Going Light

Light and Shadow, The Magicians, Season 2, Fraserwood Studio, Richmond, British Columbia, Canada
My power drained
The darkness came
And in this isolated
Night of the soul
I must seek the light

The Light Within
Fraserwood Studio
The Magicians, Season 2
British Columbia, Canada

Taken on set, 2016

India is a challenge to travel in so many ways: culturally, logistically, a challenge to remain healthy, a challenge to a traveller’s sense of meaning and purpose in this world. A challenge even to the question, “what was I seeking in India in the first place?”

A friend and spiritual mentor wrote to me after I had already arrived in Delhi…

Have a great time. India has given me extremes. Bliss and misery. It will stretch you farther than you thought possible if you let it.

India has been pushing and pulling me despite all my resistance.

I find myself in Rishikesh, a holy city straddling the Ganges as it exits the Himalaya, a place I had never heard of before departure just over two weeks ago when that same friend and mentor wrote, in what I assumed was an offhand matter, “if you happen to find yourself in Rishikesh, say hello to my friend Swami ________ formerly ……., of Vancouver, now at Sivananda Ashram.”

In reply, I casualy responded, “is it possible to stay at the ashram?”

From there, a pattern of events too tangled to describe pushed me in this direction, and then pushed me harder when I resisted the commitment I had finally made to come to Rishikesh.

Now that I am here, I find myself still resisting. India keeps pushing.

On the first morning after my arrival, India (well, the fragile and twitchy Indian power grid) fried the second of two power adaptors I’d brought for the laptop. Without returning to Delhi, I won’t be able to get another before returning home in two weeks.

So I find myself in one of Earth’s spiritual centers. The computer I use to catalogue, edit and create words and images is disabled. It has also been the main source of distraction from this pushing and pulling that has inexorably lead me here. That distraction is disabled.

Now I am pushed to another choice. I can find other distractions. River rafting, mountain hikes, tour the nearby hilltowns, visit ashrams and temples, and just chill and hang with the flock of Western tourists and adventurers.

Or, I can seek out an intensive meditation and yoga retreat, as I’d initially thought two weeks ago when my friend and mentor wrote that first message,

Why am I resisting this so much, you might ask. For the past few years I have been working too hard and paying too little attention to my spiritual practice. I can make all kinds of excuses, but the fact is that while I remain spiritually aware and a seeker of insight, my practice sucks. Without practice, I stagnate in a semi-comfortable state of spiritual complacency. This can be difficult to break out of if I sense that difficult questions require answers, and difficult commitments must be made.

Such is travel; such is life.

The only question I have to answer today, the only commitment I must make: will I let India stretch me? Because to let it, I must take a step toward it.

I will post again to let you all know how that works out… when I have access to a keyboard which accommodates more than a pair of thumbs. I expect that won’t be until I’m back in Vancouver in a couple weeks… appropriately stretched. Until then, I apologize, I won’t likely be posting to the blog.