This series of posts has once again, sat idly by for a few months now! For the full story, I recommend that you read part 1, part 2, and part 3 first… ‘course, if you don’t want to, then just read this one…
I didn’t see my Guru for two years, and it’s not that he wasn’t in town or I that didn’t know about it.
He was, and I did… A (my ex, and one of his kung fu and rune students) took great delight in telling him – she doesn’t want to see you – which he told me about after the fact.
A’s actions didn’t make me happy exactly. But I’d been a little miffed at how hard it’d been to contact my Guru when I thought something kinda serious was happening (in retrospect, all I can say is… it wasn’t that serious). And that when he did get in touch, his letter didn’t really help me. So, I consciously avoided spending time with my future-Guru.
Then, in late 2000 I planned something of a whirlwind trip – the UK, Scotland and Chile. The runic tradition I studied (as mentioned in part 2) was based in the UK, and was having a summer gathering of sorts, somewhere mid-north east of London.
Scotland was for spending time with friends and extended family, and Chile was to hang out with a friend who’d moved there to be with her astronomist husband (note: never ask an astronomist their star sign!).
Little did I know my Guru would be attending the same gathering. He was there to see his runic teacher – another pretty amazing person – actually descended from Norse nobility; the family tradition of this man (rune breathing, weapons-based martial arts, healing, mythology, trance work etc) was what we’d all been learning. He’d originally taught my Guru and three other people his family’s oral tradition, and then asked those four to spread the teachings.
It was via this rather circuitous path, I’d met my Guru. And this gathering was to pay our respects, learn from the master himself, and train with others who studied the same thing.
Thousands of miles from home, somehow my Guru and I both ended up in the same place at the same time. Camping in a field opposite a very old church and eating stodgy English porridge for breakfast.
We re-connected immediately, as if the last two years never happened. He asked why I’d stayed away, and although we talked about it, those reasons no longer seemed to matter – our connection was unblemished.
That week, luxuriating (NOT!) in the damp English Spring weather, we bonded again practicing martial arts, and discussing Norse philosophy.
At the end of the gathering, I found myself on a train back to London with my Guru and two Scandinavian guys, with an offer to share a couple of days and a room with my Guru before the next part of my journey.
It’s a time I remember with much affection. All teachers have their ‘teacher’ mode, and then there’s off-duty time. This is what we shared, and I delighted in his goofy silliness and incredible curiosity.
We did martial arts training in Hyde Park, tracked down a funny little shop that sold hand-carved walking sticks, did laundry, watched movies, listened to music in a Virgin megastore, went into expensive hotel lobbies to find out the cost of their over-priced rooms, ate out and of course… just talked.
We discussed Tantra, Hindu philosophy and our future student/teacher relationship. He did his practice at night on the edge of his bed, while I slowly faded into dream-ridden slumber, the kind that means I get sonambulently talkative. Awake or asleep, there was no mistaking my fear.
Yet he answered all my dumbass questions, and was outrageously indulgent of my desire to discuss every inane detail of my relationship breakdowns. I spilled my guts about things I never tell anyone! He listened, didn’t judge and slowly kept bringing my awareness back to one or two small practices he’d already got me working on.
Here was a clearly remarkable man. Definitely, not like any person I’d ever met. And for some reason, our paths crossed not once, but twice. He offered mysteriously enticing knowledge, the details of which we only lightly touched on, and for good reason (it’s not easy for the untrained western mind to grasp the multi-layered nuances of yogic philosophy)…
More, he never really seemed to look at my my external physicality. It was as though he saw something behind material form (I’ve noticed him do this many times since then).
But I was scared and uncertain, which of course I expressed. He said there was no hurry, and I shouldn’t take initiation unless it was what I wanted. In the mean time, there were things I could do to explore this new knowledge.
He gave me book titles to find and read, preparatory exercises to do (with a much fuller explanation this time), people back in Sydney to get in touch with, and there would be a retreat the following year in Canberra he wanted me to attend – so I’d see him again within a few months.
After two full days of being roommates, we parted company. I, to South London on an errand for my mother before I flew to Scotland. He, to Canada – he’d invited me to join him but regrettably I already had other plans.
Yet I was over the moon, joyous to have shared private time with him like that.
Years later, I remember my Guru speaking of the moment where sadhakas are suddenly faced with a reflection of their Essence Nature looking at them from the eyes of another. Immediate knowledge descends, that the person attached to those eyes can help you eventually recognise this within yourself – no longer just a reflection.
Although it would be another four years before I took formal initiation, I count our shared time in London as my first concious moment of recognition. But definitely not the last, or the most intense.
To be continued…