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  • Writer's pictureOmer Eilam

Aho Mitakuye Oyasin


Last days in Israel before flying back to Europe and starting a new life in Berlin. The Covid situation there is dire, with many imposed restrictions, and so I try to be cautious and not develop great expectations upon arrival. I even thought of further postponing the flight but intuitively I feel that it is time to move on. Thinking of my time here, I realise in retrospect that the emphasis – or dare I write mission – of my stay was to work on my relationships. This theme came up again and again: in the sessions with Rishi, in the Ayahuasca and San Pedro ceremonies, and in the countless encounters with my close friends and family members both near and far. I consciously tried (and many times failed) not to take the other person for granted, to be fully present and listen, to tend to each conversation with affection and care as if it was a living organism. I recently started writing a new essay recollecting my journey of depression and healing. I gave it the tentative title "Heart of Stone" in relation to the stone that I found on the beach a few days after arriving to Israel and which accompanied me since. But now I think that the focus of the essay should change to that which is insinuated in this prologue, and so should the name: Aho Mitakuye Oyasin – To All My Relationships.

Part I – Dear Mother

It all started in Kidron Forest. A few days after coming back from Switzerland with no plans and no direction, feeling stranded in my home country. In my hand was a stone I found in the beach the other day which I was embellishing with a white thread. I've been collecting different stones since I came back and dedicating them to special individuals in my life. This was to be the fate of this particular stone as well but when I finished it seemed to look like a figure with a splint that fixes its broken arm. I decided to keep it to myself as a symbol of having to accept my limitations.

Back in the civilised world I was reading a lecture from Rudolf Steiner entitled Mysticism at the Dawn of the Modern Age. About half way through he quotes Angelus Silesius: "I know that without me God cannot live for a moment". Before managing to finish the sentence I choked and then completely burst into tears. Then gradually an image appeared: my skin was covered in stone, a chisel was placed against it and a hammer was flung towards it hitting it with full power, fracturing the stone and ricocheting little pieces in all directions. The pain associated with the image was a liberating one, but what really hurt was the realization of the magnitude of the stone that still needs to be broken, and the recognition of some active parts within me that continue strengthening that stone.

The following day I travelled to Jerusalem to participate in an Extinction Rebellion action in front of the Ministry of Energy to demand a transition to clean energy. I was dressed up as a tree and joined the rest of the activists as we made our way to the blockade. The mood was tense, many frustrated drivers storming out of their cars in rage throwing curses and shouting at the first line of blockaders trying to scare them away. And then they appeared from afar, a procession of Red Rebels slowly making its way towards us like sacred messengers from another dimension of reality. They circled around me and bowed as a symbol of worship. I saw the image of the chisel again and felt a tear in my eye, only it was not really my eye but rather the eye of the Tree, shedding a human tear for the Man who recognised its sacredness. And then there was silence; no more honking car horns, no more shouts, mo more violence, just sacred silence engulfing the entire area, carried by the Red Rebels in a ritualistic transformation proceeding from the trees, through the activists, to the people and beyond.

The next morning inspired words streamed into my consciousness, spelling out the message which the Red Rebels brought with them from the Spiritual World:

Dear Mother,

Nourish me with the fruit of your Earth, so I can grow my roots together with yours

Give me of your water, so that my tears dissolve all human strife

Teach me how to walk your ground, so I can protect you from those who try to harm you

Tell me of yours trees, so I can be more still – like them, like you

Reflect to me the sun in your oceans, so I always see the light and the way

Reveal to me your changing skies, so I perceive that life is movement

Ask me what is the meaning of life, so I remember that the answer lies within the question

Change my mind so often, so I can appreciate all your contradictions

Soften my heart and permeate me, so I am filled with my true Self

Part II – Heart of Stone

It's been half a year since I stopped taking the anti-depressants. During the first few months I was stable, but as the second wave of the Corona virus hit everything changed, externally and internally. A barrage of thoughts constantly torments me; a feeling of alienation from the world and a general lack of direction and meaning in life mixed with dystopian visions of the future governed by humanity's impulse for destruction and self-annihilation. I am constantly trying alternative methods of therapy: running and swimming at the beach, meditation and yoga, breathing exercises, cold showers, and so on and so forth. Do they help? I suppose so but their effect is counteracted by hours in front of the computer and by the incessant stream of thoughts. What do I want to do in life? How can I participate in society in a way that is both materially and spiritually regenerative? What will make me happy? I don't know... Perhaps the most important question is whether I can be in this place of unknowing without sinking further into depression.

