Finding Reason through Darkness
“Sitting in this train station I feel cramped, hot and popular. If that’s possible. Where will the wind take me next? Don’t know. Have whiskey, money & means.” -excerpt from my journal
I was sunburned, dehydrated and downright lost in life. That was ok, because I was at the ripe age of 24 and my body had held up quite relentlessly throughout the drinking marathon we had put ourselves through. It’s almost as if my body asked for a “spiritual” workout as well…..that was soon to follow, but first we had to navigate the train station.
We entered the Nha Trang train station in southern Vietnam as if we were movie stars. The three of us entered into the small building like alpacas on a long hike. We stumbled through the main entrance to find hundreds of Vietnamese eyes staring at us. This always confuses the next course of action, because right then you feel like ye ole “deer in the headlights,” as well as everyone and their 4 children are watching my every move……somehow we parted the lined plastic chairs and their bewildered users and found the front desk. A small man sat behind a window, looking up at us through cigarette smoke, he nodded as if to say, “this is why everyone turned their head at the same time.”
Random side note, if you plan on traveling Vietnam, and you’re around 6′ 3″ then get ready for some looks. Also it helps if you have sun bleached blonde hair that flows in every direction, this will also add to the depth and quality connection of said stare.
Grabbing our tickets with a type of hushed calmness, we ushered ourselves to the back corner where the only open seats remained. Leaning my head against the concrete wall behind me, I took in an entirely different perspective of the train station, this perspective being around the same height now as everyone else in the room. People drinking canned beer, smoking cigarettes, cards, laughter and yes some silence from the back left corner. I pulled out my journal to jot some things down, and right as I started to write about this insanity, the next scene was well on its way.
A group of 4 older Vietnamese women, clothed in silk robes walked into the train station. They noticed the open seats directly across the aisle from us and headed our way. 2 of them sat down, 1 of them headed to the ticket counter, and the other one…..oh my the other one….was not in good shape, she laid down in between the other two. She laid her head gently on one of her friend’s lap and slowly raised her feet off the ground. She had tiny squares of athletic tape, one on each temple, and four on her neck…..I noticed these immediately and started to wonder as to why they were placed there and what benefit they held. After years of remembering this story and sharing it with friends, one response has stuck to me as the best possibility and that was of “increasing blood flow” by placing them on these locations….and I guess athletic tape might have some kind of metal in it too that may help the rush of that blood river?
Anyways, the three of us sat staring in bewilderment at these gypsy women (not my first rodeo with gypsies….) Their eyes were gentle and understanding, wrinkled with time, but yet conscious of their friend and helping any way that they could. The woman whose lap was being rented for a pillow, started slapping her hands together, creating a loud pop, and then she slid her sweaty hands together to create a soft sizzle which she then applied on her friends forehead, pushing down, almost kneading dough. It was at this moment that I looked within. I closed my eyes, and thought to myself, “Jeez, I haven’t prayed in 10 years? Well whatever, there isn’t a better time than now….” Being in the darkness of my mind, I communicated to this source of energy, this one being of light, whatever name you want to label it. Thinking to myself, “Please, give me this woman’s pain, if only for a few seconds, minutes, hours, days, whatever, I just want to take her pain away for a moment, give her peace, anything, something…..”
As I circled these thoughts through my mind’s darkness, I sensed a small lighter shade of black coming on behind my eye lids. Suddenly, I felt a “wave” enter through the top of my head, down through my body, through the tips of my toes, into the ground and like small ripples, traveling through the bricks that separated myself from this woman…..and into her. I didn’t have time to doubt myself, as yet another wave came through, this time a little stronger than the first, again through the crown of my head, to the very little toes below and onward to this horizontal woman. And yet as if two weren’t enough, another finally came through as if to signal the work was well on its way, I had no clue what was going on, but all I knew were these waves, made of light, were entering my body from above, and rippling through my feet onward through the Earth to this woman who I had directed my intentions at.
The only way that I can begin to describe this feeling is something like getting goosebumps, or the chills, but only in one direction, top to bottom and out.
It was after the 3rd wave like sense that my body heard in a distance a train approaching. My buddy, thinking that I was asleep, slapped my left arm and said in a grumbled tone, “Hey man, our train is here, let’s jam.”
The moment I opened my eyes, the very first thing I saw, were her eyes. This image will forever walk with me, but from this dark meditative state, feeling these waves, and then opening them, seeing her pupils in a deep stare within mine…..it was such a strong connection that I didn’t feel the “awkward, uhhh she’s staring at me” sense of looking away, we held that look for what seemed like hours. Her eyes said thank you…..
We entered the crowded train around 11 pm. and found some open seats for our tired asses. Sitting down I took a deep breath, going over what had just happened….still blown away at this experience, I noticed a woman walking down the aisle toward me, sure enough it was her, my little staring partner. She sat directly in front of me, and as she did this the metal frame of the cheap train seat stuck into my knee caps. A soft little reminder of my height in a short country.
We barreled down the coast of Vietnam into the starry night. The murmur of the train was often interrupted by her deep choking coughs, but I didn’t care, her cough was mine and yet I was on cloud nine, feeling as if a part of me that I never knew existed, was here to help the people, heal the people.
I will forever be on this quest, whether it be sending light through deep meditative states or random diary entries here and elsewhere.
And of course, because you can’t get enough of it, all the love.