She gathered the children around her and asked them if they would like to hear a bed-time story. They were thrilled at the prospect and huddled closer. She took the youngest of the group on her lap and started the story. Soon enough the children were all sleepy and she had no trouble taking them to bed where she tucked each one of them in. She smiled at them though her heart was sinking. Soon they might not even have a place to live in anymore.
She took out her laptop and looked desperately for an answer. She had sent emails to all the people she knew including the office of his holiness. She browsed hopefully including in her junk emails but there was no response. She knew that most people would not be at their homes during the holiday season but had hoped against hope that someone would be there and would help them out. She looked at the children. They had grown since she first came and the youngest had been just a baby at the time.
She could not think of what would happen if they were not able to find the funds to keep the house. The more she thought of it the more it seemed hopeless. She realised that even if the landlord did not chase them away, they would still not have money to survive. What was she going to feed them ? For the first time in years she doubted her faith and her mission on earth. How could it be that while so many were enjoying themselves at Christmas the children should have noone to stand up for them ?
She clasped both hands in prayer and looked up at Christ on the cross on the wall in front of her. She closed her eyes and pleaded or mercy. When her prayer was finished she went out to buy bread for the next morning. She felt so tired and desperate. She wished she had kept some funds aside from the previous job she had before she had decided to become a nun but unfortunately she had donated everything to the Church just before she had taken her vows.
She did not find the usual shop open but saw a small shop at a corner where she had never seen one before. She thought it strange that she had never seen it before and that she had not heard of a second shop opening in the area. The shopkeeper gave her a dozen baguettes and added some cheese. She told him she did not have enough money to pay for the cheese but he shook his head and told her it was on the house as it had just been Christmas. He added that he was just sorry he had no turkey left to give her.She smiled and thanked him telling him that the children would already be thrilled with the cheese.
Just as she was about to go the shopkeeper gave her a lottery ticket telling her it was valid for the New Year and he hoped she would win something. She told him that she did not think it was appropriate to gamble but he assured her that as she had not paid for it, it was not gambling and that besides, God always worked in mysterious ways so why not in this way. She thanked him and returned to the orphanage. The children were all fast asleep. She fell to her knees again in prayer begging the Lord for mercy. These children had already been through so much and she wished would not have to go through the process of having to find a nw orphanage again.
She spent the whole week in prayer every night and tended to the children during the day. They were happy to be with her and oblivious of the fact that soon they might be separated perhaps forever. The first day of the New Year, the usual shop was closed and she was surprised to see that the other corner shop was open again while it had been closed during the whole week after Christmas. She went in and asked for a dozen baguettes again and the shopkeeper gave them to her smiling. He had a well-trimmed beard and his eyes were full of kindness. She wished there were more people with such kindness in their eyes and hearts.
How did it go sister ? he asked softly.
How did what go ?
Oh, I did not check it. I think the ticket must still be somewhere in the bag where I had put the bread
Maybe you should check it
Something in his voice and demeanour seemed so familiar. She promised him that she would check it once home and he gave her the winning numbers on a piece of paper. She returned to the orphanage and fell on her knees in prayer again. She was getting weary as nobody had responded to any of her emails yet. She remembered that she had promised the shopkeeper to look up the ticket and so she checked the numbers. She had to look twice as she could not believe her eyes. She seemed to have won the jackpot. With trembling hands she folded the paper and tucked the ticket into her pocket. God worked indeed in mysterious ways. She clasped her hands in prayer again and looked up at the cross. The Christ was no longer there.
She looked around her. Everything looked exactly the same as the other days but she knew that she had shifted again. Nothing else than the small difference usually identified the shift but here it was much more marked. Many events in this reality were different from how she remembered them. After the first discrepancy she had searched the internet and identified several other discrepancies. She was convinced by then that this time she must have jumped several parallel universes to land in this one.
