Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Four Directions...never lost

I had exactly 20 minutes to get to the Warehouse in Jersey. It would be a feat in and of itself to get there and be able to put on the show of my life. I ran through Times Square, seeing flashing lights off in the distance and breathing hard to catch my breath after many start and stop again sprints. It was time to make a good impression, but I knew I was cutting it close. In my frenzy, though, I had a yogic chant blaring in my ear.

ganesha sharanam, sharanam ganesha; ganesha sharanam, sharanam ganesha

It felt like the first time I had ever really seen Times Square. Off in the distance, the blaring horns of the cabs, the homeless men begging for cigarettes, the bright lights and excitement of the Madam Tussad's, Olive Garden and Cold Stone all in a row waiting for tourist patronage. Feeling beads of perspiration, I tried to ignore the fact that my coat was too heavy for this time of year. It was a gorgeous, yet chilly Spring day. Then, it happened, the combination of the chanting, my racing heart and a tree that I had never noticed before, slowed the shutter of my mind down to simple photos. The bloom of the tree took me back somewhere magical. It was as if I had taken a quantum tranquilizer, and everything progressed like slow moving images. There, plain as day, were the inner lights of humanity on display. Some where dim, some were brightly light with excitement and hope and still others were extinguishing at a rapid rate. Auras on display. The sadness of the human condition was extinguished by the popcorn blossoms in the distance. How long had it been since I watched a tree bloom?

ganesha sharanam, sharanam ganesha!

The chant promised the removal of obstacles, and here was this bright sun and life, as I had never noticed it before, coming towards me. The sadness in the face of some was too much to bear. As I slowly turned, internally, there was a compass that was leading me to the gate I would have to go out of. Everything seemed slower. Even now, the cursor and my typing seem to crash down at an almost stopped rate. I had to hurry, I had to make my bus, I had to run!!!

In the corners of my mind, I remembered how often I would laugh at people who had travel anxiety. This was not an anxiety to leave the City, although I do admit to suffer from separation anxiety when I pack my bags and watch my loved City disappear in the distance. No, this was a community. This was my family, as I had seen them on display in the streets, so asleep, yet so much a part of my experience. I stood in the Port Authority, with the chain stores each beckoning my attention, and the stress of so many faces on parade. That is when it appeared. The knowledge of the four directions that I had brought with me from sweat lodge.

The chief had sprinkled bear claw shavings in the hearth, and said, "Migwich" to the buff, scantily clad farmer boy who carried the molten rocks in. I surpressed my sexual urges and tuned in. She began the ceremony by making a cross with her hand. She began to chant in a native language, which strangely seemed familiar to me. She spoke to us in the darkness of the tent, and all that was seen was burning embers of the bear claw residue. "There was a time when this motion meant the four directions. It was not what was taken from us. It was not symbolic of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. It was the four directions. Mental, physical, spiritual and emotional compasses that provide inner guidance. You can never be lost again, for this will be your compass." Yet, here I was, in the middle of Port Authority with no clue as to where I would go next.

The sweat began to pour down my face. Asking numerous "authorities", I was sent in four directions. Each door I went out of, I would feel the steamy stench of asbestos hit my senses like a truck. Retreating back in the depressed artificial lighting, I remembered that day, that spiritual experience, and the reason that even this 'stress' did not penetrate the way it once would have. "I have to get to Jersey in 20 minutes. I have no idea where I'm going. I will be okay, though," I soothingly said to myself. Mothers with babies ran by, everyone, it seemed expereriencing the confusion I felt. Then it opening in the middle of the floor, like a compass. I could hear the explanations, North: giving it away; South: compassion and healing; East: the door to the direction you are headed; West: the door of intention. Intention...I looked at the rushing people, and felt a little less like a New York in that instant. Something greater than myself, spun my heel in a semi circle and I almost went skipping across the high gloss tile, down the escalator, gliding miraculously to my gate.

When my ticket was collected, the chant slowed down to a halt. Breathing heavily, I took a deep breath. Not sure of what had transpired, and lost in thought, the bus slowly pulled out of the gate. We were in the sunlight once again, and I could see the stadium off in the distance. "How long had I had this compass?" I wondered, as the last beads of sweat formed on my brow. Time. The human construct, yet necessary barometer of measurement, had been on my side this time. Perhaps I was leaving the tribal beats of the City drum, but for a brief moment, I was connected by something greater than myself, and I found the direction within. The one that is infinitely connected to Source. For the first time in a long time, I felt lucky. I did.

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posted by Rumi @ 4/18/2007 11:26:00 AM |


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