Sunday, April 03, 2005

return to the unreal world

I lied down in my bed tonight for the first time in five days... I just wanted to see how it would feel again. The next thing I know, I'm waking up an hour later from the most amazing nap. Over the past five days, my physical body had awakened to life in the desert, as did my spirit. Returning to the comforts of modern life, my body was at liberty to rest... completely.
Before we left the desert, a member of the group talked about a chant that is often sung during meditation... it is loosely translated as "take me from the unreal to the real". My heart sang this song during the desert spirit retreat, and my mind awakened to the real world. When I returned to the 'civilized' world, I began to realize the meaning of this chant. I understood how real life was out there in the desert.

I walked into the desert five days earlier without attachments or worldly possessions... I shed the unreal world outside; all that was left was my spirit and the shell of flesh and bones in which it resides. As a gift, I got to share this retreat experience with forty other like-minded individuals. Over the course of the next several days, my body gradually reawakened. Each passing day began a little warmer, and each night seemed milder. I would wake in the middle of the night and embrace the cool desert air against my naked body as I crawled out of my tent to take a leak... the moonlight invited me to come out, and the glittering stars invited me to stay a little bit longer before returning to the warmth of my bed and bedmate. Back in tent, I crawled quickly under the covers and wrapped myself around Chris, letting the heat of our bodies lull me back to sleep.

One morning, I awoke and walked barefoot across the desert, observing the peace and stillness of that morning, and the warmth of the sun bathing me in its morning glow. As I waited for the bathroom, I stood facing the east, closed my eyes, and raised my arms above my head in a salute of devotion to the sun and the desert. I bowed forward in gratitude and devotion, and as I relaxed in that position, I heard the fluttering of a hummingbird flying over my head. It reminded me of a story from the previous evening around the campfire about a hummingbird encounter during Kyra's massage, and that this animal represented joy. At that moment, my cup was brimming with joy, peace and gratitude... my cup continued to grow during the rest of the journey.

We went as a group to spend the day at the hot springs called Dry Creek. It was such a liberating experience to dance naked in the desert with all of these beautiful creatures... to describe the moments that took my breath away during these five days would exhaust my journal, so for the time being, I share my experience with these words...

I walked into the desert without attachment. I was transformed by the wisdom of a hundred-thousand years. I awoke to my senses, and gave birth to the embryo of the divine spirit within me. And my advice to you is take a hike.