Sunday, August 12, 2012

A Sliver Of Hell: How To Keep The Faith

There was that familiar feeling of wanting to vomit, knees buckling, light headed, inner stillness as the surrounding environment became secondary, difficulty breathing, and a question of how is this part of the Divine's Plan?  It wasn't as violent, but it was a version of the "dog with the broken jaw" reaction.  I had said "bring it on," but I was only going to see the elephants at their house...

Should walking down the street have given me a clue, but I was trying to break the habit of judging unless I know the story directly?  The girl squatting to relieve herself at the top of a mound of debris was familiar, the man picking through the garbage piles while sharing with the pigs was familiar, the crowded street, the street dogs, the cows, the watching eyes, the...were all familiar.

I spotted the large shed with one elephant.  I found the place. The massiveness is always stunning. What I didn't expect to see was the elephant cross-chained-tethered by the right hind leg and the left front leg.  The shed was clean, the roof tall, air was circulating, food piled along the wall, and a kind young boy who enthusiastically offered to take my photo while he held a metal crowbar in his other hand.

Some animals while kept in an unnatural environment begin to weave side-to-side, chew, crib, a long list of displacement activities.  Humans have a list too--twirling a mustache, picking at finger nails, pulling on a strand of hair, clinching teeth and more.  It was remarkable what this elephant had created with its' two free legs and trunk.

(There is a 20 second video clip.  It may take a moment to buffer.)

Yesterday, I had just come to the conclusion that my real soft spot is still non-human animals.  I get how crazy we are, but it is difficult to see it applied to other animals.  I walked through the group of mothers with babies begging, the children under ten who wanted to show me magic, the street vendors, and the other parts of the list.  We have people in America who go into movie theaters and open gunfire on innocent movie viewers or go by a religious place and open fire on people of different faiths, so we have plenty of disturbances too.

As I stopped for a moment to find my physical senses so I could walk home, I reflected. I have gone full circle.  I remember the day in the dressage arena in San Diego that I felt anguish, sadness, and suicidal for the apparent conditions of what living in the world appeared to mean.  Three years later, I have completely turned my life inside out to try and find some thread of how to be, live, and have my heart wide open.  The answer must still lie beyond me.  As witnessed today, I still don't have the personal capacity to remain transparent in the wake of Earth's Insanity Drama.

Three years of searching has shown me an inner place that is beyond what is observed as reality.  I will just have to pull a number from the ticket dispenser, wait, and see what happens.  Faith is still the only possible answer.  "For I cannot see the bigger picture."

All so humbling.  I did offer the boy 100 rupees for petting the elephant,  I offered tears and gratitude to the elephant for enduring this life while I stroked her trunk, and pranam to the Universe for once again offering this much pain to somehow continue to grow and deepen in what doesn't make sense mentally. Yes, there is much, much worse as war rages in Syria, etc. ,but this is a personal sliver of hell for once again continuing to awaken.  The amazing grace of pain.

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