Journey, In viaggio col dolore

32. MY JOURNEY WITH PAIN. Sufis, the Way of the Heart.

In May 2010, the monthly magazine Osho Times published an article I wrote about Sufism.
It is about a Sufi meditation camp in Kyrgyzstan, immediately after having my first Sufi experience in August 2009, in Miasto, Tuscany.
It was a real revolution, as if, finally, I had returned Home.
Inexplicable to me today, in words, a very, very inner and even evanescent path started a new research period: the Way of the Heart.
I will devote several chapters to Sufism, telling about my travels, his music, Rumi.
I would not find more faithful words to express what I experienced. And therefore, I refer to reading the article mentioned above entitled 'The Sands of Issikul Lake' published in May 2010 by Osho Times.
Here my translation. THE SANDS OF ISSY-KUL LAKE.
There is a lake about 1700 meters above sea level, in Central Asia, in Kyrgyzstan. His name is Issy-Kul Lake. It's on the ancient Silk Road, in the range of the Celestial Mountains, where eagles and wild horses live freely. Its waters are salty and curiously rippled, like a calm sea, by currents and winds.
I was on the southern shore of that lake for ten days in a Sufi Zen meditation camp led by Videha.
I had never had an experience like this before. I had met Videha two weeks earlier in Miasto, where the first Sufi group of the Tuscan Commune happened from 19 to 23 August: "In search of Simurgh." After three days spent in disruption, some nausea, ecstatic joy, love, confusion, laughter, tears, and touching emptiness and passion, I went to him and said: <I would like to deepen the work> and he, after some resistance of mine: "Jump! " And so it was. Ten days later, I would hug him again at sunset in front of a yurt. A "yurt" is the characteristic tent of the Kyrgyz nomads. It is made of wood and felt. It is circular and its pointed top can be opened, in good weather, to have the opportunity to admire evocative ceilings with a piece of sky in the center, perhaps starry. As a floor, the lake's sands and above, wool felt rugs, a specific local artisan product. Those sands, caressed by the lake's waves, wet by the rain and even touched by some light snowflakes, supported our work with their flexibility and softness. On those sands, in addition to sleeping, we did whirling (turned around ourselves), creating more or less circular and deep holes; we sat in meditation. We laid down to rest and looked at the clouds of magnificent clear skies, extraordinarily blue and luminous. On those sands, we walked and, united in a circle, we pronounced the Zikhr (= "remembering"); we bent down to admire the variety of plants and flowers… .. we fell and got up…. We let ourselves go in trust. We shed tears. We prayed, we gave up, shared our emotions, laughed. How many heartfelt laughs with the friends mainly come from distant countries of the former Soviet Union, or Mexico, from Taiwan, from Lithuania, from Ireland; some like me from Italy. We used the heart's language, of the voice, of the gestures, of the eyes: a little English and a lot of dedication to work, loving kindness, passion, and love for the truth.
There is a beautiful Sufi story called "The Legend of the Sands." It is no coincidence that I read it a few days after returning from this intense journey. It speaks of a river which, after crossing different lands and landscapes, arrives near the desert. "Just as it had crossed every other barrier, the stream tried to cross this one, but it found as it ran into the sand, its waters desappear. It was convinced, however, that its destiny was to cross this desert, and yet there was no way. Now a hidden voice, coming from the desert itself, whispered: "The wind crosses the desert, and so can the stream."
Osho commented on this splendid story as the symbol of sannyas: that is, of the gesture of trust towards Life that we are invited to make sooner or later in our inner search. The river has to make a difficult decision: to become a swamp, dispersing itself in the desert sands, or trust it by letting itself be absorbed by the wind and, obviously without knowing the outcome of the experience, get carried away by it to get beyond eventually. The water, falling back like rain,  can become a river again eventually. 
It is this flight that I would like to talk about. On those sands, little by little, courage led me to put down pieces of armor and let go of many needs, from the most practical to the most "ethereal". Leave, leave. Everything was less important than being on time and ready for sessions in the Great Yurt, our beautiful "Nomadic" Buddha Hall.
'The desert is a point where you start feeling you are disappearing. The desert is a point where you feel you are dying. The desert is a point when you feel UTTERLY hopeless, meaningless, a point where you start contemplating suicide, a point where you cannot figure it out - what to do, what not to do, to be or not to be. One day or other, every consciousness has to face the desert because without passing through the desert, you will never really be mature. That is part of the training of every soul.'
Osho - The Wisdom of the Sands - Volume 1
And the more I deposited scales of armor, the more I felt the vulnerability and delicacy of my heart: I touched its essence and substance. It gave the cadence to my whirling, to my presence, and transported me to inner worlds never explored. Passion dissolved fear - how much fear! - which dissolved in trusting. And in those flights, spinning on those sands - the mountains and the skies that turned tremendously - I dissolved in moments of Eternal.
From being more dynamic and physical in the early days, the work later became more silent and meditative, marked by listening to the words of our beloved Master Osho and exquisite music that Videha chose to induce and accompany the various phases.
'If you can find a place, a space, where belief is not imposed on you but trust is helped, find that place. That is the right place where you can really grow and grow into freedom. There is no other growth - growth in freedom is the only growth.'   
Osho - The Wisdom of the Sands - Volume 1
It wasn't a walk picking violets in the meadows. But it was the thing I had been looking for for a long time and, in fact, from the first day in Miasto, I felt like I was returning home. I left the camp embracing Videha in front of the same yurt, this time in the morning, leaner and more vulnerable. Since then, my heart - my heart of a Goddess - supports me, whispers, protects, sings me, smiles at me, loves me. The Lover who goes to meet the Beloved. What other flight could be more wonderful ??? !!
My name is Ma Atmo Prayan (= The Innermost Journey). Now my name, given to me by Shunyo about ten years ago, finds an added resonance and reason for being: after all, I need to wear the whirling shoes, kiss the skirt and start turning on myself to embark on adventurous journeys flying in Dedication and Trust in the depths and the skies of my Being, around my heart.
'A true religious person cannot be Hindu, Mohammedan, Christian. He's simply religious. Jesus is not Christian, he's religious; I call him a Sufi. Buddha is not Buddhist, he is simply religious; I call him a Sufi.
A Sufi is a person who has looked into the very essentials of religion and has discarded all that is non-essential.'
Osho - The Wisdom of the Sands - Volume 1
Prayan Bettanini