Following an advice from my mom I went for a meeting with a person called Rishi which she visited about 17 years ago at a place called "Ashram at the Desert" which he helped to establish back then after returning to Israel from India. After a short talk he told me to lie down and start breathing intensively through my mouth for about 30 minutes under his guidance. At the beginning I had to make quite an effort to breathe like that but at some point the body got into the rhythm of it, almost like a trance. My memory of those moments is vague but at some point I remember a shift: the background music changed to melancholic violins, my breath got slower and suddenly a barrage of emotions overwhelmed me. I could see all the pain that I carry within me, and recognizing how unnecessary it all is I was flooded with tears full of compassion. When the emotions dissipated I was filled with calmness, spaciousness, and felt as if my entire body was charged with high voltage electricity. A few moments later thoughts started to reappear, like an army that was previously chased away now making its renewed assault. Slowly I came back to my normal state.

The next morning I practiced full-body-listening (i.e. dancing) to the music of Giacinto Scelsi. Echoes from a dystopian future that seemed so familiar moved my limbs in a rhythm that wasn't really audible yet somehow more intense than any beat of a drum. As the last sounds disappeared into the distance I felt a calling to revisit my handicapped stone. As I grabbed it I noticed something has changed: a shell that was stuck inside of it had moved, opening up a space that was previously blocked. Without any further thought I took a black thread and made another pattern intertwined with the white. It was the yang to balance the yin, restoring wholeness and holding in place the shell-shaped heart that has broken off from the stone.

Part III - Beyond Politics

One evening I went to an online meeting with Da'am, a "revolutionary socialist Jewish–Arab political party in Israel". I admit that I've never heard of the party until that day and the reason I joined (besides my curiosity) was to raise awareness of the climate crisis as a representative of Extinction Rebellion. After a very informative meeting and discussion I was left with two reflections.

The first is the gap between the climate movement and the political landscape. The vision of Da'am regarding the climate crisis is probably the most progressive among all the political parties in Israel and yet it doesn't go far enough. It describes a Green New Deal focused on technological innovation and renewable energies with equal distribution of the profits, but it says nothing about the infeasibility of endless growth, about our materialistic consumer-culture and about the rights of nature. I tend to think that grassroot movements stand at the vanguard of political change, and yet seeing this huge gap between the two I now wonder if the inability of electoral politics to keep up with the changing reality will eventually make it completely irrelevant. A part of me even hopes it will be so...

The second thing was regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. During the meeting some people voiced their concern with voting for a party that will probably be too small to join the parliament, and then asked if Da'am would consider cooperating with other leftwing parties. The answer was that none of the other parties object to Israel being a Jewish state and none of them support a one state solution with equal rights between Israelis and Palestinians. Reflecting on that issue I realized that I do not know whether I support a one state or a two state solution myself. And actually how could I? How could anyone really? The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is so deep and the current situation is so dire that one has to be very pretentious to think that they could just sketch a ready made solution and hope that it will miraculously materialize and everyone else will come aboard. As with the climate crisis, I want to see parties more connected with reality and with the grassroots: I want to see a discussion about stopping the thousands of infiltrations of IDF soldiers to Palestinian homes in the West Bank in the middle of the night. I want to see a discussion about lifting the siege from Gaza and letting the population there have full access to electricity and running water. I want to see a discussion about ceasing the establishment of new settlements which are illegal by international law. And I want to see a reaching out, beginning to talk with the other and really listen to what is on their minds and in their hearts. To take the time and be patient without any a-priori grand plan that will solve everything and nothing at all.

