For the period of about a year-and-a-half after I finally found out how to actually meditate in April 1982 (having put in much effort already for eight years, without benefit) and I moved away from the party neighbourhood of my youth, there seem to be no photos of my amazing progress. Now, by chance, I saw THAT Ed, exactly thirty-four birthdays ago, strolling along with a wedding procession in the heart of New Delhi!
I had arrived alone at 2:00 a.m. in humid Bombay two weeks before, after an exhausting series of flights, with an overweight suitcase and a phone number. It was the first international journey in my quarter century of life on Earth. (Little did I guess then that I would return to India more than twenty times!) Someone back home in Vancouver had just bought my ’65 Chevy panel van, enabling me to join my new yogi friends on the India tour. A kindly airport police officer helped me reach the others, already a huge, international group of pilgrims, and that very evening I met Shri Mataji, the founder and teacher of Sahaja Yoga meditation, on the first of many joyful occasions over the coming days, years and decades, in various countries.
Among the many memorable events in Delhi was our viewing of the new Gandhi movie in the cinema that it had world premiered in just nine weeks before. (As a girl, Shri Mataji had spent time with Gandhi at his ashram, where he would sometimes implement Her advice on spiritual issues.) I remember walking out of that air-conditioned building and looking up at the hot, wide blue sky, realizing that those historic happenings had taken place not long ago under this very canopy.
I was lucky to be among those few of us from Canada (at that time there were only a handful of people practicing Sahaja Yoga in North America) that were invited to stay for a few days with Shri Mataji in Her daughter’s house. Several massive public programs were held throughout the city, and I attended my first puja, which celebrated Shivaratri at that time. At the compound where we all met each day, someone organized a cake and candles 🎂, and some new friends sang Happy Birthday to me that third day of February … so long ago, now! I drank lots of yummy chai there, discovering too late that the caffein was brutal on my sensitive liver. We also travelled up to the Himalayan foothills, where I saw some Indian girls enjoy snow for the first time. I spent that wonderful month in India without getting sick, a bit of a miracle (although as soon as I got back to the West I cleared out quite thoroughly!)
I still feel all that as a solid building block in my evolution, and this unexpected window view now brings a fresh breeze to grownup Ed.💨
(And, adding an interesting twist to the perspective: I happen to be turning 59 now, the same age Shri Mataji was when we first met back then!)
Shri Mataji gave each of us a present that afternoon (6 Feb 1983)
They were original Indian artworks. Somehow I managed to hold on to mine (the only thing I have left from my early twenties). It now hangs in my little art-studio in our homestead in the Vienna Woods:
Goddess of Art and Knowledge
(read more here …)