Friday July 27th was a special day in many ways. Astronomically, the full moon was accompanied by the longest duration total lunar eclipse in this century. Spiritually, Indian tradition celebrates this full moon as a ‘festival’ to honor our Gurus – those who provide us guidance on our path. Those who eclipse our doubts and being light and radiance to our hearts.
Over our morning coffee in the backyard, my wife suggested that I “call in well” to work… an idea that I was already considering, and hence readily agreed to. Family time. What better way to celebrate a festival? On Friday, family time meant spending time at the local bookstore, followed by lunch a new local fave where almost every entree can be ordered in a “gardein” (vegetarian or vegan) variation.
But first, the bookstore. As my daughter browsed the ‘young adult’ section, I wandered over to the nearby ‘spirituality’ stacks, to see what was new. I have ‘discovered’ some beautiful treasures of Rumi, Thich Nhat Hanh and Iyengar in these spaces in the past. And being in that space, I remembered. Wait. I had been meaning to order this particular book online since the day it was released in June. Maybe they have it in the store? So began the scouring of the ‘Spirituality’ shelves – first, a broad sweep of “books by author”, then “books by subject”. But to no avail. After wandering nearby into “mysticism” and other subjects with the same empty-handed was, I thought – maybe it was not for me to find this book today.
And then it struck me – maybe I ought to ask for ‘guidance’. The lady shelving books was right in my vicinity, every so often bringing a book to shelve in the very sections that I was searching in. So, I swallowed my slightly bruised ego, and timed my plea – ‘excuse me but could you look up a book for me?’ – with her return back to her computer terminal. In less than the time it took me to say the title, she said softly – yes, we have eight copies in the store!
Eight. How could I have missed all eight in the small corner in which I had been looking? She must have seen the quizzical look in my eyes, for she then said – “I have been watching you searching in ‘Spirituality’ – but this one is shelved in ‘Personal Growth’.” And where’s that, I asked? She proceeded to point to a stack in the diametrically opposite corner of what is a fairly large store – at least fifty feet away. So much for my conviction, my knowing of where to exactly find what I was looking for.
As I cradled “my find” proudly and stood in the checkout line along with my daughter’s choice, I wondered. How long would I have searched (again) in that ‘Spirituality’ section for my book – the very section where I had casually searched at least twice before on previous trips, and had left empty-handed thinking – I’ll just have to order it online. And how easy it was to “find”, when I asked the one who knew, and all they had to do was point me to the location. I did all the finding for myself after that… it must have taken less than a minute.
Yes, we often hear – embrace the ‘struggle’ (I call it ‘striving’), for it isn’t even really struggle, and that our struggle is part of our journey. We (are expected to) learn from our life’s strivings, our pains, our wounds, our bruises, so that when victory and healing comes, it may be even sweeter. What if part of our spiritual journey is to learn about when it is prudent to ask for guidance, from those who have walked the path before? While there is no shame in being (temporarily) lost, and believing that we can find our own way, we run the risk of letting our (small) ego misguiding and misdirecting us. Would it not be be a tremendous waste of our heart’s potential and energy if we were to accept being lost, to return home ‘empty handed’ as our spiritual destiny?
So, it was on the very day that I honor my Guru(s), that I was taught yet again – humility, acceptance, willingness to ask and then follow, and much more. I felt raised a little bit, in a gentle loving way, to the next stage. All in the search event for a book which has now become a metaphor for seeking loving guidance, illumination and practice of “The Heartfulness Way”.
Join us Sunday July 29th at 9amET for our weekly twitter chat in #SpiritChat. So many of you have provided guidance for so many on our community. This 7th Anniversary chat will honor all of you, your light, and your love. Namaste. – Kumud
P.S. My daughter’s book choice? “Gathering Blue” by Lois Lowry.