On February 8th, we left on our journey to India.

The history of how this trip came to be, and the changes it has taken, is interesting and complex. At some point, I may attempt to describe this evolution.

Our first stop was in Singapore, where we were hosted by the good folks running Annalakshmi. My friend Lalitha arranged everything and our stay was extraordinary.

After that, we came to Bombay, and then up to Ahmedabad. In Bombay, we were hosted by Kokila, Shilpa, and Balakrishna – relatives of my friend Nipun’s. After that we came up to Ahmedabad where we have been hosted by our friends at Manav Sadhana and Indicorps.

Within the above lines are hundreds of stories yet to be told. It is likely, I will try to capture some, but for now, a sampling of the stories can be found on friends’ blogs: Nipun’s, Guri’s, and Mark’s.

Throughout this adventure, two dominant concepts have emerged for me:

  1. This is a dream. My travel partner, Mark, and I began to realize this early on. There are many reasons that this has become so apparent. For one, in traveling to less familiar cultures, things naturally appear unfamiliar and dreamlike. When painted animals walk in the streets and bizarre elements can be found almost everywhere, it is easy to believe that everything is a fantasy.  The second reason this can be seen so clearly is because our circumstances have been so extraordinarily ideal. We have met with such impossible kindness and have been in the company of such legendary figures. From our plane ride forward, we have been carried along effortlessly from one extraordinary moment to the next and it is almost difficult not to see it as a dream.

But this realization does not depend simply on advantageous circumstances. The more we have studied it, the more we are convinced that life actually is just a dream. The possibilities that life offers at every moment are abundant and endless. It is our own capped mindsets that have “learned” that life is a known and limited phenomenon. When we learn to see the limitless choices we are always surrounded with, we are then given the ability to play with the dream – to live our lives as experiments and as adventures.

And throughout this trip, we have been playing with this dream, exercising our capacities to enter it and own it.

  1. Building a Tool Kit. The second concept that I have been playing with is that we can equip ourselves with “tool kits” which provide us with ways of dealing with various situations. In India, for instance, there are many children begging for rupees on the streets. From what I’ve heard, oftentimes the money they collect goes to a local “don” who basically uses these kids like prostitutes, and when we give them money, it almost encourages the perpetuation of this limited life-pattern. As we walked on the streets with Jayesh-bhai from Manav Sadhna, we were able to see how he reaches out to each of these kids, telling them that begging is a dead-end. He cuts their fingernails, combs their hair, and gives them a candy. Afterwards, they are left with the feeling that someone has reached out to them with love, which is purely soul-satisfying – something that spare change could never give them.

From observing Jayesh-bhai, we now know several techniques for how to handle a situation when a child asks us for a rupee. We can add this to our toolkit. Before this, we had no tools for handling these circumstances. In accumulating more and more tools, we are able to master more and more situations with love and benevolence. Although it would be nice if good intention was enough, like in speaking a language, there are just many inherent limitations that come when the words are not there to express complex ideas.

Though our toolboxes are still fairly sparse, we have accumulated several ideas so far along the way and will hopefully keep increasing them as we go.

For me, the other main element to this trip has been the unfolding of a vision itself…