About a month later I found myself in an Extinction Rebellion retreat very close to the border with Gaza. On the first day we joined an initiative called "Lighthouse Gaza" that has been taking place there every Friday for over three years. The idea was very simple: everyone sits in a circle and when your turn comes you introduce yourself and say what Gaza means to you. One of my activist friends recalled a story from his military service. He wanted to be a medic so he could bring healing to the cruel reality of war. But one day during training his platoon was rehearsing a scenario of "encounter with the enemy" where an Arab fighter was wounded. The question what to do in that situation arose among the soldiers and to my friend's astonishment the consensus was to perform a confirmation of death (a euphemism for execution). Some time after that incident my friend left his unit and eventually was released from his military duties due to lack of compliance. When it was my turn to speak I just mentioned that while the reality of Gaza wasn't the reason I decided to leave Israel, it is why I cannot bring myself to return.

Back in Tel Aviv and after a very long gestation period of wishing to do so I took part in a Red Rebels performance during a protest against governmental corruption. Little did I know that a minor 4-person contribution would turn into a night full of rich encounters. We met in a small bar near Ha'Bima Square and started dressing ourselves with all the red garments: shirts, sashes, capes, strings, veils and a crown – all in bright glowing red symbolic of the blood flowing out of our Mother Earth. A white face and black eyeliner for the makeup and we were good to go.

Everyone's attention was immediately upon us as we walked out to the streets and made our way to the square, walking slowly and in unison. A few seconds after we reached the place one of the organisers approached us and offered – literally demanded – that we go onstage. And so we did, taking slow-motion steps up the stairs as the eyes of hundreds in the audience became fixated in curiosity and awe. We stood there for some time, providing a backdrop to the alternating orators with gestures of grief, rage, care, hope and love, our silence being the perfect contrast to the public uproar. Stepping off the stage, we made our way through the audience in an angelic procession while every now and then freezing in place, sensing and shaping the atmosphere of the crowds through our mutual encounters.

A professional photographer wanted to take our pictures while directing us in the space. Feeling slightly uncomfortable by the sensational flavour of the camera's appeal as well as by the prospect of my friend Adam – with whom I was to meet after the protest – waiting for me, I went to a hidden corner, reached out for my phone and called him. "You look beautiful in red", he said as I turned around and saw him standing nearby with his usual simple-and-content smile which I remembered so well. We hugged each other fully and firmly, and for a second, amidst all the turmoil and unrest of our times, wrapped in red veils, all was safe and all was well under Mother Nature's care.

Part IV – A night at the police station

As the general elections here in Israel are up and coming and the climate and ecological crisis is not really on the agenda of any of the major parties, Extinction Rebellion organised a graffiti action with the motto "the climate crisis isn't waiting for the next elections" to be sprayed outside all party headquarters. My partner, a lovely woman from Tel Aviv, and I were to target two headquarters in the northern part pf the city, and since we had all the equipment with us we decided to use it also in the streets in order to raise public awareness.

Not too long after we started a police car drove by and noticed us. We immediately dropped all the incriminating stencils and spray paints and started walking nonchalantly. But it was too late: the cops came out of the car and told us to stop. They separated me from my partner and started questioning us. At first they thought we were trying to steal a nearby motorcycle because our stuff was lying next to it but then they realised what was really happening. Eventually they decided to arrest us, putting cuffs on our hands and legs, and driving us to a nearby police station, all the while instructing us not to talk to each other so as not to disrupt investigative proceedings.

