In the early hours of Wednesday morning, Rosa and I prepared our last things for our trip to America. Clothes, toiletries, electronics all the essential for a memorable trip to a country I had never seen with my own eyeballs before. We carried our bags to the car and then stood in our living room for a moment before switching off light and climbing into the car.
“This is it.” We said almost in unison then proceeding to exhale unsteadily. This was the last moment in our home together as an unmarried couple. We grinned and shared a tight hug before switching off the light and leaving our home. We would return the next day a married couple. Yet, the time we spent away would not feel like only two days but more like five. What would happen to us would transform our life experience and situation in unimaginable ways.
We drove along the empty streets of our city able to appreciate the tranquillity which was a polar opposite experience to the usual chaos of the road here. We arrived at Rosa’s Mum’s house and presided over the inevitable pre-holiday faffing which is customary for any family – English, Mexican or otherwise. After the mandatory faffing, we got back in the car and drove to Rosa’s brother’s house. After several missed calls he answered the phone and told us he would be with us in a few minutes as he was just packing his bag. The late packing of the suitcase is also a holiday must. If it’s not something that at least one holiday attendee does then it’s not a real holiday, is it?
We soon left from Rosa’s Brother’s house in a lovely rented car. And after a bit of traffic, we crossed over the American border with no fuss at all. Now, to continue with this story and fully communicate it’s potency, we need to go back a little bit to several days before this.
Attending the border offices to gain our permission to enter America and venture further than the bordering states, we visited one office where we faced a problem. After walking through the ridiculous heat of the city for twenty minutes and waiting for almost an hour in the waiting area of the offices, we were presented with a border officer who point-blank refused to provide me with the permission I would need to enter America. With all the excuses she made, it was clear she felt she had something to prove. Unable to gain any insight into how we might successfully get the permission we needed, it was clear that we were with someone there who was doing the very best she felt she could regardless of it not being what we needed. As we left those offices with a feeling of panic arising, I shook the hand of the border officer and thank her for all she did, knowing full-well that she really had done all she felt she could.
Climbing out of the car near to another border office across the city, determined as ever to gain the permission we needed, we both had knots in our stomach and worry nagging at our thoughts. On the walk back to the car in the blistering heat, Rosa and I had discussed that there was absolutely a reason behind the denial of permission that first time. We knew that we may not ever fully comprehend the reason behind it but nonetheless, we knew that it would be sending us in a more beneficial direction. We took a moment to really surrender to all that was there in that moment. Whatever happened next was all lawful unfolding and was not too early nor too late.
Hand-in-hand in the second border office, Rosa and I prayed that we would be presented with a kind soul and a loving heart to help us get what we were there for. A moment of surrender and mantra with Ram in mind, lead us to what happened next. (A wrote a post on prayer and surrender after this event occurred which I’ll link here if you’d like to read it after this – it will open in a new tab so you won’t lose this one). What happened next was the beginning of a series of incredible synchronisations which seemed to play out. This will be explained at the story unfolds.
When we were called to the desk, we were greeted by a lovely smiley officer who was more than happy to give us the permission we had previously been denied. He chatted and laughed with us for a few minutes and showed us pictures of a casino in Vegas which had recently been set on fire. As we left, Rosa told me his name. I later found out that this name means “from the eagle.” The significance of this became apparent later on.
Sitting in the queue on the way out of Mexico with my passport in hand – before discovering the meaning of the border officers name – I turned to Rosa and noticed her passport. On the first there was the Mexican emblem which is that of an eagle with a snake in it’s talons and beak. I’ve included a image here.
Once in the U.S.A, we drove for hours and hours. The sun rose over the horizon and was the most beautiful sight. We drove between farming fields and desert expanses and over hills which were reminiscent of the swerving ups and downs of roller-coasters.
