I decided to attend a gathering for a young guru from India because one of my friends was his devotee. She quoted him often, and I was impressed with how she had changed since she began studying with him. The auditorium was packed with people of all ages. Most of the adults who wore white clothes were his disciples. I watched as they looked lovingly and longingly at him, as he spoke gigantic truths in simple words. English was his fifth or sixth language, yet I imagined that he would still speak in words of no more than two syllables, even if English were his first language.
When people asked him questions, his favorite answer was “Why not?” I understood early in the evening that anything was possible in his belief system. After the lecture, I was invited to join others for a private reception. Rather than join a large group of people, I felt a need to go outside for some quiet time.
My reflection spot was a small, enclosed meditation garden with a wooden bench. I sat on the warm bench and closed my eyes and tried “just being.” Stillness did not come.
A familiar voice asked softly, “Care if I join you?”
My eyes were closed but I recognized the gentle voice of the young guru. “Please do,” I said, motioning him to join me on the bench.
“Your mind is overflowing with busyness,” he said gently, without a trace of judgment. Then he continued, “Fear is taking up much of the room. Only space for a tiny ray of light.”
I sighed deeply. He was right. I had allowed fear to rule my life. I had to move within a week. I had no car, little money, and I had just ended a marriage. I spoke none of my worries out loud.
He continued, “You can let go of the fear if you choose. I can help you. I am here to help you. But if you said goodbye to your fears, who would you be?”
In a moment of truth, I knew he could facilitate a fear release. And he was right; I had no clue who I would be without fear residing in my energy field. I also realized that fear held me back from taking the next step in my spiritual journey.
“It’s okay if you are not ready,” he said nodding his head. “Perhaps fear is not done being your teacher.”
How and where had he learned to make such an astute intervention? As a former therapist, I applauded his wisdom and technique. Another part of me wanted to label him an upstart, which is a word my grandmother might have used!
I started to cry. When I opened my eyes, he was still sitting there, smiling.
“You know,” I said very seriously, “I have to participate in this releasing process. I cannot allow you to eat my fear. After all, I created this drama and I need to be responsible for releasing the fear,” I said a little too loudly in my best therapist’s voice.
“Sure,” he said and giggled. “Okay if we begin now?”
“Why not?” I replied and laughed a genuine laugh.
Without further conversation, he began to chant in Hindu. Since I didn’t know any words in Hindi, I began to pray out loud. Our voices harmonized and then we both became silent at the same second. Then I felt a mantle of fear lift from my shoulders. I gasped as I felt my heart open. My stomach was next to release old fear. I belched forth old scars. My body began to shake and I could not control the shaking. Finally, laughter exploded from the bottom of my belly.
After who knows how long, he said to me quietly, “You feel you now?”
I nodded. I had no words.
“Now it is time to be miracle,” he said. “Watch, don’t be in your mind.”
I watched. He was wearing a long, white sari that touched the ground. His right hand moved slightly and he manifested a rose out of what looked like thin air! He smiled and with a bow, handed me the perfect red rose. It even had thorns on the stem! Still the skeptic, I asked if I could look up his sleeve. I had no idea what I expected to find. Maybe a garden.
He giggled and responded, “Why not?’
His sleeve was not loose enough to hide a rose, to say nothing of a garden. I felt embarrassed and realized I was certainly in my mind, not my heart.
“Now listen, you,” he said somewhat sternly. “You, too, can make bouquets happen out of the air. You are a healer. That is why your hands have sweat and feel like white-hot fire. Now that you are without fear, you, too, can create flowers and bouquets and even gardens from the air. The rose you are holding is nothing. Remember miracles are God’s way of saying, “Hello.”
I closed my eyes in order to remember all that had happened. When I opened my eyes, I was sitting alone on the wooden bench holding the rose that the guru had given me. Beauty had replaced fear, and I sent out gratitude. Then I exploded in giggles.
Excerpted from Awaken