In Bodhgaya, I dreamt of peace.
I dreamt that everyone is precious, that everyone carries love through the world, kept warm in the safety of our abdomens. If we could only remember this, we would not walk down the street so afraid. I dreamt that love finds those who give themselves to love, those who surrender to love, those who collapse into love, those who feast on love for breakfast and bandage their wounds with love, who wrap themselves in love to sleep and crack love like a firecracker onto the street. I dreamt that illness is a blessing which returns the mind and body to the heart. I dreamt that stillness is as sacred as an ecstatic dance, and discomfort is a teacher with no eyes or ears, but hands to take, as we feel the knowledge through the mingling of pulses. I dreamt that confusion is an opportunity for clarity, that greed is an opportunity for humility, that terror is a joke, that fright can turn to delight in an instant, that we perpetually blind ourselves by seeing with our practiced thought patterns instead of the fertile earth pits of our hearts in which anything can grow.
Why lament your eventual or pending death when, in the universe’s eye, you are already dead, and dying even as you live? Your freedom of will and movement and heart over the sadism and masochism of the fevered modern mind constitute the preciousness of your sentient human life.
This dream gave me comfort as the full moon rose over Bodhgaya, as random street children smeared fuschia and emerald powder into my cheeks during Holi, as I sat between palm trees in the desert in Sujata and watched the sunset and ached for Michigan, as I feasted on precious dates and coconut, as I watched Buddhist monks breathe slowly through the pain of repeated mosquito stings, as I moved through yoga asanas in the morning sun, as I thanked a chef for a plate of rice, as I watched the sun rise and spill its mandarin juice over roof tops, barbed wire and the flanks of peaceful cows.
This dream held up my breath as we traveled to Agra and I was violently ill for hours on the train while surrounded by sweating, puff-bellied Indian men who stared eagerly up at me with arousal for my helpless state. As I was treated by a senile Indian doctor at a private clinic in Delhi who couldn’t remember what month it was, nor hear the letters to spell my name, and who was confused as to why I was distressed, and tried to cheat me out of the standard consultation fee by hiding the fee sign after I’d seen it.
This dream blossomed on my shoulders as we walked through the gardens at the Taj Mahal and basked in early morning sunshine, entranced by exotic birds and white marble, by the care which the staff took for the plants and grounds, by the centuries-old dream which arose out of a terribly poor region like a joke, or a memory, which shone in lopsided contrast to the corruption and flies outside of the main gates.
This dream wrapped itself around me as I lay sick in Delhi, as I slept with my heart as full of India as it could be, as we bought our tickets to Tel Aviv and as we strolled gently through the New Delhi Deer Garden and thanked India for everything that she had given us and stolen away:
I am grateful for that dream, which continues, like love, or like loss. Grateful for the dream of India which broke me and nurtured my own transformation as nothing else might have, at a time when change was the option.
We walk by the sea in Israel now, our feet heavy in the gracious sand. I know the sun differently now as she travels my face and arms. I appreciate sleep as never before, and cherish the fresh fruits and vegetables that glow from within our skin.
I know that everything resolves itself in time, if we only surrender ourselves to our own nature and learn to be in ways which perpetually shock the terror out of our minds and billow our hearts free until they spread wide open like hammocks to hold all the night stars.