Recollections on Sri Chinmoy: Some more dream experiences with Guru
- In 2005, I had the great good fortune to participate in the World Harmony Run. I ran with the team relay-style from St. Louis Missouri to Eugene Oregon. There is something absolutely magical about that run and I encourage anyone and everyone who has the opportunity and the inspiration to participate in this event, in any capacity.
Often disciples would sponsor us for a day, buying our food and gear, and sometimes they would even arrange to put us up in fancy hotels. It's true, as one of my friends said, that "us yogis get blown away by one star", but Lord, how much I enjoyed staying in a five-star hotel after running six or ten miles in 103 degree heat!
Anyway, one night we checked into some cheap Ramada Inn somewhere in Utah or Nevada (nobody sponsored us that night!) and I hit the sack pretty early, being totally wiped. I had a sweet dream that night that I'd like to share. In my dream, I came out of my body spontaneously, effortlessly, and flew across the country to our Aspiration-Ground, our meditation Centre, in Queens. I was just the size of a little thimble or hummingbird! Guru was conducting Wednesday night meditation, but I flew right up to him and screamed at the top of my lungs, "Hi, Guru!" That, by the way, is absolutely not how I would have spoken to Guru under ordinary circumstances. But Guru just said, very seriously, but also with a little smile in his voice, "Be quiet. I am meditating on you."
The following morning I felt so light, and so refreshed! So much so that I didn't miss any of our five star hotels with their goose down pillows and heavenly mattresses and Jacuzzis.
Maybe I had my most significant dream experience with Guru in the autumn of 1998, after I had been a disciple for about a year. I had just graduated college. Shortly before my graduation, I asked my Centre leader if she would please ask Guru if I should continue studying, i.e. pursue graduate work, or if I should discontinue my education. She very kindly approached Guru about my situation. Guru said that I did not have to study anymore, but should just get a job. He said that the place I work should have a nice atmosphere.
That was a little bit of a shock to me because I had been practically a professional student my entire life, and knew nothing about holding down a job. I come from privilege (my family isn't financially privileged anymore but that's another story!).
The first job I took out of college was at Nordstrom's, a fine department store. I worked in the men's section, sorting clothes and stocking shelves. I know it sounds like a very simple set of tasks, but I wasn't very good at it. At all. I argued stupidly with my boss a lot about how things should be done.
Anyway, I had been there for about a month when I had a very interesting dream of Guru. In my dream, it was the night before the New York City Marathon, in early November. My best friend, John, and I had just driven up from Philadelphia to attend a special pre-Marathon function with Guru, at some small local school, maybe PS 117. Guru meditated very powerfully, and then he asked the men who would be running the next day to come up and pass by him on the stage, and to carry their running shoes with them. John and I both had our running shoes tied up in plastic bags so we got in line, excited to receive the Master's special blessings. But maybe ten or fifteen boys away from the Master, Guru said, whimsically, "Ok, that's enough- now women may come." My friend and I just looked at each other and smiled. We bowed down low to Guru from twenty feet away and returned to our seats.
When all the women had finished passing by Guru, he called for a short ten-minute intermission. People got up out of their chairs and began milling around the room. I was such a new disciple, I didn't know anyone. John stayed in his seat, but I got up and began walking around, looking for someone I recognized.
Then, all of a sudden, Guru came up to me!
"So, how is your new job, Morris?" he asked me.
I was so flabbergasted!
I started telling Guru how I was having difficulties with my boss but that I was trying really hard and Guru held up his hand and cut me off saying, "No, no."
He paused for a second and looked at me and said, "The spiritual life embodies a Goal."
Then he paused again and said, "You have to be very careful of your mind's interpretation of truth."
Then he embraced me tightly and whispered in my ear, "You're all right."
Then he let me go and walked away and I was left standing there, totally dazed!
In the next scene of the dream, John and I had arrived at our rented apartment and were preparing for bed. He was already in his bunk and was starting to drift off. I was brushing my teeth, but then I looked into my own eyes in the mirror and I saw, in the depths of my eyes, that I was running in the marathon the next day. I saw that I was running with tremendous difficulty, that I was almost dead last, slower than the slowest. But I was still running, and that's all that mattered. I was moving, at my own pace, and going towards the goal.