The first time it had happened she had brushed it away on the account that her memory must be failing her but when it had happened again and another of her friends remembered the same event in a different way than how it was supposed to have unfolded she had then been convinced that she had somehow jumped into an alternate reality. Since then, every time she identified a discrepancy she knew that she was in an alternate version of her reality where only slight changes had taken place.
Slowly but surely she had become able to identify the very small differences in her own life that then confirmed the fact that she was in a parallel reality. Something inside her knew with certainty that it was not a physical leap as much as it was a consciousness switch. It was as if her consciousness which had vibrated at a different level the day before had then syntonised with a new level of perception and therefore blended into a new reality. Everything around remained the same but for a few changes and while she first identified this by major different events, her confirmation always came from the small differences in her own life.
She thought back to the first time it had happened and realised that it was following an intense session of meditation that had involved kundalini activation. The awakening of the kundalini had put her consciousness in a completely altered state and she had felt vibrations go through her whole body. The next day when she had awoken something had seemed strange and she had then discovered the first discrepancy during the day. After that, every day of intense meditation had been followed by a day of shift into an alternate reality.
She realised over the weeks that she was now moving into a reality that was so far removed from the original reality that very few things remained the same as they were perhaps meant to be. She looked at the photographs of herself and her friends and sometimes she could not remember the details of the moment photographed. When she searched hard enough though she eventually found the details but it was as if she was searching in another person’s memories and not her own. She had realised that consciousness was so designed as to allow one to access streams of it even if those streams belonged to someone else and defined their memories.
During one of the incursions into the consciousness streams, she had come to realise that she could use the energy of the kundalini activation to direct her shift into a reality that she would be more comfortable with. After a few trials, she was starting to get the gist of how to make it happen. She realised that it required a concentrated effort of mental projection into the altered reality the day before the shift and immediately after the kundalini meditation. The only thing that was a bit disappointing for now was that she was not able to move into a substantially different reality all at once but it had to happen gradually.
The first time she had tried she had been quite ambitious and tried to project herself into a reality where flying cars were an ordinary thing but that had not happened. Instead there were just a few advances in the field and some drones as well as a couple of prototypes that were functional but nothing at the large scale she had hoped for. Over the weeks she had gotten used to the fact that things could not change drastically but only gradually. She had however kept her ambitious plans in mind although in a different way and she was now aiming for a world without illnesses and free of poverty. She concentrated shortly after the meditation and imagined how such a world would be. Her mind filled with mental images of such a world. She smiled at the thought of it and closed her eyes. Tomorrow would be the first day of the new shift.
The rain was falling heavily on the roof of the car. From time to time a coconut, its stem loosened from the tree it had clung to, fell onto the roof of the car causing a more audible thud than the falling rain. The air that had recently been hot and heavy grew cooler. The driver turned off the air conditioning and opened the windows. Some rain fell into the car and onto her lap, startling her and making her leave her daydreaming.
She looked around her and her eyes met the landscape of heaped piles of rubbish and slowly filling sewages. The rain had freed the stench of the sewages that had been slightly more discreet earlier. It reached her nostrils and she felt overpowered by the stench. The driver caught her look and reassured her that the pouring rain would soon cleanse the sewage. He smiled at her nodding his head in the typical way that all Indians did, a halfway between a yes and a no that was difficult to decipher for anyone who was not from the country.
The light turned red and the taxi came to a standstill. She looked back at the sewages and the piles of garbage. She still wondered at how she had reached here with what seemed to be no real purpose or mission other than making her father happy. She was not sure this was how it was meant to be. She struggled inwards against the feeling of hopelessness that gnawed at her heart.
Outside beggars were busy grappling with their tatters trying to cover and shield themselves from the pouring rain. Some stood stoically beside the windows of those drivers who had opened them and stonily asked for money, their faces devoid of any sense of expectation of mercy. A few vendors shook some toys and other gadgets in front of the windows, yelling the prices across. Their faces held the hope that some of the children in the back seats would help the parents in the front seat make a positive decision in their favour. She watched as their faces fell when the lights turned green and the cars resumed their rush across the streets.