Around 3 am we arrived at the station. Two persons were already there who were detained before us and awaiting further investigation. This meant we had to wait for many hours before it was our turn to be questioned. We were put in adjacent cells and reminded not to talk to each other. Outside the holding cells, sitting at a desk, was a police officer, a big guy in his 40s with a cheerful temper, who was meant to guard us and take care of our needs if necessary. My partner realised that while she is forbidden from talking with me she might be able to speak with him. I don't know if it was to ease the stress or out of curiosity but it worked and he was quite communicative. He talked about his life in the police force: the adrenalin rushes from the field work, the scorn he has to swallow in protests, the satisfaction from helping people in trouble, and many other honest confessions. He talked in length about his relationship with his daughter, how his work as a policeman makes him much more protective of her, feeling it's imperative to save her from the dangerous world of villains out there. And I was thinking of my brother and how his work as a medical doctor is making him more protective of his daughter, feeling it's imperative to save her from the dangerous world of viruses out there. And then I was thinking of us humans, how we created this dangerous world of villains and viruses in the first place, and how we keep adding fuel to the fire with our fears and our egos.

At 7 am the first officer finished his shift and another one came to replace him while we were still waiting for our investigation. An older man this time, close to his pension, and as friendly and communicative as the first. He told us that as a boy he was sent to a yeshiva, an educational institution for orthodox jews focused on the study of traditional religious texts. When he turned 17 he decided to leave the yeshiva and discover the secular world, albeit still holding on to traditional jewish laws and values. He did his military service as a fighter and then joined a program where he could work in a Kibbutz while completing a basic high school education. Eventually he even enrolled at the university and studied for a Bachelor in the History of Arts. After this lengthy autobiographical monologue he said that we were probably dying to know how he found his way into the police force. To be honest it didn't occur to me and probably neither to my partner, but I sensed that this question was accompanying him for many years during his service. He later confessed that in his soul he always wanted to be a teacher, but apparently life had other plans. At some point we got to talk about our eating habits. He said he was vegetarian and that some members of his family are vegan, which he holds in high regard. He told us that according to the bible meat was forbidden in the early days of humanity and only after the flood God permitted it, seeing how strong the lust of the flesh was for Man. When he realised that my partner was vegan he told her she has a lofty soul.

Finally they came to take me to the investigation room. The detective seemed either tired or not very enthusiastic. I could imagine he would prefer dealing with more meaningful things than a couple of environmental activists painting the streets. He asked me about what we were doing out there, about my hands being covered with paint, about the spray bottles in my partner's backpack and the paint covered stencils. He also showed me pictures of the graffitis they discovered which matched the text on the stencils. I thought it was senseless to deny anything but based on the few debriefs I heard about how to conduct oneself under investigation I chose the right to remain silent when answering most of his questions. At last he asked me if I had anything else to add and I said that I was sorry for not being more cooperative and that I hope we will all strive for a more beautiful world. After the questioning I was taken to another room so he could take my profile picture and finger prints. So much bureaucracy for such a small offence seemed unreasonable but at that moment I was way too tired to think of reason.

The detective brought me back to the holding cell and told me I should call someone to act as bail and get me out of custody. I called my mom and asked her to come. He then took my partner with him for it was her turn to be questioned. Shortly after two new persons were brought in to the holding cell. They were Palestinian arabs and caught without a residence or a working permit. Apparently they make up a high percentage of the arrestees as they cannot really earn enough money for food where they live so they are forced to look for illegal work where Israeli law does not permit them to be. The officer, same one as before, did not pay much attention to them and instead wanted to continue our conversation. He asked if I studied anything and I told him that I'm actually a doctor of biology and a musician. He was noticeably surprised and asked what the hell I was doing there. "You tell me", I said. He said he felt ashamed and I said that it is just like in the movies, where everyone is playing their parts according to the roles provided by the system: the police officer, the activist, the illegal resident, etc. etc.

My partner came back from her questioning. It seemed to have gone faster than mine; perhaps the detective didn't have the patience to go over all the senseless proceedings one more time. A few minutes later my mom called to say that she arrived. My handcuffs were gone at this point, I don't remember who took them off of me or when, but the legcuffs were still there. I asked the officer if he could remove them before she comes and he agreed. I gave a big hug to my partner and left together with the detective who showed me the way out. My mom was waiting in the police station lobby, looking concerned and trying not to be over sentimental as she passed through the gate. She came towards me, I offered her an embarrassed smile and she gently caressed my back. We went to the detective's room in order to sign the release documents. He told me I was forbidden from having contact with my partner and from visiting Tel Aviv for the next 15 days. We both signed and left the station.

