"I didn't start the journey because I thought I was the best person for the
job but rather because I could not be whole in the world without trying. I think
all of us are presented with moments when we must choose whether to cross our
fear and do something risky but important - or turn away and stay comfortable."
The rest of this post is not so easy to write. Several people have expressed an interest in what happened to me during the twenty years I was separated from my family and the Sangat. How would I title that? My Life in Exile or perhaps more accurately, My Life As A Patit?
I didn't break all the rules, but enough that I am not yet willing to face world-wide humiliation, even anonymously on the Internet. Maybe I'm not even really ready to face them in myself. (My ego will destroy me yet!) The truth is that I am not ready to make public all my mistakes, no, not mistakes, because I knew what I was doing, during those twenty years. Nor am I willing to gloss over the way that I lived and the things that I did. So the telling of those tales will have to wait for my spiritual growth.
I did, however, accomplish one thing that I can write about.
One person asked me, 'Did you find what you were looking for out there?'
The answer is, 'Yes, in a sort of back-handed way. In fact, I found that what I was looking for wasn't out there.'
The story of how my life as a tourist, an adventurer and an explorer in Maya ended is hopeful and worth telling.
I walk a lot. It is one of my favourite ways to think, contemplate and just be. I have often thought the people in my neighbourhood, if they notice me at all, must think I am a crazy eccentric just wandering around with her head in the clouds.
One day, I walked a bit farther than I had gone before. Without realising it, I had strolled several kilometres from home and found myself outside of a smallish square building with an inviting look to it. I looked up and saw the Nishan flying proudly above the surrounding trees. I felt an almost physicalfeeling of something pulling on my body, a compulsion to go in. So for the first time in twenty years, I entered a gurdwara.
There were several people inside, but no one who had ever seen me before. I had thought I would feel strange, but a sense of familiarity came over me. I did all the prescribed things, almost in a fog and found myself approaching our beloved Guruji. I bowed before him and, as my forehead touched the floor, I felt those years and the stench of all those stupid things I had done melt away from me. I had come home and I felt as if Guruji had welcomed me back.
I sat, not in a daze exactly, but also not in my usual state of consciousness. I sat, eyes closed, for a long time. I could hear the people around me, including a couple of kids that kept running around, but nothing disturbed me.
When I finally opened my eyes, everyone was gone except the granthi. When I got up to leave, he spoke to me.
He asked the questions I would expect since I was a complete stranger who looked like a gorah and acted like a Sikh.
I told him some of my story. He glanced at the scars on my right arm and I just nodded. He suggested that we ask Guruji what he has to say about all this. So we did. The Hukamnama was on page 709. I'm not going to reproduce it here, but a link to the Sri Granth Guru Sahib, Guruji, is www.srigranth.org/servlet/gurbani.gurbani?S=y. Since you are reading this, I assume you have access to the Internet.
That is enough of the story for now. I did not immediately contact my family. I still had a long way to go. But this was a first step, and a happy one.
Being lost is worth the coming home.
Neil Diamond, Stones
The title of this post is taken from a song The Crippled Lion by Michael Nesmith