Place: Sivananda Ashram, Paradise Island, Bahamas
Early in 2008, I had one of those remarkably crisp and clear dreams that stays with you for days after waking. Many of the details maintain the weird and surreal quality of dreamland-ish-ness. It was dusk in a hushed public park, with twilight of the sort that emphasizes shadows. I was walking along and suddenly felt a sharp pain in my left wrist. Looking down, I saw that an arrow had pierced it. I looked around the park, but the guilty archer was nowhere to be found. Minutes later I was in the greenish empty light of a hospital room, feeling impatient and acutely aware of the life seeping out of the wound. I reached down, broke off the protruding tip and the feathered end, and pulled out the arrow. I reached for a roll of duct tape on the metal stand next to the hospital bed, and wrapped it twice around my wrist, biting the tape to rip it. And then I walked out of the hospital, alone.
My four quick vacation days in the ashram were all bliss, from the warm air and salty ocean to the winding paths from bay to beach. I slept in and never made it to morning satsang, instead playing on the yoga platforms in the inbetween-hours. Lots of laughing, lots of reading. I quickly dropped the heavy history of Eritrea in favor of Untethered Soul, reading aloud on the beach and on the bay platform between inversions. The bits were so obvious that we found them laughable: "there is a very simple method for staying open. you never close."
Somewhere between unblocking my heart and listening to Justin's stories of Hindu deities, I thought of an archer - blue-skinned in a jungle pulling back with all his might to release a storm of arrows. That nameless, faceless archer from the dusky park in dreamland resurfaced and drowned out what the yoga and satsang at the ashram could not. I left the Bahamas on the first day of 2009, wide wide open, with the echo of another obvious quote from Untethered Soul:
"If you love life, nothing is worth closing over. Nothing, ever, is worth closing your heart over."