Somewhere at the back of her mind she could feel an analogy forming between those vendors, the beggars and herself. They were all hoping for something that simply did not seem to be coming their way. She looked out at the beggars making their way through the swerving cars. They seemed in no hurry to get out of the way and there were no policemen coming to mend the situation. It had always surprised her to notice that there were so few policemen at the points of great turbulence although there were several hanging around in groups laughing and exchanging pleasantries where there seemed to be no traffic problems at all.
She smiled a wry smile at the thought that where she had indeed seen a policeman at a point of turbulence where beggars and other vendors had been obstructing traffic, he simply did not seem to be concerned. Another oddity, at least for her, was the regular crossing of cows which made their way across the street oblivious of the traffic. Some of the cows actually simply stayed in the middle of the street and the drivers artfully drove around them thanks no doubt to years of experience doing that. The drivers were not so kind though to the stray dogs which sometimes ended up in the middle of the road or on its sides as roadkill.
Her mind strayed back to the times when she had been musing on the meaning of life and the equivalence of all beings. It had seemed to her earlier that all beings had to be equal for there to be a proper energetic balance in the world. She realised now that in practice it was going to be very difficult to achieve such a state of being because nobody seemed to be willing to consider what they coined as lesser beings as their equal. She realised that she too was not yet at that stage.
It then occurred to her that perhaps beyond the desire of her father, this was what had brought her to this country. Practice what you preach she told herself inwards ironically She had indeed always embraced the theory that all beings were alike but in her daily life in a country where she was not confronted with the reality of all these beings swarming together in the same context it had seemed easier. Now that everything was let loose and seemingly at par, she realised that it was not so easy to live that concept in its entirety.
She thought about the dog she had lost in her old location and how much more it had seemed feasible to consider herself as equal to it while it seemed much more difficult
with the dirty stray dogs in this country. She knew that with the practice of the stillness of the mind she could extract herself from the context and reach a feeling of inward peace but somehow she felt that she must go through this sense of uneasiness stirred by the filling sewages and their stench and reach inward peace while experiencing all of this. Perhaps this was one of the reasons she was here, to be at the heart of a turbulent, dirty city and yet feel the sense of inner peace pervading her.
She giggled at the thought that she might be stuck here a long time as she did not feel capable of attaining that inner peace within this context if she were not to extract herself from it mentally. The rising stench slowly sobered her and she watched again the whizzing landscape of beggars, vendors, piles of rubbish, flowing sewages and cars. The rain had gradually gone down to a trickle and she gratefully noticed that the sewages had not started overflowing. She had heard horror stories of people having to wade through sewage water to reach their destination and she really did not feel up to such a feat.
She relaxed into her seat and stared at the sky which was clearing up seemingly at the same speed that her thoughts were. She felt great satisfaction at having reached the realisation of one of the reasons she was here. There were surely other reasons and she felt that some of them were tied to the acquisition of empirical knowledge and acceptance of some of the theories she had embraced earlier purely in the form of a thought process.
She felt that once she was able to experience these matters and reach the same conclusions as in her thought process, she would no longer have to be in that context because context as a concept would no longer hold any meaning for her. It was a necessary stage in the journey towards identifying within her the traceless and placeless. Just as it was necessary to be in a context that exacerbated something to be able to say that one had truly overcome its effect on oneself, it was also necessary to be in a context that challenged one’s beliefs to be able to say that one truly held those beliefs as valid. She now was on the right path in the journey of self-discovery. Know thyself she thought and within her welled a feeling of having overcome a stage towards that end. She smiled at the sun that peeped from behind the clouds signaling the end of the rain.
The night exhaled the scent of jasmine into her nostrils. She opened her eyes and peered into the darkness. She could hardly make out the outline of the jasmine tree’s branches. The pot with the tree had been removed by a friend who had taken the jasmine tree but the branches clung to the little hedge and still flowered. It was a curious thing to ponder on really. How those flowers could still bloom and the leaves still stay green while the tree had been snipped away from them was another of the mysteries of life. She went back inside her room where the darkness was thicker and lay her head on the pillow. She would check tomorrow if the leaves had begun to wither finally and she would then disentangle them from the hedge and cast them away.
