The sky above is grey and I’m standing in the middle of a lawn the size of a football field, it’s perimeter lined with Oak trees.
There are clusters of people peppered all around, the general age range between 20 and 40. Most are holding folders, binders and laptops.
It seems we’re on a university campus.
I’m not associated with any of these groups and am standing alone amongst the crowd. As I sift through the maze of people towards the Oak trees, I find a magazine on the floor behind some students engrossed in a discussion. It’s an outdoor magazine with an article on some mountaineering expedition. My eyes are filled with wonder and scan the pictures with curiosity until someone makes a noise directed at me.
It’s a student from the debating gang and he wants his magazine back. I return it with a hint of remorse but enquire about it’s content to make his acquaintance and to try and be friendly. He snatches it from my hands in a gesture of reproach and melts back into the group without a word.
Making my way again through the sea of people, bouncing like a pinball, I find myself at the edge of the lawn. Rows of classrooms have now materialised in front of the trees with benches outside.
Glancing down at the nearest bench, there’s a pencil case and a timetable that I recognise as mine. Reading the schedule, there’s a range of subjects that I’ve studied before and twig that I’m enrolled in the collage. I feel like a stone has just been dropped across my shoulders.
I recognise a good friend of mine, Marco from Germany, who is walking out of a classroom and feel relieved to see him. He looks rushed and tells me he’ll catch up with me later and that his wife Karo will be there too.
I feel much better knowing this.
I start walking towards the same classroom with what feels like a ball and chain around my ankles.
Suddenly I stop. “Wait, I don’t have to do this”, I hear myself saying. “I’ve done this before. I left this place in search of what I really am, what frees my soul”
I am aware that I am in a dream.
“I am the Self! I am already Free!”
“This is just a subconscious dream that is appearing in what I am, look I can fly!”
Turning to the right, I walk parallel to the classrooms, dropping my papers and pencil case on the grass. Running now, I jump into the air and ‘swim’ upwards in breaststroke toward the overcast sky. My body disappears yet I am still present and aware.
All around me, the clouds dissolve and there is only an all pervading white light to accompany the feeling of weightlessness.
Slowly I can hear crickets and the rustling of leaves as the white light is diluted by the dark of my closed eye lids. I don’t feel my body yet but I watch the transition, fully aware, as I enter the waking state marked by a sharp inhalation of breath.
* † *
Birds are chirping as I open my eyes. The morning sunlight filters through the mosquito net that surrounds the bed of our open-air jungle bedroom. The rooster across the way welcomes us with a cock-ul-do-dal-do.
This is our temporary home on the outskirts of Ubud, Bali.
After a cup of tea, I ride into town to pick up a loaf of bread from the local baker. Turning into the adjacent alleyway, I head way up into the back, as the alley is jam packed with motorbikes double parked outside shops, cafes and restaurants.
The buildings line the alley and wrap around onto the street leading all the way into town, most of them are dripping with spiritual fashion clothing, quotations and furniture with gods or deities carved into them, all of them hanging with juicy price tags.
Down the walls of the alley are long and wide noticeboards plastered with advertisements for energy workshops, yoga retreats, healers, fortune tellers and so on.
Ubud is a spiritual supermarket.
Why is it so popular?
(Apart from Eat, Pray, Love)
Because we all want to be happy but we give it over to the Mind (personality) which is always in a state of becoming, to try and make that a reality for us. That is why all these self development classes that teach ’10 steps to freedom’, mindfulness and healthier physical vitality is so attractive.
Yoga and meditation is a more powerful way to Freedom because of its aid in restraining thought and breath, creating inner space and openness but as long as we think we are a person meditating and performing yoga the identity will survive a little bit longer.
Attachment to the idea that we are a person who always needs to become something better, stress will return because we are like donkeys chasing a conceptual carrot on a stick.
Both the cause of stress and the practice to deflate that stress is a product of the Mind because we are under the impression we are someone that has to do something. We’re so enamoured with our dynamic Human expression that we have forgotten about Being. Like waves that have abandoned the ocean.
Self Enquiry is the stone of remembering that drops us down into the depths of Pure Awareness.
The conscious experience of Supreme Being, the Heart, out of which all forms arise.
You are That.
So what holds us back?
Our loyalty to a phenomenal identity. We assume we are the thinker of thoughts, the doer of action and therefore see being as something of no value, boring or over simplistic but stay fully in the Now for as long as you can and share with me your experience.
Inner Peace may not happen over night but the mental noise will dissipate and fears will wither, as the living recognition of the perfect, ever present Being inside you reveals itself consciously.
This is why I am so grateful to be living out here in the jungle, in solitude.
True self love, real healing is discovering that you have always been this and to reside in the Cave of your Heart, the Source of all existence.
The fragrance of this knowing is Love, Generosity, Peace and Joy.
Whatever happens in Life, reside Here, in this House.
This is true Spiritual Health and Wealth.
The greatest gift for One and for All.