A Spiritual Sojourn: My Renaissance

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“Death must be so beautiful. To lie in the soft brown earth, with the grasses waving above one’s head, and listen to silence. To have no yesterday, and no to-morrow. To forget time, to forget life, to be at peace.” — Oscar Wilde, The Canterville Ghost

 

The nurse woke me up at seven this morning,

though to my phone alarm I’d already arisen:

so I may shower, dress, and be ready by 9 am –

to be trolleyed to a theatre for the operation.

 

Mildly sedated the night before so I sleep well,

I am fresh and mindful of my every move now:

though not a droplet can I drink since waking,

nor a bite of food did I intake past ten at night.

 

It’s a bright sunny morning outside my window,

yet there isn’t a spring in my heart, step or voice:

A solemn calm pervades my soul prepared to die –

like in films – convicts in readying to be hanged.

 

I brushed, looking outside a wall-to-wall window –

as if a painting of a tree by a multicoloured house: 

Two nurses walked in-and-out readying my room,

laying out a starched white backless surgery gown.

 

I showered breathing slowly, conscious of my form –

in bathing a dead woman before her funeral sojourn:

Drying my hair, I shrouded in a white hospital gown,

to lie in view of a sky that’d be – even when I’m gone.

 

Wheeled on a bed – down the corridor and into a lift,

conscious of each turn I shut my eyes looking within:

Would my soul grief in not returning on these aisles?

I realise there’s no regtret – I’ve made peace with life!

 

Ouside  an OT they dial my mother, sister, two friends –

with each on video chat – I realise how detached I  am:

Like it didn’t matter if I were never to see anyone again –

I’ve given everything I had to give, to every relationship.

 

Shielded in a sky-blue blanket they peeled off my gown;

the writer in me shut eyes after a mindful look around:

Then the only sensation I was aware of was biting cold,

like I had sat up on my death bed on a thick slab of ice.

 

I knew for sure I wasn’t going to die, my mind’s strong –

shutting off life was just my soul’s defence mechanism:

A test of spirituality, after living every moment of life;

the fighter in me would survive – I’ve unfinished tasks.

 

Anaesthesia overriding – took over the baton of my life –

passing it on to the expert surgeon and team to resolve:

First thing I profess floating up to life – is searing pain;

soft sunlight on my face – in baby pink suit I feel reborn.

 

“Life and death appeared to me ideal bounds, which I should first break through, and pour a” torrent of light into our dark world.” — Mary Shelley 

“Every man’s life ends the same way. It is only the details of how he lived and how he died that distinguish one man from another.” ―Ernest Hemingway

 

 

 

PS: I had this experience, on the 15th of October 2019.

Yet it took me almost two weeks to be able to put it into this flow of words…Only when experinces and ensuing thoughts are left to cool off, can they be written dispassionately. As I tend to with life’s experinces, as a responsible writer, I had to first step back, heal the physical pain, then let the thoughts process in my mind…

 

 

 

 

 

A Spiritual Hike: To Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest) Monastery

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It was at twelve-thirty of a late June day

            with light showers through the sun’s soft rays,

we set out to climb on foot – the narrow, steep

             mountainous trail at Paro’s heart:

 driving past her white-pebble  lined arterial river Pachu –

             that flows eloquently through her rustic

frame, is then flanked by flower-lined cottages

            and bridges – on uphill picturesque paths.

 

After peering over numerous handicraft

            stalls displaying mostly stone-jewellery

of every colour and form, under the wood,

            and tin canopied shopping enclave –

we crossed it to step on to the narrow, rarely used trail:

            foregoing the broader, safer, beaten track –

people climb on colourfully dressed ponies

            or trudge uphill – to reach the fog draped

mysterious cliff: At 3,120 ft. above sea level –

            that cradling Bhutan’s holiest monastery

majestically beckons one to its amorous heart.

 

Wanting to save on time, we’ve risked

            a tedious climb, as our group of six –

of four local Bhutanese youth comprise:

            who’d take us up in two hours by a short-cut

instead of the ascertained three to four hours –

            reaching us well before the monastery gates

close at five – barring us from the peace

            of the sanctum we seek; relieving our sins  

as popularly believed – through the toil

             of the wearying, challenging climb.

 

I was excited over the first few yards, by

            the picturesque view of dainty bridges, tiny stupas,

also varied Rhododendron around hill-water crests

            from which by the hand-full we thirstily drank:

till a colourfully saddled,  rider-less horse –

            came gawkily strutting downhill;

with his coir reins in his front hoof entangling –

            he ensnared my attention, wilting my heart

with his helpless plight, to trot off straddling my steady breath –

             to gasp terminally the rest of the precipitous

 climb;  a native girl by hand, sturdily lugging me up.

 

After a three hour climb and a half-hour halt

            in steady drizzle – once Tiger Nest’s white stone walls,

 golden tiered roofs are visible: our Bhutanese friends

             now in respect drape their Gho and Kira

the traditional dress: as I bid my last dash of strength

            to press on, though my breath soon threatens to desist

on the final 350 steep stone steps – on which

            the air is so sharply thin and crisp

I gasp ominously – alarmed it’s my Death Whistle!

 

Once inside the temple, as if floating between life

             and death, I bow my head to the floor to Guru Rinpoche –

the patron sage, and this manifestations: till I interpret ‘nirvana’

            on viewing the mystical glow on Buddha’s striking golden face.

 

 

 

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