I had a dream the other night. A renowned Swamiji was staying in my dear friends’ house, and when I went to visit, the Swamiji told me that when my friends prepared his food for him, they didn’t want to disturb his meditation, so they had connected a long thread from the kitchen to his meditation room, and the thread would turn orange when the food was ready.
So one day, I was driving near their house and had A with me. A was hungry, and I thought hmm, maybe I’ll swing by their place and get a snack. I went into their kitchen and got something for A, and by my actions, I accidentally turned the thread orange.
I think most of us who are familiar with Hinduism know what this dream is saying about my thought process. On the one hand, I was freaking out about having potentially offended a holy man. But the deeper meaning to this whole tableau for me is that a) sometimes the most fragile of links seems to connect us to the larger community; and b) feeding A and looking after him is, to me, on par with the highest dharma, invoking the same renunciation (orange) and surrender.
The highest forms of service are usually the ones we struggle with the most. The whittling down of ego, or extraneous ambition, or whatever it’s called, that my husband and I have both had to do has been intense and painful. Every time I see social media posts about the sky being the limit and how we can do anything, ANYTHING, if we only apply enough grit and chug enough flax seed, I think yeah, boy, the only thing to fear is fear alone! Let us apply some amla oil to the scalp of life! Autism is but a moment in the flow of human imagination! Guh. The ocean of cliches never dries up.
This dream is one I’ve been hugging to myself all week, though. I tend to work through stuff in my sleep using a lot of religious imagery. That just seems to be my preferred mode of sorting out the feels. I like this dream because it affirms for me how, despite the challenges, I’ve internalized both the stark truth and limitless sweetness of the journey, and see it as one of my spiritual duties. And I tell you, there are days when A opens his little mouth and chows down on something he likes, and I feel it all the way in my heart, lungs, uterus, you name it. Special needs mothering is the most complicated well of emotions I’ve ever had to tap into.
Some days I want to grab onto that orange thread, flee the other way, and go rejoin the “normal” world. I muse about all the “normal” things I would do again if I could. But uhh, actually I cannot make myself remember anymore what that feels like. And that’s the point of these spiritual journeys, isn’t it? They choose us, and after that it remains only to bow our heads and absorb into our spirits what the universe saw fit to entrust us with. I cannot always bear the feelings, and I do not always enjoy what this journey has shown me about the larger world. But I always want to be worthy enough, righteous enough, happy enough. I want all this to be enough. Let the threads to the world slip away if they must, and let me say, with all the prayer that seems to flow through me constantly, I am enough.