This is my third trip to India in as many years, and I can’t help but recall during the planning of my maiden voyage here when, on a whim, I opted to get the 10 year Indian visa as opposed to the 30-day or 6-month version that most visitors get. I had no idea what India would be like for me or if it would be a place I’d ever want to return to, but in that moment, my flippant “sure, why not?” came and went without much notice. In retrospect however, it seems that my unconscious mind knew more about my future desires than my conscious mind did, reminding me how much lies just underneath the surface of our normal state of awareness… and how the path of yoga is one of shifting that everyday state toward a much deeper level.
India has long been a place of pilgrimage for people of many different religious and spiritual backgrounds, and while I never imagined myself to be the sort of person who would subscribe to the pilgrimage frame of mind, I am beginning to understand both the formality and the necessity of it. There is no question that over the last several years my spiritual path has deepened and that coming to India, a place of origin for many deeply engrained world-ideologies in general, but for the yogic system in particular, grows more appealing each time and is starting to feel utterly necessary to me as part of my individual growth process.
As the weeks of planning slowly ticked by, and for no logical reason that I can discern, I have had an ever-increasing sensation of something I cannot name. A sense of excitement, yes, but vastly more complex than that… more like a presupposition of something provocative without any expectation attached to it. It is a deep sense of knowing, but of what I cannot say… and at this juncture I feel very comfortable with that, for embedded in the unknown lies the entire realm of possibility. My intellect does not seem to need understanding because my intuitive source is perfectly happy with the feeling itself. So while I cannot know all that will unfold for me here, I do know that the intention of this trip is quite different than anything prior, India or otherwise, as my purpose here is very specific.
I have come here as a student, not just of yoga, but of my own inner world. It would be fair to say that all my travel experiences encompass this desire to grow and expand, but at this juncture my efforts are quite single-pointed. And so this feeling is perhaps less about “what will happen” and more about the readiness and ability to be wholly open, awake and in pursuit. This, I now see, is the real point of pilgrimage. To physically put yourself on the same well-trodden path as other seekers, absorbing the energy of their ancient footprints and using that energy to realign yourself with your purest intentions and deepest beliefs.
From the onset of planning this trip five months ago, one thing after another has fallen into place with a simplicity and perfection that has been rather uncanny: timings that have seemed too good to be true, situations that have arisen which ended up facilitating greater ease, little bits of knowledge that have fallen into my lap which down the road became more useful than I could possibly have imagined, decisions that seemed insignificant enough but ended up opening doors to profound thoughts, ideas and plans… it has been one thing after another and I believe this alignment is something that naturally starts to happen when you are in pursuit of your truths.
Quite some time ago I began to call these then-regular but not terribly frequent happenings “signposts”… little markers on the path of life which, if noticed and examined, always turned out to be clear nods from the Universe that I was moving in the right direction, being led where I was meant to go, even if I couldn’t quite see where that was. So while this experience of synchronicity is not really new to me, it has been interesting to observe how, once I started to really pay attention, these synchronistic moments began happening with greater frequency and clearer meaning, most notably since I began to contemplate the mere idea of this third trip to India. The Universe is making it clear that there is something here for me and she is clearing the path.
What I’m really beginning to see is that the nature of Universe itself is synchronistic… at every moment of every day so long as you walk on this earth, you are an integral part of a very symbiotic life-process. The trouble is, most of the time we simply aren’t paying close enough attention, and the signposts become overgrown by the minutia of life. It is this paying attention, though, this opening myself up to seeing it that I have committed myself to rather fiercely over the last couple of years… and now the seeds have grown and are beginning to bear fruit.
The term synchronicity is defined as “the simultaneous occurrence of events which appear significantly related but have no discernible causal connection” and was coined by the psychotherapist Carl Jung to describe this idea of deeply meaningful “coincidences.” The mere idea of synchronicity has always created a somatic response in me… a subtle yet noticeable physical sensation in response to something both magical and completely illogical… and for me at least, there is a spiritual element to it which transcends the thought process altogether.
While I won’t go into the specifics of what is becoming a rather long list of synchronistic happenings around this trip, I do find this to be a particularly appropriate moment to mention that one such moment occurred a couple days before I departed, when searching for some inspiring and relevant reading material to bring with me, I was given a book by a friend: “Man and His Symbols” by Carl Jung. His take on synchronicity is not the focal point of the book, but his philosophy around how powerfully our unconscious mind directs not only our actions but also what manifests and unfolds around us and how we unconsciously create these things is directly relevant to all that unfolds before me now. It is no coincidence that India has, little by little, bit by bit, made herself an integral part of my life, and it is certainly no coincidence that the Universe is assisting in making sure I get what I need from her. I’m starting to think it is highly likely I’ll get my money’s worth out of that 10-year visa after all.
I will end here by saying that I have a profound and overwhelming sense of gratitude throughout all this, and I feel that the mere word ‘gratitude’ does not even begin to pierce the depth of the emotion attached to it. More importantly, I am beginning to fully understand how the gratitude itself is the facilitator of this ability to see the signposts and appreciate them for what they are: validation and encouragement.
Gratitude is a state of being that comes from the heart, and when you are focusing yourself there, your intention cannot help but manifest because this is where we feel the flow of the Universe most surely. And so with abundant gratitude for this trip and this entire process, I look forward to sharing my experiences with you, particularly that of my current locale in Southern India. So stay aware, stay grateful and stay tuned…