One of my social media friends, Nick Richmond, is traveling around India on what I call a “spiritual journey.” I asked if he would mind sharing his thoughts with us and he agreed. His blog is called Something About Boys, which has more posts about his India trip and lots of terrific photos. The following is what he wrote to share on my blog:
Here is a land to make you think and feel, a place where indifference is impossible.
Arriving has taken 35 years.
As a lad I tried to hitch-hike overland from England, only to be frustrated by the Iranian hostage crisis effectively closing the border to English passports. I resurrected the dream after a stroke disrupted my life: forced me to leave my job, damaged my relationships, but also gave me time and space to contemplate what I wanted to do, or perhaps what I needed to do.
The ancient Greeks had two words for time: “chronos” and “kairos”. The latter describes critical moments of change. My experience of kairos is time slowing down at intense moments, like falling off your bike. For the last 18 months I’ve worked at recovering what has been damaged and lost. It’s been a challenge and I needed a break, what I didn’t realize was that kairos would turn a few days into such an existential journey.
I’m not sure revelations are instantly revealed; that there are many “burning bush” moments, or you need to take a tumble off your bike. More often events take time and effort to understand, sink in, and be incorporated into your story. Religion can help; whether a deity, icon, mantra, parable or quiet time, all support the dawning of fresh perspectives and creation of new narratives.
Rishikesh is billed as the yoga capital of the world and sits where the Ganges leaves the Himalayan foothills for the plains. It feels like a holy place.
I had no agenda coming here other than to see the mountains, but I immediately felt caught up by a current, an eddy, that’s washed old wounds and left me feeling more prepared to rejoin the flow and contemplate a future. Though I didn’t know it, and wasn’t consciously looking, I needed a prompt, a turn of the page. I found it here in this extraordinary place, with the help of a little elephant.