by Denise Mihalik
Mahabalipuram, India 2020
The pilgrimage itinerary included visits to both living temples and temple ruins. The living temples are beautifully active, alive and vibrant with association, ritual and song. The ruins, although alive long ago, are now just structural remains.
On the first few days of pilgrimage, my partner was suffering with a sudden condition that caused so much pain, he was unable to walk. We had to immediately adjust our idea of what the pilgrimage was going to be, both individually and as a couple.
On this specific day, as the group headed out to visit the temple ruins, we were hotel-bound, his body demanding rest. Another member of the group, a dear friend, stayed behind, the three of us holding space for each other while the group supported us from afar. As my partner rested, I pondered the unexpected events of the trip so far ¬– life’s challenges catch us wherever we are. We’d traveled halfway across the world only to deal with a sudden health crisis.
The itinerary was lost, the visit to the ruins and the living temples cancelled. Despite that, there, in the hotel room, holding space for each other, we experienced a different kind of living temple with no sacred alter, roof or ritual, but rather the connection and flow of love. We experienced the treasure of Divine strength and support as the new, unknown path unfolded.
I was reminded that the preciousness of the moment is beyond what the mind labels as sad, scary, painful. The preciousness of the moment says, “Be here, now, fully – allow yourself to feel, love and know that all is well.”
The value of living association is wherever we are. The living temple of the Self – filled with love, faith and trust.