The stunning view of a mountain with peeks that look like jagged, serrated teeth greets me. Mount Serrated (Montserrat) is 30 miles west of Barcelona, where Otis and I are staying for the last leg of our European journey. For fifteen hundred years, the Benedictine monks have bogarted (made it their own) the mountains for their meditation. They built a huge and most beautiful monastery, Santa Maria de Montserrat. The Virgin Mary has said to have appeared here and is honored in the Black Virgin Sanctuary.
I head up the mountain looking for the monks’ meditation caves. As I ascend, I am accompanied by wisps of sing-song prayers drifting out of the abbey.
I’m not sure how long I hike but it has to be many hours as the day gets hotter and hotter. I arrive in an area where the mountain is blackened by the oil of millions of bygone candles. This must be one of the oldest monks’ meditation caves. I pick a flat piece of rock to sit on as it feels like many monks have sat there. I fold my legs into lotus and close my eyes. I drop into a deep meditation.
In the bright darkness of the void, I sense a group of people sitting around me. When I open my eyes, I see that I am alone. I close my eyes again and there they are, five or six people sitting in a circle around me.
One of them is Babaji. A being who I believe is still alive on earth right now, though he became enlightened two thousand years ago. I acknowledge his presence.
He sends a message, “We’ve sat together before.”
Oh? How interesting. When?
The answer comes, “No time.”
Ah ha, one of those new age, woo woo answers that sound good but give no “real” information. What do I expect from a Babaji who exists inside my imagination. I chuckle to myself, “I’m having fun with this meditation.”
I notice Philip in the 2 o’clock position. I send him a greeting, “Salute!” He sends back a joyous feeling of love. Holy cow! I’m the shit! I’m sitting with the highest level of spiritual teachers!
Philip inquires, “We’re here because we have shed our physical bodies. But you have a body, why are you still sitting here with us?”
Ha? What do you mean? I’m meditating. Is there something wrong with meditation?
“No, nothing wrong, of course. It’s just that, you’re not using the advantage that you have over us, that’s all.”
“Advantage?” These are obviously enlightened folks and I know I am not. So what could I have over them?
“Yes, you are still in the physical. You can help others who are also in the physical.”
“What can I, little me, do for others?” Just then, I hear the sounds of a large group of people ascending the mountain.
The first train must have arrived from Barcelona, carrying many tourists who are visiting the sacred sites for the day. I can hear groups of people as they make their way up the serrated face of the mountain. The most annoying thing about this particular group of tourists is that I can understand every word they say as they are speaking Cantonese. It’d be way easier on my ears if it were Spanish or French. I can try to pretend I’m alone but I can easily overhear that they’re looking for the exact place where I’m now sitting.
“AIYAH! LET’S TAKE A PICTURE!” Cantonese people never talk, they yell. “WAIT! WAIT! I LEFT MY UMBRELLA BEHIND!” I’ve never found Cantonese more annoying than right now.
My spirit guide allows all of these emotions to wash over me and then gently beams the idea that I could help them find this spot. I’m pissed off at having to give up my meditation spot. I don’t want to go but like the good Catholic school girl I am, I reluctantly get up. I guess I can give these Honkers some love by guiding them up to the good meditation spot. I dust off my butt and begin to descend the mountain.
Ambling down the mountain path, I think about a passage I read from Nisargadatta, an enlightened teacher I am especially fond of. “You will go through life without resistance, facing tasks as they come, attentive and thorough, both in small things and big. But the general attitude will be of affectionate detachment, enormous goodwill, without expectation of return, constantly giving without asking. In marriage you are neither the husband nor the wife; you are the love between the two. You’re the clarity and kindness that makes everything orderly and happy…”
I can feel Philip’s pleasure in my state of mind as he says, “You are love itself in physical form. I’ll give you a physical gift to remind you of this important message.”
On my very next step, I step on a rock and almost trip. I pick it up and hold it in my hand in wonderment. It’s a large piece of stone, in the shape of a human heart. It looks like something that was naturally formed but at the same time, enough of it looks like it could have been carved by human hand. It feels like it is half-spirit and half-physical.
Energy rushes to my face and I blush brightly. I touch my face and it is very hot. I’m standing on the mountain all by myself and I’m having a very physical reaction because of a rock. A gift from synchronicity. I find that very strange and delightful! It’s an unforgettable moment.
I hold the heart of stone firmly in my hand and feel a rush of joy. I take off running down the hill, yelling in Cantonese, “I KNOW WHERE THE CAVE IS!” The startled group of Honkers, 30 or more of them, look up at me as I wave at them like a mad woman, like a mad monk.