29. Journeying to Wellington

Challenging tasks always seem blessed with bucketloads of grace, and obstacles always seem to melt away when we dare to try. This truth was much in evidence during the one year it took us to establish a Centre in Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city 700 kilometers to the south of Auckland. Each week we made the ten-hour journey south in our elderly car, offered a two-hour evening course in meditation, and then around 11:00 p.m., pointed ourselves north for the long drive home.

Guru always took us far away from the constraints of “common sense” (often narrow thinking), “personal comfort” (often spiritual suffocation) and “impossibility” (everything is possible), stretching our capacity, willingness and self-belief across a much wider canvas of living. That training had already taken hold in our hearts in our Wellington adventures, and we contemplated each weekly road trip with zeal.

Since I usually fell asleep at the wheel only half an hour out of Auckland, and co-driver Subarata fared little better, we usually marinated ourselves in high-octane caffeinated sodas for the early part of the journey and made up silly poems that the other person had to finish. Sometimes we sang songs very loudly.

Subarata had a few Irish cassettes of fervidly anti-British patriotic songs about the revolution. Although not even faintly nationalistic, she sang them passionately, as though the British troops had slaughtered her entire family and plundered the ancestral home. We were driving the long road to Wellington, me with my head out the window and inhaling lungfuls of cold, refreshing air, she bellowing out these wild, vengeful songs or sometimes the maudlin laments of wrongdoings and loss.

Arriving in Wellington, wrung out with caffeine, the blood-curdling music and the foolish poetry, we needed to compose ourselves with a lengthy meditation in order to rediscover the sanity of the spiritual life. Then after the meditation evening there came the long haul home! Though our pre-disciple days had seen many misadventures and hazards, the all-night Wellington-to-Auckland epic eclipses them all as the most perilous, a sleep-drenched ultra that even the stirring revolutionary songs could not dent. But for an entire year we somehow survived.

Guru’s protection is always there in our lives – and the act of invoking and believing summons it quickly. Not only the perilous drives and outer hazards, but the inner struggles, too – or even especially – will all be finally conquered through a tiny drop of self-effort and the responding ocean of grace.