The next morning was a gloomy grey morning as the dust from an oncoming sandstorm piled into the skies. She went to check the hedge and surely enough after their display of frantic desire to survive the branches were going limp and some leaves had turned yellow. The flowers too seemed withered and forlorn. She wondered if she should take them off right now or wait for all the leaves to become yellow before she would throw them in the bin. Looking at those desperate branches made her think of the eventuality of what consciousness went through when the body came to pass. Did all people’s consciousness linger desperately for a while without a body trying to find a way back into this life or unlike the flowers did they just stop blooming and join the collective consciousness the minute the body’s time ended ?
The dust in the air thickened and she could feel her throat going hoarse as the particles invaded her nostrils and found their way into her lungs. She sneezed as the wind picked up moving more dust her way. The branches heaved on the hedge and some of the yellow leaves flew with the wind before it settled bringing them to the ground. She reached out into the hedge and started easing the branches off it. As she piled the leaves into a heap, the wind picked up again and the branches scattered all across the pathway. The sky grew darker as more sand flew with the wind walling off the sun’s rays. She continued easing off the branches and finally gathering them together she cast them into the bin outside the gate. As she entered the house she could still smell the wane scent of jasmine mingled with the unmistakable sandy smell of the dust in the wind.
She looked at the Mother squarely and could see that there was something the Mother wanted to say but was refraining from saying it. Softly she told the Mother that she had decided to bring the rains upon the land once again. The Mother told her that she was aware of it as this had already embodied into rain in the future that the Mother could see. She turned and looked at herself in the mirror and then turned back to the Mother again. She told her that she had hesitated a lot but then decided to do so because there were so many people who could be adversely affected by the growing heat if she let things go as they had started off with the fires of the phoenix. The Mother merely smiled at her.
She turned back again from the Mother and like in a self confession she whispered almost to herself that she had decided to use the techniques of the shamans of old. She knew from the Mother that first came the word that was used to invoke the right frame of Magic for the intent to manifest. She had therefore decided that she would use a couple of poems for the transition from the drought-like state to a state of rainy weather. She knew that the world of the physical had its own rules so it would not be possible to go straight from one to the other and therefore decided that she would first gather some white clouds and then darken them in order to bring the rain upon the land.
As instructed in earlier stages by the Mother she first released the worded embodiment of the manifestation she wished to create into the collective consciousness and then sought to manifest it by entering into a meditative state using the music that the Mother indicated to her as appropriate. The first step of gathering the clouds was successful and she looked happily at the fluffy white clouds in the sky that had only minutes earlier been blue and free of any type of clouds. As the clouds gathered in the sky, she smiled to herself thinking that this was indeed a step in the good direction.
She waited a couple of days for the situation to stabilise and then released the worded embodiment of a storm into the collective consciousness. This last wording however was released into a smaller number of individual components of the collective consciousness and she could therefore feel that it would be less successful. She decided nevertheless to pursue the intention of causing rain to fall upon the land and armed with her headphones and her mobile, she sat in the park where she could connect directly to Gaia. Once the headphones secured on her head, she started breathing slowly and regularly and drifted into the meditation.
The drums of thunder that accompanied the music of the flute lulled her to sleep and she felt herself sink slowly into an altered state of consciousness. As with each time she entered such a state she could see ravens all around her and hear them cawing to her. The ravens pointed to the middle of the sky where an eye revealed itself before tears started flowing from it. She realised that the tears were flowing in the form of rain and she could hear the sound of the thunderstorm in the music accompany aptly the sound of the falling rain. She opened her eyes and could see the rain falling from a dark brooding sky all around her onto the landscaped gardens of the park. She looked around her pleased with this achievement and smiled.