Churn and Burn

Apr 6, 2005

The back-pack on my shoulders feels really heavy, my kurta is drenched with sweat, the mosquito bites on my feet pale in comparision to the peeling skin and aching joints, my calves are about to give in completely. This is kilometer number 24, in the noon heat, and the bandana on my head isn't helping much. But most of all, uncertainty hurts most. We don't know where we will eat lunch, let alone where we will spend the night. Just the thought of sleeping under some tree somewhere in this condition is tiring.

And you have to be constantly vigilant. One unaware move and you can get in deep trouble, through these remote terrains.

"So, what sensations are you feeling?" I ask Guri. Simply looking at Guri is a source of strength for me; she's shorter than me and has walked the same amount, proportional to her body weight she's carrying much more weight, and no matter what comes up, she's always focused on digging deeper. This is no longer just will power, it is in-your-face cultivation.

"Oh, I'm feeling a lot of gross sensations right about now," she jokes. "Yeah, I guess this is the real test. We have to be equanimous to all this." Ok, ok, let's try to meditate while walking," I speak out-loud, really talking to myself.

We find an intriguing temple (will write more about it later), whose resident saint, somehow, immediately invites us to lunch and lets us rest in the temple shade. I sleep on the marble floor for an hour as Guri meditates. :) In the afternoon, we head to Swami Satchidananda's ashram that someone had told us about; he invites us to spend the night at the ashram and we accept.

I wake up at midnight. I'm exhausted, I'm sweating despite the fan on high, I have a complicated physical situation that takes me to the bathroom every couple minutes, and the mosquitoes are circling us in full force. I'm feeling burning sensations. "This is it, Nipun. No way out, buddy. You asked it and here it is." I fumble in the dark to find the bathroom and flip the light switch. Couple of bugs welcome me. After a couple trips, I lay on my cot, feeling horrible. To top it off, I'm worried about tomorrow -- what if I get sick? We have no home. Where am I going to go?

All of sudden, the "trust in the universe" idea isn't so appealing anymore. :) I look to the other cot, and see Guri sleeping safe and sound. "This is just happening to me. Churning and grinding, my internal junk coming out. Just go with it," I try to give myself a pep-talk. It doesn't work. After a while, I just give up. My arms fall loose, I lie down on my back, and I close my eyes.


I wake up at 6AM to a knock on our door, refreshed and in perfect health.

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