Arriving in New Orleans, I went straight to Swan River Community Center, a donation-only yoga center led by Haiyan, to hold satsang. Then Haiyan and I drove to his home where I stayed for a week. As we entered the neighborhood, he said that some people call this part of New Orleans "the hood." Well, I love the hood. Haiyan and his family welcomed me with love and kindness.
Another day, we walked through the hood. Haiyan would greet his various neighbors on the way who sat on the front porch socializing. We reached a large garden where Meredith was tending to the plants and picking vegetables. Haiyan picked a harmless looking pepper and said, "Take a bite." So I bit into it and my nose almost caught on fire and my head nearly exploded. The burning continued for a few hours as Meredith, Haiyan, and I walked through the French quarter all the way to the Mississippi River. There we sat on a bench and a flamboyant man approached us.
"Nice shoes," he said, addressing me. "Let me tell you about life." And then he gave me a satsang about the deep lessons of life. I sat there with a sort of stunned look. Had I asked for this? He certainly was delighted to have a captivated audience as he spoke his poetic words and then walked off.
That evening, Meredith took us to a meditation and potluck. We climbed up on the roof overlooking the the neighborhood at night. Meredith's kundalini teacher led the meditation. "Say the mantra, Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Da Ni SaTaNaMA So Say etc in one deep breath, singing it over 2 octaves. I will time it for one hour and two minutes. Let's go!" Oh boy, if I had known what this entailed, I would have skipped the meditation. My voice could not reach the low notes nor the high notes. I breathed so much that my rib started to hurt again. That rib muscle had hurt for months after a prolonged sickness and coughing.
The first 40 minutes of the meditation, I wondered when it was going to end. It seemed much longer than an hour and 2 minutes. The last 22 minutes of the meditation, I suddenly crossed over a barrier and felt renewed. The rest of the meditation was easy. As we completed, I burst out laughing and the laughter peeled across the town below. This madness went on for a few minutes, and then my mind plunged into deep meditation. Some time later, we climbed back down to the kitchen and ate our feast. It was a lovely time.
As I cross over my perceived limits, I realize new possibilities, and the fears and struggles of life dissolve. The ultimate path of Spirit is going beyond all limits. And the path starts with one step...yes.