August 2011 Northeast Gathering for Meher Baba at Pumpkin Hollow, NY
At the recent Northeast Gathering, guest speaker Tex Hightower told the story of being embraced by Meher Baba. He spoke about the many thoughts flying through his head at the time, one of which was feeling that he, Tex, actually did love humanity, and how it was a real stretch for him to imagine feeling that—EVER. Those of us who know Tex (sardonic curmudgeon from the Texas dustbowl, former American Ballet Theater and film dancer, and beloved ballet teacher) gave a chuckle.
Next morning, I walked the loop along the stream and into the woods. I came upon a labyrinth tucked deep in the woods on a hilltop, where I got the idea to crawl. It was a bit rocky and painful and buggy. Perfect! Ha ha. I got down on all fours and repeated Meher Baba’s name (as Meher Baba followers do) as I crawled, also remembering the Ho’oponopono prayer We’re Sorry, Forgive Us, Thank You, We Love You. I got up a few times for relief but basically crawled most of the way through the labyrinth. Humidity and rumbles of thunder kept me here and now. I wore the deer socks from Japan as mittens out of necessity, and then realized the connection to last year’s crawl for Fukushima. I had been wanting an opportunity to do a reprise and here it was. Who has the luxury to crawl all alone in the woods these days?
First in the order of this labyrinth was the outer edges and then the part next to the outer edges. Then you go in and do around the center, finally going into the middle, then back out. I realized I was going to have to crawl all the way back out only when I was almost all the way in. I didn’t think I could do it. I considered walking back out in “evolutionary fashion” because of the gravel digging into my knees and also because the storm was threatening. But I persisted at the same time as I wondered about that habit.
On the way back out, I saw some beautiful things. The first one that caught my eye now I can’t remember but the second was a very small toad. It hopped out of my channel. Then there was a red and gray teeny tiny feather. The kind of things that you miss if you aren’t on your hands and knees. There were roots, little rocks, lots of moss, a shard or two of glass, acorns, twigs. Knees are pink now but not blistered. I repeated Meher Baba’s name mechanically for the most part. No euphoria of repentance like with my first crawl, this one was more akin to the second one, with my mind being pulled into my immediate surroundings. However, though it hurt, it felt refreshing.
Things going through my head: I had had such a rough night with roommates who were active all through the hot night—taking the fan away, doing yoga practice at 3am between the beds, smoking outside the window, etc. I had a dream: a friend showed me how hundreds of worms were crawling out of an apple and were climbing up me. We pulled them off and put them into the fire. I was feeling a bit disgusted with humanity! I felt bad for not wanting to stay at the gathering. Later, I even apologized to my roommates, who I was actually peeved at. Funny that Tex had brought up the issue of loving fellow man and then it came up so strongly for me.
During the crawl, I kept thinking that I shouldn’t be out in the woods during the thunder and that I might—irresponsibly—get caught in a downpour. But it held off, and I held off my thoughts and continued. It held off famously, until after Tex’s afternoon talk about his almost unimaginable plane trip to meet Meher Baba in 1952, which included terrible storms. Finally, the downpour came as he came to the end of his story, when he meets Meher Baba. We couldn’t really hear him with the rain pounding on the barn roof but it didn’t matter—we were there with him, flying high in his storytelling. And yes, no fooling, a rainbow broke out, as Tex reports in the story, in glorious MGM technicolor.