I slept for an hour or two, having not slept the previous night Rosa and I were both very tired. A while after I woke up, I looked out of the window over the sands. There, almost exactly over our car, though slightly more on the passenger seat’s side rather than the driver’s side, there was a beautiful American Eagle circling above. It was close enough to see the colours of it’s wings and talons. I was naturally excited as I’d never seen an eagle in the wild before – only at a bird sanctuary during a family holiday years back. As excited by the sight as I was – and equally as tired – I didn’t recognise that this was now the third sign of an eagle I had been presented with. Sooner after, I receded into sleep again and woke up only a few times for bathroom breaks before being an hour from Vegas.
Coming into the city of Las Vegas, I had the inclination to listen to the Sri Ram Jai Ram chant we had put onto Rosa’s phone for the trip. As I listened, surrender washed over me and love filled my heart as it usually does with these devotional chants. Not longer after, some insight arose in my mind. I couldn’t help myself but grab my notepad and start writing. What I wrote was beautiful. I’ll share it with you below.
“All life answers to death.
All solids answer to time.
All bodies and minds and actions answer to decay.
Action without a calling which is greater than this transient life is hollow and surely meaningless.
Action which begins with doing and ends with doing is hollow action.
Action which is devotional is true and therefore extends itself beyond time.
True action begins not with doing by with God.
True action ends not with ceasing by with God.
If action is filled only with ones personal signature then it is surely only as significant as the person is consider to be by the relative few who hail him or her.
If an action is done only for personal reasons then it’s merit expires when the personal need expires.
If an action is still warranted even after personal need ceases yet is still filled only with personality and personal things like desires or grievances then it’s merit will surely expire when the person does.
A devotional action is true because it serves not only that which is bound by time by the timeless too.
When one engages in true action, it is does without persona. the persona is surrendered to the formless, timeless eternal and so such action is outside of karma.
The validity of all action which takes place only for personal gain is questionable.
Acts which honour God and also serve the many faces of God are always most preferable.”
After arriving at the hotel and preparing to visit the marriage bureau to get the licence we needed to get married, I was very hungry. When I get hungry my blood sugar drops, my vision becomes impaired, I get terrible headaches and my body begins to shake. This was setting in as we were about to leave. This bodily reaction to hunger coupled with my nerves as they set in sent my into a strange sort of anxious experience, the likes of which I had never experienced before. The movement of the car on the way made me nauseous and in order to keep a balanced body I had to take deep conscious breaths. At the time, i was not aware of how nervous I really was. Once we had the licence it was clear though. Due to it being late in the day, we would have to wait until the next day to get married. At first this was something which caused us concern but a larger grace pervaded it. When we surrendered our ideas and preferences to faith in the flow of things, things began to make sense.
Driving away from the marriage bureau, license in hand with an appointment to be married for the following day, Rosa and I discussed the fact that there would be a reason for this inconvenience. Given that we were only in Vegas for the one night and had saved up money for months just to be able to do that, it was like a “one shot or nothing – now or never” sort of deal. As we have both experienced though, things don’t come on the schedule of the persona. Things comes when they come. It’s our job to find peace with that and surrender to the unfolding of nature.
As we talked about this, I turned to my right and saw a car which was bigger than the one we were in. This 4×4 pulled up next to us in the traffic queue and the wheel arch was right beside the window I was looking out of. On this car, above the wheel arch, was a single word of three letter. Ram. With my interest piqued and my faith ignited, I told Rosa. A few seconds later the traffic stopped again and this time, outside the window, there was a yoga studio. The studio was called “Blue Sky Yoga.” The blue that was used was the exact shade of the colour traditionally used in hindi art for the skin of gods and deities like, for example, Ram. The phrase “blue skies” is also used to mean “everything is okay”. Yoga means “two things coming together.” Either side of the words on the wall was the “Aum” symbol. This symbol is linked to insight and wisdom and is also associated with Krishna (it is mentioned too in the Bhagavad Gita). Krishna and Ram are both incarnations of Vishnu. This too will be more significant later but we can see here the significance of this message given what was happening.