I've thought about this dream many times through the years, trying to grasp its meaning. I think when Guru told me that the spiritual life embodies a Goal, he was trying to remind me that even though I may be working in the outer world, I still have to remember that my ultimate goal is not material advancement or status- but it is to realize God. So, he was telling me that I should work hard and diligently, but never forget the ultimate Goal.
When he told me that I have to be careful of how my mind interprets things or `truth', he was telling me to try to see the truth through his eyes. In other words, if I take the Master as my Guru, and if I believe him when he says that he is a God-realised soul, then I have to try to identify with his consciousness if I want to know higher truth and also apply it in my own life. That's a challenge for intellectuals like me, who are often handicapped by our rational, empirical training. That's also why Guru did not want me to continue with my formal education. It's like the story of how Arjuna agreed with Krishna when Krishna said that the leaves of a tamarind tree were of a certain color, and he kept agreeing with Krishna even when Krishna changed his mind about the color.
When Guru embraced me and told me that I was "all right" he was telling me to see myself the way he sees me. I did some wacky things before I became a disciple. And even after joining the Centre I made some serious mistakes, to put it mildly. But Guru's love for me has always been overwhelmingly unconditional, to this very day! If I can lead a real, spiritual life, I will always feel Guru's love, and that love will eventually replace my vital ego and my mental self-doubt as the most important and vivid force in my life.
I am grateful to the Master for these illumining dreams and I am happy to offer them to the world.
- To Mahiruha and others who wish to hear stories about Mahiruha,
Thanks for the illumining dreams and stories. Not sure about how much time people want to spend on reading a long post like that or like the one I am about to write, but you did make it interesting enough to get through it all.
I hope this one is not too long so I may write it in a couple of installments as there is more than one story, most of them amusing, about Mahiruha on that 2005 World Harmony Run that he mentioned in the beginning of his post.
I hope they are not embarrassing for you Mahiruha, as I just think they are kind of cute and gave me lots of joy. You always seem to have a way to lighten things up and make people laugh or at least bring some amusement to others, just as your dreams seem to do.
These next two stories are reality though, and not dreams.
The first is about the time when Mahiruha and I were a two man team out in the middle of nowhere in the vast and desolate Southwest, I think in Arizona or Utah. We decided to do a two man leapfrog, where one of us runs with the torch and the other drives ahead a mile or more and parks the van and runs with another torch from there after locking the van. This is a bit risky, especially if one of us forgets our key. But that did not happen fortunately.
On one of the legs of the leap I was driving ahead to pass Mahiruha and then park ahead of him and then go out and start running. There was no one around on this desolate desert road so we had no problems finding parking or worrying about the safety of the van. As I was driving I noticed a runner in the distance, but they had no torch so I thought perhaps it was a local runner. The problem with that was that there were no towns or houses or people around for miles, so I could not figure out who would be running out here. As I got closer I noticed that it was Mahiruha running without a torch.
I was not sure why he had no torch but I know that sometimes we would not light the torch if it was really hot and dry and a dangerous fire hazard in some parts of this area of the country. But we always carried a torch, even if it was not lit.
As I approached him slowly driving with my window open I did not say a word. I wanted to ask him why he did not have a torch but as soon as he saw me he realized that he was not carrying a torch and very excitedly reacted, embarrassed and apologetic. I started laughing and he was also amused that he could just get out of the van without a torch after all these weeks on the road running with a torch.
It was very amusing but seemed quite natural being out here in a stark and desolate setting that the mind would not function as it normally would in a more populated and busy area. Mahiruha was quite taken by the beauty and the vastness of the southwest and this was evident by his 'spacey' detachment from his normally sharp witted mind. I think it was the only time I ever witnessed a runner forgetting to carry a torch and not realise it for a mile or so.
Since this story was quite long I will save the next story for the next post if Mahiruha and others wish to hear more in the ongoing adventures of the U.S.A. World Harmony Run, Mahiruha style.
I think I will tell the one about Mahiruha, then called Morris, dancing under a street sign while Salil was taking photos as I approached from the distance carrying the torch, wondering what could possibly be happening here.
If you want to find out then stay tuned........
- Dear Mahiruha,
I am really impressed by the deep messages you were lovingly offered by Guru in your dreams!
They are teaching me a lot!