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June, 2012

I gave up my visa and flight to Afghanistan. There was expenses lost, but regret was overcome. And I gained one of the most life changing trips , walking across Northern India with followers of Gharib Nawaz, the saint of the poor , patron of the barefoot, lord of those in dirty clothes and with hungry belly. I am starting to understand the beauty of the sufi path, meaning of renunciation, the value of poverty.  “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of the needle…”  This, along with many other of quotes so well known yet so little put in practice in our culture, it was spoken more than once in the history , it is part of continuous tradition of certain way of seeing world, it is attitude of the humble, of submission, of gratitude , of receiving with no expectations…Along with this comes the freedom ..I know it is just a glimpse of this that I got, but the liberating feeling changes everything…It also helps to see the big mistake of the past, all that is needed one is to remember, perhaps the hardest thing of all…

” A Sufi is a guest of God in this world and he must behave as is becoming to a guest. He has a right to be served but no right to demand” …I liked that quote since a long time, but what it means I started experience very recently. It is the joy of a cup of tea in the desert, it is the bliss of sharing little with those who have even less, it is the wrinkles from years of smiling around the eyes of the beggar, hard to see in the shining halls of Manhattan or Chelsea…

I was tempted to rest, after being scorched by weeks of summer Indian sun, battered by the storms of the road, tired from the crowds,  I wanted company of travellers, to enjoy charas of Manali and the cool breeze of the mountains of Himachal..But in the last moment I changed my plan and went for 10 days meditation retreat…No talking, no sensual pleasure,  just a journey into inner world…Hard to imagine bigger contrast than this situation compared with the previous weeks.  And yet, a confirmation of the experience, another piece of the puzzle, from another tradition, yet saying the same,  experiencing the same in another way.

All that is needed now, is to remember.

Before leaving to Asia, I left my digital camera behind. I left all fancy stuff behind, all the quality, all the precision and control. I somehow felt is inappropriate to have it on the pilgrimage of the beggars, equipment worth thousands of dollars, to have the tool of grabbing reality by thousands of clicks, to have the control where others have faith and little expectations. In a place where come success or failure they point a finger to the sky, were I to be the master of the final result?  So I gave it up… And along with it went frustration, went a large part of the greed ( sure it is still there ), went the unquenchable desire for perfection, desire for more, better, with all the excuses of self defending ego. I still hope that I got some nice stuff but now much more surprise is there, much more in hands of Gharib Nawaz, less in mine. And I am  glad, also because as a side effect I got time and attention for other stuff, for looking into my fellow pilgrims’ eyes, for remembering their names and stories. For being there a little bit more.

All that is needed now, is to remember.

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