Spending a night at the police station makes you see the system from within, with all its flaws and contradictions; like an officer admitting that neither you nor the illegal resident sitting beside you should really be there. To my regret we will see more and more contradictions like these, whose purpose is to wake us up so that we change direction towards a more beautiful world. A world where we are not governed by a loveless system but guided by our longing to be more and more connected, to each other and to the earth.

Part V – The three gifts of Ayahuasca

A week after the Ayahuasca ceremony it is time to try to put that experience in words. I feel a bit intimidated to do so because there's so much to say but no capacity to write it all. I will therefore limit myself to describe the three gifts that this experience has given me and which I would like to carve deeply into my memory. Hopefully the experience itself will shine through them.

I remember that one night in the small apartment in Amsterdam in May 2019, during the last days of Aus LICHT, when I listened to Rudolf Steiner for the first time and experienced the revelation of the Christ Impulse within me. Ever since that night I've been trying to find my way (back) to the Spiritual World, searching in so many places, thinking about it, reading about it, talking about it, practicing its ways, but never quite experiencing it. On the first night of the retreat, after drinking my second cup of Ayahuasca, I closed my eyes and started seeing visions, a cosmic concert of audiovisual perceptions. At first I was reluctant, feeling that I came here to face my demons and instead I'm just having fun. But then I surrendered to it, saying to myself that if this is what the medicine wants to show me then I will give it my full attention. On the second night, again after the second cup, the message was clearer: the green glowing neon lights, the energies flowing through us and making us sing and dance, the warmth extending between our bodies – these were all spiritual beings celebrating with us, through us and inside us. The first gift was to experience the Spiritual World in full consciousness.

Shortly after this realisation I felt lighter. The music changed, someone was playing an upbeat song on the guitar and singing in devotion. Others felt the call too, they got up and started dancing, and I joined them. We danced simultaneously together and apart, for our being did not end in the circumference of our bodies, and each movement we made was an expression of pure freedom. When the song was over we all bowed to the musician in gratitude for sharing this special moment together. Not feeing like going back to my mat I instead went to Avigail, one of the helpers of the retreat, and asked her to give me a bit of Rapé, a sacred tobacco which helps to focus the mind and cleanse the body. As she was administering the powder she asked me if I can feel the effect of grandma (a nickname for ayahuasca), and I told her that for the first time in a year I feel happy again. That was the second gift.

As both nights went on I experienced some difficult moments of feeling the medicine flowing inside my veins and my stomach, struggling with inner resistances but also softening them and creating a space where the ego is no longer the supreme ruler but rather a backseat passenger, impressed by the creativity that flows out of a deep connection with the source. There and then, at the border between the physical and spiritual worlds, I hovered above the crowd and looked as if through the eagle's eye at this living spectacle and I knew... I knew that this is a seed for the future; that if we let what we created together in this limited space and time inspire us, shape our deeds and actions not only here but out there, then we will be able to heal the world and transform it into something more beautiful than anything we could ever imagine. This knowing was the third gift.

To the spirit of Ayahuasca - thank you - I am ever grateful for your gifts.

Part VI – My Biography

In Anthroposophy there is a discipline called Biography Work wherein one examines their own biography as a dynamic process of personal development. Underlying it is the idea that a more conscious understanding of the events of the past, the relationship between them and their higher significance, will lead us to become conscious contributors in unfolding our futures. I started this process with my friend Yuxin whom I met during the short time I was living and studying at the Goetheanum in Dornach. Yuxin is a kindergarten teacher and as such she has a natural inclination towards witnessing and facilitating developmental processes in others.

As part of the work I've been looking at old photo albums. I was born on Tuesday, March 5, 1985, at 8:25 am. My weight was almost 4 kg and my height was 51 cm. I was delivered by C-section. My very first word was Or (Light) at the age of 8 months. Observing subsequent childhood photos the expressive energy that I see in that young boy is just so tremendous and explosive. Almost every facial expression holds an intention, pure and naive, to create something new, to play, to laugh, to excel and to love.

