When I was young, I would sometimes visit the mountains with my father and brothers. It was always a wondrous time. He would often recite poetry in the car while driving us. He was very fond of Wordsworth, Walt Whitman, Tennyson, and Byron. The words and cadences were difficult for my young mind to grasp, nonetheless always touching some sweet soul-spot deep inside me. I remember this feeling as if it were yesterday. And then the Nature. Ahh, the Nature: so majestic, humbling, shimmering. The Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah National Park in Virginia have this effect: a timeless quality that goes on giving, nourishing, and refreshing.
On our hikes, one of my favorite things was finding the freshwater springs. I was fascinated by the way water mysteriously flowed out from the earth. In autumn time especially, the springs would often be hidden by fallen leaves. I would enjoy to use my hands to clear away the leaves. This of course made the water cloudy but oh, the joy of watching how after few minutes the dirt would settle and the water would become clear — all so very magical to a young lad like me from the city.
One never knows coming into an event such as last weekend’s “Presence of the Master” meditation retreat in Upstate New York which direction things will take. We all arrive late Friday afternoon, everyone coming from all our many different lives and realities. Yet inevitably, the meditations start, and magically the dusty, dry leaves from one’s inner springs clear away, uncovering fresh waters within… which become clear and flowing again, merging with those around us, each of our individual streams meeting, joining, first with one, then another…the flow picking up momentum as the days progress, and suddenly we are one big river moving us all towards what can only be described as an “ocean of being”. It is then that the unexpected begins to happen, that which can’t really seen or predicted before the event starts. Hearts open, silence is touched, roots seek out deeper sources of ecstasy while spirits fly skyward. Yes, I know it sounds poetic. Yet, without a doubt, it is something very tangible, real and precious; something that gives one courage, clarity, and strength to move back into the strong current of Life, embracing its many challenges with a fresh, new perspective.
Arpana, Priya, Viramo: namaste for organizing and making the practicals manifest and flow. Gail: namaste to you and your helpers for the nourishing and delicious food. Musicians Sharabo and Urjo: namaste and thank you for the inspiring music that touched us all. And to everyone, and everything, else: namaste for a really great event. Its ripples will surely resonate on … and on and on.