Monday, July 18, 2011


On January 11th 2001, my husband Tony and I fulfilled a long-held dream of going to live and work in India, arriving in Mumbai at midnight. Sleepily juggling our way through the long lines, questions and organised chaos of customs and immigration, we finally stepped out into the night air and I was in awe.

Even at that time in the morning, there was a quality of sight, sound and smell which was unmistakable. It felt strange, yet deeply familiar as if I was coming home to a place I had always known and been longing to return to. My entire being seemed to be letting out a sigh of relief as if saying, “Finally, finally.”

We had prearranged for a minibus to take us to an ashram, which was a two and a half hour drive north of Mumbai. Bouncing along the highway in the musky darkness, we sat in silence taking it all in. As the sights and sounds of the night-time city fell further and further behind us, we headed off the main highway travelling down narrow lanes dissecting vast acres of fields, and past small villages with temples and oddly shaped shrines.
Pressing on, the driver cut more deeply into a valley taking narrow paths and bumpy twists and turns, until he eventually followed a long, sweeping bend and stopped with a jolt in front of the tall, serene, white domes of the ashram. Startled that we had finally arrived, I sat up with the intention of bringing all my senses to complete focus promising myself never to forget this moment. Though I had seen these compelling structures many times in photographs, to have them suddenly appear in front of me, was a sight to behold.
Gasping, I could immediately feel there was such stillness and profound peace emanating from every nuance and detail; it seemed as if the entire structure was breathing. Even in the darkness, the walls appeared to be moving and shimmering and sparkling with an other-worldly presence. Once more, I had the impression of being swept up into a memory of something long forgotten, but now being stirred to wakefulness.
Stepping off the bus at three thirty a.m. we also found ourselves in the midst of a compelling scene. It was ‘brahmamurti.’ In yogic texts, ‘brahmamurti’ is described as being the most auspicious time for meditation. This period falls between three and six a.m. During these hours, most people are sleeping, which means there is naturally less physical and mental noise, making meditation practices easier.
Outside the ashram, I was witnessing the truth of this profound stillness. Silent figures, with heads wrapped in shawls, were filing through a small door to the left of beautifully decorated, wide, pink lotus gates. Watching intently, I saw people removing their shoes, bowing to touch the step and then disappearing into the interior of the luminous, domed temple. From the doorway, incense was wafting out in huge plumes and hanging thickly in the night air before being drawn up into the atmosphere.
All at once, my entire senses were flooded with the fragrance, images and deep silence of brahmamurti. Taking everything in, I was being pulled into a familiar place of peace and contentment that was hard to define. My thoughts began slowing down until they disappeared entirely, leaving me standing in a quality of emptiness and fullness that I had simultaneously always known and at the same time, had always been searching for. This ‘place’ felt completely natural and totally right. It was like being submerged in and supported by a vast ocean.
It felt like home.......


  1. I'm amazed at all of the fascinating travel experiences you blog about. Something about traveling makes me sleepy and when arriving in a city in the middle of the night, I can't keep my eyes open. I've been to Rome but didn't see it much; a little bit on the drive back through Rome to catch the plane. Nothing on the drive through when going to a soccer tournament in southern Italy.


  2. That feeling of having come home when you have never before been to a place is nothing short of magical. I've had that feeling, and once you do, it never leaves you.

    I love how richly descriptive you are--your posts always paint lovely pictures and draw me right in. Wonderful, as always.

  3. What a magical post!!


  4. What an amazing experience. I have heard many stories, such as this, about India. It sounds like you're living your dream. That's awesome!

  5. My friend wants me to go to India with him, but I'm hesitant, even though I would love to see all it has to offer. Maybe if things settle down politically around the world, I might consider it.

  6. That had to be the experience of a lifetime!! Wonderful write~Cheers, Jenn

  7. The magic of your writing is that I now share your memories. I have never been to India, yet now I 'feel' that I have.
    Amazing story of your amazing experience.

  8. down narrow lanes dissecting vast acres of fields

    ISN'T THIS LIFE???????????? and to finally "arrive" and 'be one with the vision' DANG agape acclimatization..well...its so hard to describe...but what i like even best..YOU LIVE IT ahhh... thank you MUAH! (big long hug)

  9. This sounds like an amazing life experience. Thanks for sharing your memory so vividly.

  10. It's always interesting to read about other countries and other faiths. Good blog.

  11. I love this and I would feel right there too--I know I would.

  12. I love reading your pieces. They are filled with such a sense of peace, alongside the most beautiful descriptions which transport me to places I would love to be. Thank you so much for sharing.