Samantha Vaughn

Samantha Vaughn

Day Two – Sattva Retreat Center – Friday, September 22, 2017, before noon

I’m lying belly down in the grass, surrounded by a nonsensical symphony of Hindi playing from the lips of busy workers walking the Sattva Retreat Center grounds. I am enveloped by lush, dark green mountains that sit clustered like Hershey kisses on a tray, the clouds and fog at the peaks accentuating the mountain’s mystic air. The retreat and I are in the lap of Shivaliks.

There is magic here.

Birds and bugs and the rushing rapids of a small river not one hundred yards away join the symphony of sounds fading in and out of my awareness. It truly is a beautiful place. There is a garden before me, with an altar for fire ceremonies – and the river so near… fire and water. Like I said… magic!

I waded into the river a while ago, squishing soft, thick sand between my toes. Slowly, carefully stepping over rocks and stones out into the shin-deep rapids close to shore. The nerdy geologist and child in me have both come out to play. I already have a handful of stones in my backpack – the first of many, I fear.

I’ve been having this feeling that things are right. That they are melding perfectly into the being I am, and the one I am becoming at the same time. I wasn’t really looking for anything. But it wasn’t what I was seeking, it’s what I had forgotten. My heart realized this, and has been creating experiences, flinging me onto paths, and manifesting encounters, carrying my body beyond space and time, through infinite possibilities and realities, already knowing precisely which one is right for me in every moment.

And the path is always right. And it always brings you back to yourself. Different versions, different aspects, different forms, but always you.

That’s the real lesson, right? That of course we always end up discovering ourselves over and over and over again because we are all there is. We exist everywhere. Thus, no matter who, what, or where we encounter, we always encounter ourselves. For all the universe is a mirror for us; we have only to open our eyes and see.

Our ego tells us to turn our heads. Shy away. It is afraid of letting go – of being let go. Afraid that it will – not exist if we do. But oh, wouldn’t existence be so much sweeter, so much fuller if we could keep our gaze straight, our eyes open and unblinking, and see – know – that we are all that is. That what we are seeing is but an expression of us. We are so much more than “I” – so much more than the limitations the ego places on us. We are so much more than the fallacy of mutual exclusivity the ego creates: we can not be ourselves and everything else. But why not?

We are ourselves. We are all of the trees. We are every bird, every worm, every blade of grass. We are the clouds, and the rain, and the rivers. We are the stones and boulders over which the water flows. We are each other, our brothers, our sisters, our parents, our neighbors, our friends; we are every stranger drawing breath in every corner of the world, and every body, every set of lungs from which breath escapes. We are every gust of wind, every speck of sand, every particle of light. We are every color and smell and taste and touch and sight. We are all that is perceived, and all that is imagined. And “I” – “you,” “me” – is part of that whole. Each “I” is part of the we, distinctly. We are all that is. And all that is not.

In fact, there is no “not” – there just is, and that is what we are. Is. That infinitely present state without need for specification or separation because everything is inherent in the is, and there is no need to distinguish anything. I AM. WE ARE. IS.

Samantha Vaughn