I know the way back now. I used to get lost for weeks, months, years, so consumed with the busyness and chaos I couldn't even breathe, let alone feel to the depths of my being. After practice - years of yoga, meditation, retreating for a few days at a time into the profound silence and peace of an ashram, a meditation centre, I started to touch that depth. I got glimpses of a place of silence inside of me that just sees life happening; watches as things arise and fall and doesn't need to respond. The part of me that can witness it all and still be there, standing at the end of the day. A little wind blown maybe, but standing nonetheless. Because I know that place inside of me exists, it is easier to go back there after the storm. The periods of stress, anxiety, emotional upheavals, they arise, but they don't linger as long. Even during them, I know that there is a place of steadiness and contentment inside of me.
My first peak was at an ashram in the Bahamas, Sivananda, yes I know, tough to meditate and practice yoga in the Caribbean. Regardless, it was during this 7 day retreat, spending 2 hours a day chanting and meditating, 3 hours a day practising yoga, eating wholesome healthy food, surrounded by like-minded people supporting my practice, engaging in selfless acts of service (washing the dishes, cleaning up), and of course reading and swimming on the beach, where I saw beneath the surface. Somewhere on the 3rd day, I started to become aware of my thoughts. All of a sudden I noticed I was incredibly consumed by what I looked like, what I was going to wear each day, pre-planning my free time's schedule. I began to realize even in paradise I was judging other people around me, judging myself for not being "good enough" at the yoga, pushing myself to sit upright for 30 straight minutes cross legged on the floor, no cushion, even though it hurt like hell. Basically, I was caught up in the world of my thoughts, in my head and missing the views, the fresh beach air, the feeling of my body as it swam through the water.
The path back to wholeness is well worn by now. Travelled and well lit, I don't need a flash light, I know the way by heart. A journey into the bush, stuck in the mud, surrounded by tree branches tangled in my hair, bats flying everywhere, the chaos, the fear, the scary noises...All of it arising, but like a good friend something pulls me back to the path. Over and over again. Now I don't tend to stray too far or as often. The driver sees me, stops and returns me to the right place, of freedom and of my heart.
Deep breaths, body awareness, resting, quiet. The silence brings me back to the path. The truth without all the coverings and the stories of my mind. The noise distracts, confuses, we look around, up, down, and wonder where is the origin of the noise, the din, it keeps us distracted, searching. But only when we close our eyes, cover our ears, tune out the clatter, do we find the truth. The path again. Within the silence is wisdom, profound deep knowledge of us as greater than we can even imagine. Knowledge of the creator of our world; knowledge that we are all connected to one another and to that creator.