I met a lovely Indian lady, when I was about 19 and running yoga classes at University. Before the crazy seventies got hold of me and shook me ’til my teeth rattled. Swami Jyotirmayananda, my teacher, had told me to ask her to come and talk to the students. She was a delightful Indian ‘Bai’ who talked sweetly of things yogic; when she finished I wound up the meeting then went chasing after her on the way to the car park with her driver. Wish I had a home movie of it… picture the scene… serene little Indian lady, shawl around her head, walking and contemplating, then breathless running, footfalls getting closer, suddenly wild-eyed youth, dishevelled hair falling round his shoulders, ‘Please…’, her startled eyes look up at me, ‘…er… what do I do?… to become realised, to understand what I am?…’.
Me & some of my friends at Uni were Yogi chasers. We used to go see all sorts of people. Sure we were hippies, kiddies of the seventies, but we studied philosophy too so I’d like to think we were ..er…choosy. No weird stuff. I mean, we did the Hari Krishna temple in London in about 10 seconds flat… I look at Mick, he looks at me, we crack up giggling and make a run for it! Swami Satchidananda was great but he rambled on a bit as I remember, nothing to get your teeth into. Ok if you want to make nice Beatly songs about peace and love, not a lot of good if you want to sit down & focus, meditate. Oh didn’t I say, we were ‘experience’ junkies as well. Ideas have their place, but experience is all.
Anyway, she decides I’m not mad, grins at me, weighs me up for a moment, then says ‘Just… see light inside, in your head, here’, pointing to brumadhya inbetween the eyebrows. Then walks off. Her half-remembered face reminds me of Anandamayi Ma, who comes in at the end of the story.
Enlightenment… to see light.
Now they’ve got new stuff.
’Be in the now’ they say. I’m an intellectual sort of chap, so I try and get my head round it.
I mean, I try and experience the truth of it as well, of course. I’m supposed to be a yogi.
But I think too. Time exists. Doesn’t it? Albert Einstein said so, and he was
‘considerably smarter than me’.
So when I think of the ‘now’, I go all kind of stuttery, tripping over my thoughts from moment to moment, trying to grasp that elusive moment…. now! no…now!…got it, oh no it’s gone… there it is….coming …here it comes….NOW…aah… it’s gone!
The present moment is all there is. Of course.
Past is memory, it may have happened but I have no connection with it that I can really understand. Not like a book that I return to chapter five, check out some detail of what happened.
Future is just a complete fabrication. The plot of someone else’s movie. Don’t even think of going there unless you’ve got one of them fancy de Loriens with the wing-flappy doors.
Maybe we should call it ‘the Always’. That feels better. The present moment, sure, but spreading out in all directions. It won’t end, only to become the ‘next’ present moment. It is.
I stretch my senses, whispers on the edge of hearing, ’…. this is everything that is, always, and you will never find an end to this moment stretching out into forever’.
‘Before I came on this earth, I was the same. As a little girl, I was the same. I grew into womanhood, but still I was the same. Ever afterward, though the dance of creation change around me in the hall of eternity, I shall be the same.”