture was and how lucky I was to be born in a country where freedom of expression is upheld and even if we have no vegetarian burger available at McDonald’s, we at least consider an ‘honour’ killing a punishable crime.

I left Australia with false expectations, attachments and anxieties. I touched the ground of my ancestors. I enjoyed the luxuries and sensory pleasures of Bali. I entered India with fear, was blessed by the Ganges, my ego was burned to the ground, I was chased by a monkey, I walked straight above the clouds and into heaven, I rode an elephant and danced with the beautiful street children of Jaipur. I have become closer to myself than ever before and now feel that my purpose in this lifetime is to search for enlightenment.

What has changed? Besides my body, my mind, my soul, my path? What hasn’t changed as I fly around the world at high speed and high altitude? Well there is no sign of it slowing down. Whether I join a friend and drive/camp to Western Australia, go back to India, Africa, the Morocco or London. I can’t go back now. I have drawn a line in the sand and the only place to go is to keep moving forward. When everything is changing, you have to change everything.

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Day 22 – seed meditation

Finally we have arrived in Los Angeles and I know my blog post is a day late but here I am in yesterday anyway so it works out. I am looking forward to today’s meditation but jet lag is promising to put me into a mild coma if I dare close my eyes so I am waiting for an opportune moment to stand up outside with my eyes open… Some kind of special jet lag meditation…

As for yesterday… Boarding the Bangkok flight to LA we are given the unpleasant surprise 2 hour layover in Tokyo that was never before mentioned on any itinerary. Then told we have to pay another $150 for surfboards. All I could do was shrug. This is travel, I think as I burn the roof of my mouth on a hot chocolate.

Boarding the flight at 5.30am, I wonder if I should bother with a meditation while we are still on the ground but decide the hustle and bustle of the airport probably won’t be very helpful. I wait until we are well and truly flying and finally get my headphones on with some earthy drumming and close my eyes.

I start to visualise my toes moving around in rich soft mud when the visualisation gets deeper. I see the earth rise around me. It’s almost as though I am being buried alive, but in a pleasant way. I have no fear or concern, but feel comforted as the earth slowly builds up around me like a cocoon. I see myself planted in the earth, like a seed, ready to germinate with the promise of new life. It is dark, warm and quiet. If you get claustrophobic then it may be a good idea to keep the head above ground in this visualisation. I’ve heard that in native shamanic cultures, a snake bite victim will be buried in the ground up to the neck and left there overnight so that the earth can draw out the poison and heal the body.

Feeling warm and safe and connected to the earth, even though I am flying above it is a beautiful feeling. I sit for about 20 minutes before eventually opening my eyes to my airplane meal and find real pleasure enjoying my fruit with reverence and a sense of sacredness. I find myself mindful of the land and the tree the fruit came from, the earth it grew out of.

I don’t get frazzled or flighty on this leg of the journey at all. When I try it again at the end of the flight I just fall asleep. Sleep wins again…