Have you ever spontaneously flown somewhere, not knowing what to expect but feeling a rare thrill rising in your heart? When my wife first heard that many of our friends were booked to fly to Greece to celebrate Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Light, she took out her smart-phone and booked two seats for us.
I’d never been down to that fabled peninsula in the Mediterranean Sea, but my first impression was similar to that of India, an ancient world that I’ve had the privilege of visiting many times. This initial intuition that began when my wife came home and announced that we would soon be going there, was boosted when we eventually boarded an airliner half full of laughing, singing, childlike Indian women, all of whom had also strongly felt the calling.
My first impressions there were that everything was familiar. It was easy to get around in, like any other Western country. The freeways were almost empty and everyone seemed to drive slowly, which was very relaxing (although it did occur to Brigitte and me that maybe due to the economic hardships the locals are experiencing, not many can afford to speed, or even to drive). Then a massive wall of dark grey-purple cloud rose up and washed the landscape clean with a brief rain. We found it to be a significant welcome for all the pilgrims showing up that weekend, and I was reminded of the ancient demigods who were believed to inhabit this land in prehistory. (Human beings, in particular one or two ‘poets’, long ago wrote perverted interpretations of these titans’ lives on Earth, lowering them to the level of incest and murder, ideas unfortunately still generally accepted today.)
My wife’s favourite thing in life is to wake up early near a beach and go for a long walk and foot-soak there. We were sheltered near the scenic end of a bay, and because it was outside of the busy summer season, there was hardly anyone around. In Greece, even the stray dogs and cats seem at peace as they stretch out beside strangers and give the impression of being completely fulfilled (when actually they’re cleverly making friends to get something to eat!). Every morning our hearts would stretch out to the distant islands and mysterious waters so our souls could consume the vast beauty and deep history around us. We attended colourful Diwali functions, enjoyed ourselves immensely with many new and old friends, and even ascended the ancient inland hills to the Centre of the World, the Navel of Creation! (Weeks later, Brigitte hasn’t lost the inspiring heart-boost that she still rides on daily.)
They say that Zeus, king of the demigods, in order to determine the centre of the world, sent two great eagles flying, one from each extreme, east and west. They met in the place that was later named Delphi. A most magical place! I really felt like I was back in India where everything began thousands of years ago, not in young Europe any more. There’s even a natural free-standing stone in the original centre of the sacred grounds, recognizable as the Hindu child-god, Ganesha, emitting amazing vibrations (light and cool).
All two-hundred-and-fifty of us felt light and joyous, many reminded of the old tours of central India that we used to go on in the nineteen-eighties. In contrast to the great subtle significance of this location, Brigitte pointed out that the manmade history was just full of ego. Pompous conquerers would display statues of their officers there to show the gods and all the world how very important they were. Even down in the so-called civilized nation-state of Athens, such a great, benevolent genius (I would go so far as to say divine messenger) like Socrates was killed by men-on-ego. And here we are, thousands of years later, repeating the same patterns in our heads, hearts and actions.
Descending back down to the twenty-first century at the end of the day, I remembered how, as a twelve-year-old child in Canada in 1970, I had suddenly been overwhelmed to write a long Social Studies essay on the Greek gods, accompanied by a hand-drawn wall mural; and in Art class I passionately attempted to carve a plaster-of-Paris bust of Socrates. I didn’t know what overcame me at that time, but now I guess it was personal insight into a higher realm of existence. Forty-eight years later I’ve breathed those essential airs and walked upon the very roots of legend that send the restless mind up into soothing meditation.
If you’ve never been to Greece, go there soon — with an open mind and heart.
Best wishes (pure desires),
more photos here:
Looks like fun! We have great memories from our time on just one of the many Greek islands, called Kalymnos. And it was the local people and their generosity that still resonates in my recollection