Sunday, March 15, 2009

Facing Fears on a 2-Wheeler

I conquer fears while I travel. In Costa Rica, it was the fear of big waves in the ocean. I faced that fear by plunging into the surf when the mountains of moving water were merely foothills-great for me, not so ideal for the surfer dudes.

I faced the last man ever to attack me with a knife on a solitary stretch of beach 8-10Km from where I lived in Puerto Viejo. I had no fear and he kept looking at his machete making sure it was actually in his hand and pointed at me. By the end of that encounter, he was shoving the stuff into my backpack and insisting I keep the small hand full of Colones; which, by the way, was not enough to purchase a bus ride back to my house. I had to beg for help. A German couple looked at me in their own fear and ultimately, the folks earning roughly $2-$4 a day gathered enough coins together for my ticket.

In New Zealand, Mark instructed me on riding a small motorcycle through the fields of the farm where he lived. After a bad stop that tumbled me ass over kettle down the embankment beside the road, bike sliding in time with my out of control descent, I cultivated a justifiable fear of motorized 2-wheelers. But...coming to Auroville has changed all that. The red roads curve across the 20 square Km expanse of this Universal City, through trees and green belt, small villages and to the sea. I road my own scooter to an appointment for the tour of the temple here, a gigantic gold ball in the center of a vast open space peppered with flowers, grass and one banyan tree. It is called the Matri Mandir.

Inside the monolithic orb, I found other-worldly application of sacred geometry as the ramp swept in a spiral up to the round inner chamber. It was designed that one ray of sun always shines into the center of the temple. In the main meditation hall, there is a large crystal ball, the sunlight shines through it and reflects us, heads toward the earth, and dances light through moving clouds as we sit in stillness watching. The ray continues down to at least two lower floors, each with a smaller and smaller crystal. The smallest crystal lies beneath the sphere in the center of a lotus made of 216 marbles petals, 7 rows of 24 petals, taking the light into the earth. I have never seen, felt or been inside anything so magnificent. The Egyptian crypts, temples and pyramids pale in comparison to this place.

Having duly conquered the mo-ped and been amply rewarded by entering the sacred space, I found one more layer of scooter-fear. Could I ride someone on the back? Well, last night, I did just that. There was a dance at the Visitor's Center and my neighbor Melissa wanted to join me. Since I had discovered the secret to motor bikes is their ability to do all the work-all I have to do is stay on the seat and give it enough gas not to wobble-I was game for taking on a passenger. Well, not only was it a breeze, it made a breeze as we tooled on down the road to boogie for the evening.

While I have learned much in the art of packing for a trip, it is always preferable to travel light. And fears make for heavy luggage. Perhaps it is the convenience of unloading the extra weight that opportunities so often manifest on trips. Sometimes, I find fears that I didn't even know I had have been lifted. Giving up old ideas, pains and false-beliefs is truly a small price to pay for entering into the sacred place where light moves through me in a steady stream, uniting the earthly aspects of my being with the heavens. After all, what is there really to be afraid of but...fear itself!

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