Tuesday, November 06, 2007

The Call to "Sadhu it"

I don't want to go back to the US. I just want to walk in the India mountains. A pilgrim. A sadhu. A sack with a sheet of plastic to lay on. A sheet to wear. Maybe two. Maybe a sketchbook. A stone for an altar. A handful of rupees.

I just want to walk about on the Earth and feel Her through my feet. Feel the song of the Universe in my soul. Feel the Life Force aka Reiki aka Unconditional Love emanating from the trees and plants and everything.

In India I can do this. Roads are walkable. Especially pilgrimage routes. Tea houses, food stalls, ashrams etc provide accomodations. No need to carry anything. Easy to trust.

Sadhus roam. Ashrams house. I am only an oddity in that I am white and pierced. To sing. To walk barefoot. No one will think that strange.

Part of me knows I can do this anywhere. Communion with the Universe, Spirit, Life Force...whatever you want to call it... is possible anywhere. The vibration abounds.

And yet there is more clutter to go through. In India no one will think I am crazy. Pedestrians abound. In the US, people would think different.

In the U.S., cars cellpones, freeways all clutter the path. Gadgets and consumables distract. Thoughts of "what am I doing with my life" plague me. Dollars become a barrier. Still I know somehow the same abundance and life force pervade it all... just through a different veil.

I was receiving Reiki the other day and I nearly burst away in glee mid session... like a happy rebirth! Then the "healer" grabbed my feet. Pain from part of my sole where I pushed too hard in my 105 km barefoot pilgrimage 3 months ago. The first day I walked 40 km in a frantic intention to find my friends from Sikkim. I didn't find them. I spoiled my feet and my chance to enjoy 8 days of leisurely walking the 105 km. I ignored my feelings in the moment. The Reiki brought to my face this pattern of trying too hard to transmute an uncomfortable present for some future intent.

The "healer" suggested I focus on some experience of joy... I remembered a great lover I enjoyed for an evening only to never see/hear from him again.

My nomadic life is chaos. My life as a whole is one of non-attachment... at least in theory. Many parts are non-attachment in practice as well. Virtually all I have ever know I have abandoned. My suburban childhood was abandoned for horse and buggy. My horse farming was abandoned for coming out in San Francisco. My life has changed radically from naive suburban boy to graduate student to itinerant horsefarmer to Reiki healer/artist/whore in San Francisco to nomadic world adventurer. One of my friends suggested I am a Radical Faerie American Sadhu.

My erotic life, once ecstatic, has fallen by the wayside in my travels. So lame I have transcended it. Tossed about from town to town and continent to continent at eh whim of my intuition such that I can't seem to remember why I am here when I get here. The fight between ego and intuition leaves me miserable at times. The ego second guesses the intuition. It sees the good in every place... often seeing the good in the place I am not.

After 3 years of being nomadic I felt like I regained my center a few weeks ago trekking in the Uttarkhand mountains. Joy in every step. Reiki all around me. I realized I need to make this trekking a part of my life now.

I see that the ability to do a walking pilgrimage is one of the unique gifts of India. And I am ready for more!

But now my Spirit says to go to the USA to visit my aging relatives. And I feel torn. I feel fear of loosing my center again.

The last few days I have felt the call to abandon the US. I felt like I reached a point of non-attachment with my life there. But then the call to visit family comes. What to do?

Almost a year ago I was meditating in an ashram in Florida and I got the message "Get rid of three things every day until you have nothing and then you will find yourself!" After the initial period it was clear I could accumulate, but always channeling three things a day away. These gifts could be on physical or spiritual levels. The larger context of giving and receiving.

Since then I almost get to the point of doing it... getting rid of everything... not really following instructions, but rather doing it in one lump. Its great until I get to my pack and see my things. I can't get rid of my money belt or passport. Then there are the bank cards. The toothbrush and floss sneak in. Then I think of trekking and how the fleece will be handy. Pretty soon I feel stuck with the whole damn bag of stuff! And I laugh at myself.

I think back to my pilgrimage in August when I lived for 2 weeks out of a small shoulder bag. A sheet of plastic to sleep on. A couple of cloths to use as a "skirt" or shawl. A tee shirt. A pair of underpants. A pair of soft shorts. Sunscreen. A notebook. And a torch (flashlight). The pilgrimage was barefoot... no need for shoes. A photocopy of my passport and a few rupees sufficed. Tea stalls and rest houses lined the pilgrimage route. It was a joy to travel so lightly. Catching a bus or train felt like a whim. It was heaven.

A few weeks ago I scattered my backpack's contents across the bed. I saw the reality attached to each item. winter clothes meant I would never learn Tumo, the Buddhist technique for generating innner heat. My flashlight meant I would never trust my night vision completely. The list of email addresses meant I would not trust the universe to bring me face to face with whom I was meant to interact. The watch meant I would not trust my inner guide. Item by item I saw the chosen and unchosen realities. Rather then trusting the Universe to provide me with shelther when I needed it, I carried a tent. And also rather than trusting the Universe to provide me with a tent when I decide to go backpacking/camping... I carried a tent.

Collectively my belongings meant I could not walk out the door on a whim.

It's neither good nor bad... nor right nor wrong. In ways I see how I live the American version of the sadhu with just a bigger sack of stuff. Sadhus carry a blanket or two tied into sacks with their stuff. Chilom perhaps. Torch. Alms bowl. Perhaps some medicinal herbs or salves. A walking stick. Their stuff is not high tech nor ultralight. My walkabouts cover continents. I can't depend on ashrams to house me. My list of stuff is bigger. The lightest travellers are the students or working class. They can afford restaurants and lodging with blankets. So they can step out with the clothes on their back.

I think of how I can carry myself as a sadhu back to the states to visit my aging relatives. If I would abandon my outdoor sports.. hiking, climbing, camping... it would be easy. I reflect on the vision I had of myself as an old man carrying nothing. No journal. No sketchbook. No camera. Too busy living life to bother recording it. I wonder if and when I will adapt that vision. Perhaps it was merely a dream. Perhaps I have some years of climbing and camping first. Or perhaps I am just fighting destiny....