I forgot to either wash myself or meditate before bed last night, and I'm pretty sure that was a major factor behind me having some pretty lousy dreams and probably not much by way of proper rest. Meditation is still turbulent: this really must be what Antoine de Saint-Exupery felt like up in the skies, piloting a little biplane buffeted about by gales and storms, his rudder giving him only the most feeble of controls, totally insufficient to overcome the whim of Nature as it sends him here and there. He had the fury of Nature; I have my mind.
I am decidedly not in the mood for running. After the first group meditation, I walk over to where Sri Chinmoy is driving around the block, meditating on those of his students who have made it out this morning. I am standing there in my big puffy jacket, hands in pockets, not even trying to meditate to be honest. Yet without effort on my part, this spinning aeroplane finds a way out of the turbulence, an opening in the clouds appears, to gentler strata of love and gratitude. In the distance, my mind bangs on the door to be let back in; soon it will break the door down, but for now, these few moments, there is peace.
I arrive for for silent meditation; after a long and beautiful silent meditation, Sri Chinmoy again asks those who have been his students for less than four years to come up and say a poem. My first reaction is to give out to myself for not learning at least one aphorism properly after last Friday; then suddenly (and quite timely too I must say) I remember that in my first year as a student, I actually went through a phase of learning many of Sri Chinmoy's older lengthier poems, and I can still recall many of them now.
So things are much calmer this time as I await my turn. In between each aphorism, there is such profound silence, and into this silence I open my mouth and speak. With the first words I uttered, Sri Chinmoy suddenly turned around from his meditative trance and stared directly at me with a concentration so intense that I could feel the focus of his stare in the deepest parts of me. The poem itself has such a metrical beauty, such an offering of one's lowest self to one's highest self; in saying it, in becoming the words of it, one can feel oneself leaving the tiny confines of one's little ego and entering into vastness, the drop surrendering itself to the ocean and claiming the ocean as its own.
Then we went to view some more birds that Sri Chinmoy had drawn, and this time Sri Chinmoy decided to hold a raffle and create bird drawings especially for the winners! Much laughter reverberates around the tent as Sri Chinmoy sweetly assures us of the impartiality of the whole process; that may be so, but many students of Sri Chinmoy have over the years had experiences of receiving something out of similar random processes at the exact time they inwardly needed it....
After 6:30 meditation, I reckon it would be nice to sit down and relax with friends for a while; I head to Annam Brahma , as there is usually a good chance there is someone in there having a bit to eat whom I can keep idle! Anugata is out on the driveway waiting for his takeaway meal to be prepared; it doesn't take much to induce him to come back in again!
Anugata has been a student of Sri Chinmoy's for almost 35 years, and in that time he has swum the English Channel, run the gruelling Marathon des Sables through the Sahara and ascend several of the world's toughest peaks in the Andes and the Himalayas. He was one of a four-man team of Sri Chinmoy's students that ascended Cho Oyu, the sixth largest peak in the world at 8201m. I won't start picking apart every detail of our conversation (people will never talk to me again if they think I'll write down everything they say) but Anugata is certainly well up on my elite and prestigious list of Inspiring People to Talk To; sometimes an inspiring conversation can be as good as a meditation, this one certainly was! In fact we looked at our watches to find we had only seven minutes to the walk-past meditation at half eight, so much for my sweet promises not to be late. We run home, clean and change with a speed honed by years of practice in the Art Of Being A Guy, and half walk, half-run to meditation, thankfully to be on time. The sweet meditative feeling from our talk in the restaurant has stayed with me, and I am a much less thought-strewn being than the one that woke up this morning, as I slowly walk and meditate in the evening silence.
Afterwards, I reckon now would be a good time to write up more of these blog entries whilst inspiration prevails; I do that for a couple of hours and then head to bed.
- Next day: Wednesday 15th ...
- Touching the Crown of a Turquoise Goddess : Chidananda Burke's blog article about the exploits of the four-man team who ascended Cho Oyu.
- The biplane picture above is actually an oil painting by artist Paul Krapf .