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“We spend our days in the familiar world of our five senses, but what lies beyond that, if anything, we have no idea. Those sparrows are hints of something more outside – a vast world, perhaps, waiting to be explored. But most of us are happy to stay where we are. We may even be a bit afraid to venture into the unknown. What would be the point, we ask. Why should we leave the world we know?
Yet there are always a few who are not content to spend their lives indoors. Simply knowing there is something unknown beyond their reach makes them acutely restless. They have to see what lies outside – if only, as George Mallory said of Everest, ‘because it’s there.’
This is true of adventures of every kind, but especially of those who seek to explore not mountains or jungles but consciousness itself: whose real drive, we might say, is not so much to know the unknown as to know the knower. Such men and women can be found in every age and every culture. While the rest of us stay put, they quietly slip out to see what lies beyond.
Then, so far as we can tell, they disappear. We have no idea where they have gone; we can’t even imagine. But every now and then, like friends who have run off to some exotic land, they send back reports: breathless messages describing fantastic adventures, rambling letters about a world beyond ordinary experience, urgent telegrams begging us to come and see. ‘Look at this view! Isn’t it breathtaking? Wish you could see this. Wish you were here.’”
~ Eknath Easwaran, in his foreward to the Bhagavad Gita
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I realize why I haven’t opened the pages of this book until now. Months ago I would have enjoyed the eloquence of this passage but it’s meaning, essence, story- all would have been null at the time.
Here I am, midway between Denver and New York and suddenly the question, “Um, so why are you moving, exactly?” is at the forefront of my mind. Those words, like the words spoken by an intimate friend, keep reverberating through my mind and body. Why am I moving? I feel like during my yoga training the last few months I have been on an emotional rollercoaster to nowhere- flipped around and upside down (quite literally) while I just kind of sat back and tried to “trust the process.” But this is the point in the journey where I have to engage. I have to know, at least to some degree, why I am doing what I am doing.
When I read Easwaran’s words, I felt like I knew why I’m making this leap- maybe not to the point of articulating it, but certainly to the point of feeling it. I’m one of those people he was describing, someone “acutely restless” simply because I know there is something unknown beyond my reach. I know that I can’t attain, explore, or effect whatever it is that is out there for me if I stay put (and how ironic that this post is juxtaposed with one about the familiar and the unfamiliar).
It’s not that I wasn’t happy in Denver- I actually think Denver has seen me the happiest I have ever been- I just know there is something out there and I have to go seek it. I feel the excitement of it all bubbling within my core. And then there’s this little insecurity about not living up to the expectations I have of myself. Then I remember the words of a magnet on my friend’s refrigerator that said, “Leap and the net will appear.” So that’s what I have done…
I still feel so taken by all the love I have experienced in my life recently and I know that each person who has touched my heart is a little piece of this puzzle that I am trying to put together. And if at times it seems like I have disappeared, know that like a friend who has run off to some exotic land, you can expect my reports of these fantastic adventures.
Wish you were here,