A Trip from USA to India by Jenny Sheehan

india jenny sheehan Feb 21, 2024

When I first heard about Bill Free organizing a retreat-type trip to India, there
was definitely a feeling, a pull towards “yes, I wanna go!”. This positive reaction was
rooted in a deep truth within me: something has always longed to go to India. My
youngest brother Devin even lived in India for over a decade, approximately at the turn
of the century. Because of where I was in Life, juggling young children and a busy
career, I never made it over to visit him. This definitely became a regret of sorts, no
matter how I justified it.

Because Bill had been with the company organizing the tour, any fears about the
quality of care were eliminated. I trust Bill. If he said the tour company was good for
covering the lodging, transportation and food needs for a group, I could let all those
physical concerns go. However, it did not take long for the mind to kick in, start
analyzing, and work to undo the original push to “Go!”.

Honestly, this state of mind lasted for months. The pros and cons constantly
played in the background. I even put the thoughts down onto paper, a matrix of
“reasons to go: pro/con” versus “reasons not to go: pro/con”. This paper was never
far from my reach and the lists in each quadrant grew longer and longer. There was not
a clear winner in any of the categories. The only prayer was for clarity...for I actually
didn’t care if I went or not, I just wanted the mind to release all the contemplation!

Finally, a decision seemed to be reached at the time of the final deadline for
payment: not to go to India. There was peace around it and it felt right... because I
knew that I didn’t need to go to India for anything. There is nothing in India that is not
available to me wherever I seem to be! I had no expectations. I was searching for
nothing. Why spend all the money, time and energy when there is no goal? Seemed
reasonable and quite rational and sat “right” within: peace.

But then there was a little nudge from the outside to go, from more than one
source. Little push-backs to attend this Trip-of-A-Lifetime, throwing doubt on the
“decision” which seemed to be made. A remembering of the original flow of energy to
just “Go!” returned...I realized that maybe all the activity of mind was working to talk
me out of something simply because it was irrational, because it made no sense.
Because, well this mind has a tendency to do that, to prioritize what makes “sense” in
the world...

yet, there was a haunting current in mind...something like, “what if I only live
once?”. What would be a cause of suffering on my deathbed except regret? A sense
of wishing I had enjoyed opportunities that came along, instead of ignoring them out of
fear, whether said fear known or not, acknowledged or not. And, in Living in the Now,
there is no future death bed, there is only regret now!

As I expressed in community early December, a thought which had been
frequenting was, “You only live once”. Here is a line, a principle (“YOLO”) which could
not be dismissed; many people use it as a guiding principle for Living Now, and can
they all be wrong? Anyone who speaks of evidence of what occurs after breath leaves
a body is speaking in ignorance, unless they clearly state to be speaking in the
hypothetical, which I do not hear “spiritual” teachers admitting. Insight dawned in
mind, that NOT going on this trip may very well plant a seed of regret that could only
be undone by going to India. Better now than later—why not?! Like magic, the trip
seemed to plan itself, and I found myself traveling or in India for a couple of weeks.

After being back home in the United States a couple of days, one reason has
clearly revealed itself in answer to that question. One teaching of Ramana Maharshi’s
jumped out to me as one to dive deeply into, to see how it has played out and is
playing now in Life. It happens to be the first teaching he wrote down and shared with
his mother during a lengthy self-imposed period of silence. Its sentiment is echoed
throughout many teachings in non-duality circles, but something about its plain speak
hit Home:

What is not destined to happen will not happen despite every effort.
What is destined is bound to happen.
That is certain.
— Bhagavan Ramana and Mother, A.R. Natarajan, p. 11,12.

Since you are reading this blog, maybe it is meant for you to hear. In alignment
with Bhagavan’s idea, the statement IS for you, because you are reading it now. This
teaching clearly points to the inherent freedom in Being Alive, whatever Its appearance
may be. It does not take an expensive trip across the globe for the message to be
received, for enlightenment is always only Now. Let us all rest in That, wherever we
seem to be. Namaste 💗