No not Burning Man, I’m going to Mecca
It was around this time last year that I felt a tugging at my heart strings. A pulling if you like or a calling. I knew that I wanted to perform the Hajj Pilgrimage and that I would go the next year.
This was an insight that came to me in a flicker of clarity and wisdom. Without the annoying fly like buzzing of personal thoughts or things from the outside world, I was left with a knowing.
And now a year on here I am, hours away from boarding the plane to Medina in Saudi Arabia. This will be the first time that I will perform this pilgrimage yet my third time visiting Mecca and Medina. The first time I was a child, innocent and without too much learned knowledge about the mini pilgrimage (Umrah) I was there to perform. It was here that I had the first insight.
I remember stepping out of the taxi on the pavement where we could see the Kaaba — the house of Abraham. There were mountains and not much else as I looked to my left and right. My father’s younger brother led the way, having been living in Saudi Arabia those past years. As we were about to begin walking I felt the ground shaking. It was an earthquake. I looked around in fear and saw nothing of worry on the faces of my parents, my sisters or my uncle who had joined us. Everything slowed down. I surveyed the area, held my arms out but there was nothing to hold on to and then I looked down at my own body. As my legs shook like jelly I noticed everything around me was still. There was no earthquake. It was me. I felt the overwhelming power of being in such a deeply spiritual place. At that moment my fear disappeared and I was just in awe. No greater intellectual understanding than seconds before but a knowing that only my body could understand.
The next time I went was over a decade later. Once more to perform the mini pilgrimage Umrah. What would I feel this time I wondered. I had a whole new life experience to contend with. Intellectual knowledge seeping out of my pores. So many thoughts and opinions and facts at my fingertips and clogging up the space in my head.
In those years there had been rapid development with hotels, restaurants, shops at every turn and people. So many people. This did not seem anything like the Mecca from my childhood. This time settled into a plush hotel with especially bought clothes, seeing people from all corners of the globe, I walked down towards the haram, past food stalls, snake oil sellers, amidst so much noise and chatter and arrived at the Kaaba. Stopping at the sight of this house of Allah I burst uncontrollably into tears. It was just me again, standing in my innate wisdom, free from the shackles of everything outside me. Once again I was overwhelmed by love.
I could have been setting off for Reno and the Nevada deserts for Burning Man as the day I was going to try and get those elusive tickets one day in February this year, I got a call reminding me about my Hajj enquiry. Either way I would have be in a desert being in a different state of consciousness feeding off the vibrations.
So as I pack up my old kit bag, sleeping bags, first aid kits in tow I am no longer wondering what this experience will be. I know that in the in moment it will be pure love. Amongst three million people I will be experiencing my own personal shift in consciousness and having a deeper spiritual awakening. What that will be I couldn’t possibly say. My intention is to be present, and deep in reflection. I know it’s a privilege to be on this journey and I am filled with gratitude to be in this position. My heart is incredibly open and all I know is that the only thing that matters is love and oneness. After all we are all connected. Everything and everyone is energy and we all vibrate. So, in the words of the Beach Boys, here is to good good good, good vibrations.
First published on Medium.com August 2017