When I was 5 years old I moved to a different kindergarten after experiencing difficulties in the previous one. I found a document from the new kindergarten teacher with the following statement: "The secrets of the powers are very clear to you: the physical, the mental and the power of love. I wish you that you would accomplish them with gentleness and that you will be able to compromise a little bit; then you will see that it will be easier to get along with those around you who sometimes want something else... and always know that it is wonderful to love you because you know how to return the love".

Exploring subsequent phases of my life it seems that I have been living the life of a wanderer. During each phase I delved deep into something; first it was Table Tennis where I was a professional player in the Israeli national team. Then it was science, studying psychology and biology and completing a PhD on the metabolism of bacterial communities. Later came music, becoming an electronic music artist and a sound projectionist for the music of Stockhausen. More recently I entered the dual world of activism and spirituality, exploring ways to change myself as well as the system which we live in. In each phase I identified completely with that something, making it my whole world, before deciding to leave and move on to the next. And so I can see these worlds and the people who dedicate their lives to them from the inside as well as from outside. Perhaps this new kindergarten teacher in my life was sent to carry the message of the old one. To teach me again the lesson of gentleness and compromise so that I am able to build bridges between people, between different areas of thought and between different ways of living. To counter the polarisation of our times and help people see "the other" as well as the big picture which we are all a part of.

Part VII – Aho Mitakuye Oyasin

The second meeting with Rishi was very different from the first. After a short dialogue I lay down and started with the breathwork; but this time, as the breath intensified, it did not lead to sadness but to rage. I found myself jumping, kicking and screaming, saying things like "ENOUGH!" and "GET OUT ALREADY!", addressing them to the unrelenting depression. Then all of a sudden the rage stopped. I still felt very energetic and wanted to continue, to give it all I've got and drive it away for good. But it was as if it ran away from my rage leaving nothing else to fight. I was lying there, feeling confused, not knowing what to do next. Gradually I calmed down and Rishi asked me to try to focus all this newfound spaciousness on the heart and to allow myself to feel the small things that might seem insignificant. I felt blocked, my attention still focused on thinking rather than feeling. But I tried to allow it, to accept whatever happens. Then, from that space arose a feeling of care, a genuine wish to help myself stop the unnecessary suffering. And from that space also came images of my friends and family; all the ones who have been and are still trying to help me. And I felt a deep appreciation for them for being there.

One of these friends was Aviv, and he had a different notion of what "being there" could mean. When I shared with him what I was going through he told me that in the Lakota tradition when someone is sick they go to the village Shaman who performs a healing ceremony together with the person's friends and family. At first it seemed ludicrous, after all what does any of those traditions have to do with me? And moreover what will my modern-minded friends think when I invite them to such an occasion? He gave me an eagle's feather to mark the invitation and told me to think about it.

Days went by and the idea gradually sank in. What eventually made me say yes was one thing Aviv told me. He said that if I agree to the proposal not only will I be helping myself, but I will be doing a huge favour to all who attend the ceremony. This medicine, he said, was not individual but communal, it brings healing to each person who gives themselves to it with pure intention. And especially at this materialistic day and age, as we reap the deadly fruits of the seeds that we keep sowing, we need rituals more than ever, something higher to connect to which can inspire our actions in the world.

During the week before the ceremony I had to prepare 49 prayers as bundles of tobacco, packed in black cloth and wrapped with a thread around a stick. The number 49 symbolises 7 x 7, or seven prayers for each of the seven directions: east, south, west, north, up, down and center. It was not an easy feat for someone whose last prayer was more than 20 years ago at his Bar Mitzvah. But I had faith in Aviv and I had faith in my intention and so everyday I found moments in between and dedicated them to prayer.