Later that night as Rosa and I laid in bed in the hotel room, we discussed all of our fears and worries about marriage. It became clear that my nervousness was more related to losing what we have (our home, life together and each other) rather than being nervous or anxious about actually getting married. There is, though, a heaviness to the idea of marriage. Immediately, it carries with it the weight of ego. Ego is concerned with past and future and marriage at the time of wedding is all future, future, future. So, naturally, there were anxieties on both sides for us. Still, exploring this honestly and openly helped to dispel uncomfortable feelings we both were harbouring.
The next morning, we awoke emotionally relieved but physically exhausting with aching muscles. The previous night we walked an approximate total of about 8 miles down and back up the Las Vegas strip. Having only the one night meant we wanted to see it all at once. With blistered feet, swollen ankles and achy joints, we arose the next morning on the day we were to be married.
Rosa went along the hall to her mother’s hotel room to get ready with her while I stayed in our room and got ready there. Procrastinating I took about half an hour to actually get myself dressed with my teeth brushed and a bit of food in my belly. Once ready, I had about an hour to spare. I could feel a knot in my stomach beginning to form again. At this point, I still had things I could distract myself with. I repacked out suit case and stashed all the complementary soaps in our suitcase (another must). After all that, with my Sri Ram chants playing, I sat down to meditate. It became clear to me that if I wanted to be free from the now nauseating knot in my stomach, I would have to handle it differently to how I had the previous day. Usually with emotions, the process is simple. Acknowledge the emotion, accept that it is there, recognise that as the observer of the emotion I cannot be the emotion in my totality and then shift from awareness of the emotion into awareness of awareness and allow all to be as it is. This is quite a simple process when you get used to it. But when anxiety overwhelms, the mind tells the story of it being a different case. It wasn’t a different or special case, it never is, and when I realised that I sat down to the process.
After allowing all to be as it was, something arose from the space. It was a wordless, voiceless inclination to look up the meaning of seeing an eagle. It seemed almost ludicrous that I hadn’t looked it up until then. Usually when I see an animal, I’m the first one on Google trying to find out what it might mean. Anyway, upon being reminded, I went straight to the internet and saw that the eagle represents protection and the removing of limitations. This made sense. One part of Rosa and I getting married was so that we could stay together and not be separated by law – we had said before that if we were not pressed by time and legal issues then it’s likely that we would have waited until a few years down the line to get married. Another aspect of this is that the anxiety in my stomach was a definite limitation to my enjoyment of my marriage.
Then the penny dropped.
The mount of Vishnu and the one who helps Ram to find Sita by directing him to Hanuman in the Ramayana is an eagle deity named Garuda. Garuda, the transportation of Vishnu (the protector God of whom both Krishna and Ram are incarnations of) was being presented to me in my life. The officer in the border office with the name meaning, “from the eagle”, the Mexican passport and the actual physical eagle in the sky. If I wasn’t so focused on what was happening then and there, I might have kicked myself for missing the obvious signs. I would suppose it’s no coincidence that the logo for this very site has the image of eagles encoded into it many times over.
I surrendered to Garuda in that moment. As I did so, this powerful image arose then in my imagination. This huge eagle on the bed in front of me. Staring at me straight in the eye. Fluttering its wings to clear away my worries and limitations. With the stare of this eagle, my worries dissipates. Grateful, I clapped my hands into the prayer position and bowed my head in gratitude, respect and honour. I know now that Ram, Vishnu is always there to support his devotees. Garuda came to aid us in cleansing our minds of worry and that was beautiful.
After this, I didn’t feel nervous or worried all day. The knot in my stomach was untied and the knot of marriage was tied.
With the fullest most reverent respect, I am truly grateful for this experience. I hope with the most selfless of intentions that this serves you well.
Sri Ram Jai Ram Jai Jai Ram.
Sri Garuda Jai Garuda.
Live, love and play