On Monday morning, which feels a lifetime ago, I woke up at 415 to leave at 5 to watch the sun rise on the Ganga (River Ganges).
So many preconceived notions: swimming, washing, urinating, defecating, cremating, all in the one place; our western sensibilities grossed out.
We were driven in cars to the point we would follow our guide through many winding alleys, navigating through locals, cows, cow poo, dogs and garbage. When we stepped out onto the steps leading to the baths, littered with locals in various stages of undress and bathing, there was a discernible feeling of something larger than life. I could feel the sacred. And the river felt so much more already, than a river and preconceived notions.
I did not expect the boat tour to be a petrol row boat. But we stepped in, balancing our collective weight over both sides, praying we would survive 😉, before our unschooled yet knowledgable and English speaking guide, started the motor and versed us in Ganga’s history.
The Ganga is the mother, a goddess, bringing life and protection, absorbing sins, providing compassion and devout ritual. Here in Varanasi (Benaris), the river flows in a different direction and you can feel the spiritual divinity when you still your heart and mind. It is palpable.
The sun started to rise. The motor stopped. The river was calm.
Bright red, having seen nothing like it ever before, I stopped existing on a human plane. My heart stopped, my breath stopped, my mind stopped, and for a few moments I felt deep connection to everything; I was everything. The distinction between physical and spiritual no longer existed; the moment was all and we were all the moment.
You know when you feel that something in you has shifted. You aren’t sure how it will manifest but you know that the life you have lead and who you have represented yourself as, well, will be no longer. This was my moment. A once in a lifetime moment.
You can’t come here on a spiritual quest, answering the divine call, and not be transformed.
I have found my tribe, my soul sisters. Together we are moving through this journey, bypassing the social niceties and delving into discussions about the big questions. We know each other on a soul level; we have each lived the other’s experience. We have developed a vast connection that supersedes time and place. Alana said, after our first workshop, that she feels that this group has lived many incarnations together already. My tribe most certainly has.
We made our way back to shore, back to our cars, back to the hotel. We ate, we discussed the world in the pool, time slowed. Every second here feels a week long. I feel like I am living a lifetime in two weeks. Even in the seemingly normal moments, there is a healing and transformation occurring at the deepest levels of my psyche.
And I honour it all in gratitude.