Trying to keep my eyes open

So, I am in day 3 of my return from a 2 weeks journey in India with 22 beautiful people and dozens of magical places.

This is my second trip to India, so I knew how not to get sick (don’t eat fresh food) and I did not have to go through getting a Visa and all that mess…

I also, as wonderfully advised by my guide, respected the culture a little more. I am not for rules, so instead of tank tops and shorts, I wore traditional Indian dress, sleeves (hid my tattoos to a varying degree), held the flower I was offering at the temples mostly with my right hand (who is perfect?, surely not me) and I hid my mala (when I could or when I felt it was appropriate).


Now traveling to India is like having time flipped upside down, nothing is ever early and everything is always 10 minutes, an hour, a day later than the mind expects. Point being, you are either frustrated as a Westerner or you let go of the mind. Either way, you lose it (the mind) or your sanity… why not the mind and JUST be…

Or in my case just hold on to repeating my mantram (a given formula of Sanskrit Sounds) at all times and enjoy the ride.

Another little trick of the trade that I used to use before mantra, was intention. Our guide reminded us that every time you look in one of the statues eyes, ask for something. Now, you have to be ready, because you could have been in line for 2 hours in 90 degree weather, rubbing against all sorts of people as if you were a 15 year grinding at your first school dance and ready to just jump out of your skin while security is pushing each person out of the way…

Because most Indians have so much devotion, they will literally grab the bar in the front of the statue( a physical representation of God) to get one extra moment to look at the statue or samadhi (this is a place where a Saint has left energy with their physical body to grace those to come and visit). And these places are no joke, you can feel God has been hanging out here for a long time. This is not like churches in the West that are home of long sermons on the devil and yearly financial review void of spirit. They are literally embed with LIFE, with God, with something that usually is indescribable. That is the cause and effect of the people’s Bhakti (devotion to God, day after day,, worshipping, cleaning the statue, dressing it, singing to it).

It is literally like watching 14 year old girls see a boy band and screaming that shrill scream of complete insanity to just touch them or the old videos of Beattle mania, where the people want to tear open John, Apul, George and Ringo or watching grown men drink themselves silly in excitement while tailgating before a playoff football game. These people LOVE God, so you literally might have a second a split second a moment to set an intention while looking in the eyes of the statue of God in the form of Shiva (the Divine Father) or Kali (the Divine Mother) before you are pushed out of the way by the guards and the fellow devotees (the Indians who have traveled 12 hours on bus or train to just get a moment with God).

Not much time to think or reflect, it is not exactly like the Catholic masses I attended as a kid, where you can’t make a noise, let alone fart without feeling eternal damnation… while whether you are 3 or 80, you just sit and listen for an hour of silence and inner dialogue-not always kind while you are in God’s house.

This is more a wild dash to the finish. So, you need to be centered and prepared.

This is why I kept my asking, my intention simple. Mother or Father depending on the temple “open my heart.”

I have spent years presencing places within myself to rest on. This just means instead of being controlled by my thoughts and emotions, I repeat sounds like OM, internally. AND repeat, all day long, this is JAPA (the silent uttering of the divine name. You could repeat, Jesus have mercy on me, but I like Sanskrit because they are sound and generally the words don’t have meaning but FEELING.) So, in the temples through the craziness of people swarming to be with God, to look into Her or His eyes, I just kept repeating my sounds. And feeling the presence throughout the lines and craziness. I feel all the different flavors of God in his masculine and feminine forms. Her warmth, His kindness, Her love, His Joy, etc….

And then during my split second of being with God, I would ask “Open my heart.” Usually I was met with an ease. Like coming home on a cold day, feeling the warmth of the heat or fire place, being graced with a cup of tea or hot coco. That fills your heart with love and warmth. The sense of being held.

Now as I return from 21 hours of air time and another 10 or so of layovers and airport time from India to Medford, OR. I have been just trying to keep my eyes open, like I felt during this 4 hours trip in India on a bus, where if I did sleep, I would be awaken by a bump sitting in the back of the bus that sent me flying in the sky, literally levitating, when we road on unpaved, dirt roads and the bumps became a mantram in themselves. Hundreds of bump, bump, bumps lol.

So, I had an epiphany these last couple of days while my kids have been SO excited to see me and I can hardly keep my eyes open. When instead of a good night of sleep, I have a sweet boy who can’t stop puking. And I have awesome students, who are excited to get chanting with me again, and I feel like I am still levitating in the back seat, just trying to keep my eyes open…

I remembered my intention… instead of beating myself up that I can’t give my kids what they need or the attention they want… and my wife the rest she deserves or the rest my body needs, because instead of bumps in the road I have crying kids, who need my love and holding…….. I just keep asking Mother, Father to “open my heart.” And the ease comes back and it slows my incessant thinking, my frustrated disoriented mind, who can’t tell day from night, to just rest, I am back before God, looking into Her eyes and feeling Him within me.

And I return to resting on my Empowered Sounds with such appreciation for 2 weeks of MAGIC, in India.

If you find yourself frustrated or feeling out of control, pop in for a Co-healing or Co-awakening class and learn some Empowered Sounds. Or better yet come up with a simple intention… asking not Mother of Father out THERE to help, but the Mother and Father within to hold you. TO be with you. And just rest on the ease, the warmth, the GRATITUDE of LIFE. STOPPING, the mind’s need to FIX or control life and just simply opening to the something BIGGER, emerging from within.

Keeping your eyes open when you can, and resting with them closed when you get a chance.

Love and Warmth : )

Michael Nardi