Last month, I met a part-time photographer in Whitehorse, Yukon. About 25 years ago, he’d been living in Toronto and going through very difficult times in his life. He decided that he needed to leave the city somehow, but didn’t have a clue where to go. So he opened the map of Canada, closed his eyes, and decided he’d move to wherever his finger landed on the map. His finger landed on Yukon. And he’s been living there, very happily, ever since.
I recounted his story later to a group of foreign journalists (mostly UK, a few Canadian, a few Australian) and asked them, “Do you feel this free? Do you feel you can put your finger anywhere on the map and just pack up and move there?” After a moment’s pause, all of them replied, yes. It was a completely new mental direction for me because I realized, I did not feel free enough to do that, not just because I was an Indian but because I was an Indian woman, mother, single mother, employee, daughter, with a hundred other duties and roles. I was unable to disconnect myself from them and walk away, free. No, not just that. I was unable to even THINK of disconnecting.
Then I made another trip, this time to my dream destination in the world: Auroville, Tamil Nadu. I often fantasize about moving here, meditating all day, sitting in silence and raising my children in an eco-conscious environment. I met two people here, a couple I’ve idolized for a long time. I probed into their lives and admired them even more – for doing what they love, living the life they want to, being who they are. Like the photographer and those journalists, they feel free. Free to be, free to choose.
Due to certain issues I’ve been grappling with in a certain area of my life, a few days ago, while meditating, I asked my higher self: What is bothering me? The answer came: Act before it is too late.
I knew perfectly well what my God wanted to convey to me, but because what is being asked of me is SO HUGE, I still feel relatively small and inadequately prepared for it. Hence, I pushed it under the carpet. And that’s when a bit of asthma began, after months of being under control.
This morning in Pondicherry (after having met this radiant couple) while meditating again with a bit of a wheeze in my chest, I asked my higher self: What do I need to do now? How do I sort out this nagging sense of entrapment that’s been growing inside my mind lately, this uneasiness in my soul, this need to ‘act before it’s too late’?
The answer came, reverberating to every fibre in my being and making my eyes water up in a wave of knowing: Be free and fearless.
So, as I then lay down to do my yoga, and as the sheet kept moving around, I allowed myself to feel free to push the damn thing away and just do the yoga without it. Being a tiny bit fastidious about clean hands and hair, I’d never do yoga on the floor. But today I did, and I was terrifically flexible and confident about my positions. I felt free and energized, my lungs felt vibrant and clear – as if I’d liberated myself from my own shackles.
And now, sitting at Chennai airport, it has dawned on me: I can do this in every aspect of my life. The chains are in my head. I don’t need to move to Auroville to find peace or to live the life I crave for. I can have it right there in Delhi. “Be free and fearless.” I have to find the freedom inside me, not on a map.
I always knew I’d find enlightenment in Auroville.