Yatra is a Sanskrit word and it literally means, ‘journey’. In the context of self-inquiry Yatra becomes a ‘sacred journey’. I started my Yatra in early April with one goal: to integrate my inner and outer journeys.
As we move through life all our feelings, intentions, thoughts, visions, and dream experiences becomes our internal journey. The actions and movement through time-space becomes outer journey. Most often our internal and outer journeys are in harmony, i.e. given a situation, our internal feelings and intentions are in congruent with our external actions.
However as life gets complicated, in-congruencies start to manifest. For example, a teenage wants to take an action for which they feel a very strong urge to do so and if parent or ‘an authority’ forces them to do ‘something else’ without channeling the ’emotional energy’ of ‘urge’ into ‘something else’ then the split in internal and external journey creates an in-congruency in teenager’s life. And it is in these instances of life where a part of awareness is left behind while our journey-of-life continues forward. Over time we accumulate many such in-congruencies and they get crystallized in our life (depending on how strong the un-channeled urge was) as various signs in dreams, continuous pains and aches, or other physical or behavior or life-style imbalances.
To heal these crystallized energy we have to bring the part of awareness back and integrate it with our ‘Presence’. Every motion has its center from which it operates. In Cranial Healing work we call it, ‘The Fulcrum’. To heal the crystallized energy we have to find its fulcrum and that becomes the source for healing the imbalance. Most such imbalances can be healed by releasing the stuck energy (in work, play or therapy) but for some we have to take a journey or Yatra.
My Yatra does not have have specific destination, only a vague itinerary that is based on my inner and outer experiences and an approximate time of four months. In last five years my dreams and visions have been filled with uncanny images and sensations from Arabia, Andalusia and Himalayan traditions. In next four months I plan to visit cities and cultures that have significant connection with these traditions to integrate my inner and outer journeys. The journey, symbols, ceremonies, rituals, dreams and visions are tools to heal and transform our awareness as music or art changes our moods. The power of transformation is not in the tool but in the mind that can skillfully use these tools.
Fes: Sights, Smells and Sacred Mandals
The city of Fes (Morocco) was first stop in the journey. Fes was founded in 789 AD by Moulay Idriss. It is one of the oldest city in Morocco. It comprises three distinct parts, Fes el Bali (the old, walled city) or Medina, Fes-Jdid (new Fes, home of the Mellah) and the Ville Nouvelle (the French-created, newest section of Fes). Some of its Arabic traditions and cultural aspects are still alive from 10th and 11th century and so are it’s buildings, alleys and tanneries. Beside many traditional bazaars, tanneries, mosques, residential houses, and Islamic schools there is the University of Al-Karaouine, founded in AD 859, is the oldest continuously functioning university in the world.
We stayed in a Riad, a traditional Moroccan home with garden in the middle courtyard, that has been converted into a B&B. We visited Medina on the next day of our stay in Fez. The life and energy of Fes was very familiar and we made instant connection with B&B people, traders, restaurant owners and herbalist.
Rachid, like me, blends essential oils and herbs to help people. He has blends for Arthritis to skin-conditioners.
Life in Fes is slow and very traditional. People close shops after launch to take nap. People like to talk and stay in streets and cafes late night enjoying mint tea and smoke. Its is an interconnected and collaborative community. The restaurant owners will compete to get the customer but will support each other and provide different dishes from each other’s menu. We often went to same restaurant and the owner got us food from three or four neighboring restaurants.
Every drinking-water fountain in Medina has beautiful mandala on it as if they knew that water can carry energy of emotions (I guess they didn’t needed Dr. Emoto to prove it). The energy of Medina’s sounds, smells and sacred art was so enchanting that for the three consecutive nights I had vivid and uncanny dreams with life like quality as if I was experiencing Medina at many different energetic levels. Many of the images and mandals I had seen in my previous dreams and they reappeared with much more intensity and vibrancy.
One night I had a vivid experience that all life is One interconnected web, a sacred living mandala! And like a Great Mother it supports and nurtures all life. I felt this is what Ancients called ‘the Goddess’ and this realization went through my whole being like a flood of energy. Something had changed!
Inside the Great Mystery that is,
we don’t really own anything.
What is this competition we feel then,
before we go, one at a time, through the same gate? ~ Rumi
With that heart warming realization we fly to Andalusia, to relax and absorb the experience!