“We were together. I forget the rest.”
When I was 18, after visiting my aunt and uncle, I decided to make their home my home, and to put off college for a year. Their home was, and is, Mount Madonna Center, outside of Santa Cruz, which is a yoga center, and essentially an ashram. The teacher that resides there is named Baba Hari Dass. He is a silent monk who is classically trained in Ashtanga Yoga, and communicates by writing on a small chalkboard. He wears white robes, tennis shoes and has intense, coal-black eyes that look right into your soul. He definitely looked right into mine. At first, I wasn’t sure how I felt about him, and this whole guru-teacher-silent deal. I kept my distance. But that faded quickly, and soon I became, like many people, his little shadow. Because he loves me, he let me, with a bemused affection that I often took for detachment or even disinterest, if I was having a bad day.
About twenty years ago, Babaji founded an orphanage in Northern India, and at the time I was living at Mount Madonna, a big group would go over every year for three months. Babaji went, so that meant I went. That of course began my love affair with India, with children, and with teaching. I returned again a few years later.
In the years since, I have written Babaji letters, and he writes back. It has always been my intention to return, to see him again, and most recently, have him meet John. But as is often the case with intentions, it has not actually happened. About a week ago, I got word from a friend that he seemed to be in the process of leaving his body. The grief that took hold was deep and strange. Not like any other I have felt. It changed every minute, and continues to. Today, I am thrilled to report, the word on his progress is that he is actually doing better and has begun physical therapy!
But his teachings, like the teachings of so many other Great Beings, in the lesson of impermanence, and the illusion that we are our body. I know that, but I don’t KNOW it. That, of course, is the process, the path. I am overcome with tears when I really let it sink in that I have had the immense blessing of having him in my life, as my Teacher, my friend, and my Father.
So with this post, you know me quite a bit better, and have an explanation about what I alluded to last week. I SO appreciate you reading this post, this blog, and being my teachers and friends :)
“Don’t think that you are carrying the whole world; make it easy, make it play, make it a prayer.”
– Baba Hari Dass