During the day of the ceremony I arrived early to help with the preparations: gathering wood for the fires, setting up a cage-like structure that will accommodate us during the night and protect us form the cold and the wind, creating an altar from mud inside of it, mounting speakers on the trees for a moment of musical sharing, preparing food for the day and for the next morning, and so on and so forth. As the day progressed more friends arrived to lend their hands and the last ones joined just as we were ready to light the fire which would heat the stones for the sweat-lodge. Aviv handed me seven of these stones which I was to hold in prayer before adding them to the stone structure. As he was about to hand me the seventh, the one which belongs to the center – to the heart – the stone broke within his hands. Struck by the significance of the sign I knew that this stone was truly mine. I grabbed it from Aviv and held it close to my heart, infusing it with all the love and care I had within me before adding it to the pile.

Much of what happened that night cannot be communicated in words. It belongs in other dimensions of being and there it shall stay. What I can say is that I have never experienced anything as deep as a broken heart which is healing. And perhaps as individuals each of our hearts is a little bit broken, yearning to be healed by reconnecting with the hearts of others into the one heart of humanity.

In the morning I reached again for my stone. It has been sitting there all night long, a silent witness on the crescent-shaped altar. I wanted to share its story, a story which started in this very place and has now come full circle. But just as I was finding the words to begin with I noticed a movement inside the stone. It was a little spider which found its way to the crack that was opened when the shell had fallen. I looked at Aviv and started crying: Where once there was obstruction now there is life.

Then it was time for the final part of the ceremony. The thread containing the 49 prayers was stretching from one side of the altar to the other. I collected them one by one, trying to remember all the individual moments which led to this one. Kneeling towards the flames I bowed my head and offered my prayers to the fire. As the black cloth was being devoured by the flames seven pieces of brightly coloured fabrics in different hues appeared in its stead: seven new prayers were now to be written in place of the old ones. Only these were not my personal prayers, they were collective ones, belonging to each and every person who shared presence in this special night. Each silent prayer was concluded with the words "only love" as it was added to the red thread connecting them all. When it was the turn of the seventh, I turned to each person and gazed deep into their eyes and into their hearts, silently fusing our prayers together. And in my hand I felt it, the one heart of humanity, wrapped in the red thread of love.


A third and last session with Rishi before returning to Europe. As I was driving there I thought what this session might bring. The first released inner sadness and compassion for the suffering I endure; the second was marked by rage and a will to get rid of the depression. What will this third one be like? As I was contemplating this I tried to let it go and submit myself to whatever may come. During the initial conversation I felt a little light-headed, calm and confident; it was as if something was already happening in the space between us which transcended our bodies and our words. I believe Rishi felt it too when he mentioned that something is happening in the world which we cannot yet understand but we should try to open ourselves and be able to sense it. I then lay down and started breathing deeper and faster as the rhythm of the music filled the room. Rishi covered my body with a blanket so that my hands and feet will not be too cold. I felt electricity in my hands again and Rishi told me to focus it on the heart. Before I knew it the music slowed down and so did my breath. I was calm, my mind not racing anymore, and tremendous energy filled my abdomen and chest area, extending beyond the limits of my skin. I knew that this was my natural state of being, that this energy is there all the time but is normally obscured by all the mental noise. I also knew that this energy is not "my own" but rather belongs to the world, not recognizing material boundaries such as physical bodies. It is there, in the in between, extending everywhere, penetrating everything.

On my way back a thought occurred to me, not for the first time, and yet I previously tried to repress it, afraid of its repercussions. During these three and a half months in Israel I realised just how significant my relationships with other people can be; how our encounters provide us with valuable and intense realisations. And so, if there is a meaning and a purpose to all my suffering, what if they, like the energy I felt today, extend beyond my self? What if within me I hold the suffering of countless others across continents and generations? Am I a kind of Jesus figure who pays the price for the redemption of mankind? This must be the most supremely egoic thought of all – and yet what if it's true? It can also make me identify so strongly with my suffering that it will be impossible to let go of it – and yet what if it's true? Or perhaps... perhaps it is through such an extreme identification that the ego can finally be dissolved as it learns that it has no separate existence, that it exists solely in and through relationships...

I am so much more than my physical body

I extend beyond the boundaries of my skin

I am relationships in motion

I am the music of the spheres

I am

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