The year was 1989, I was one year into doing full time volunteer work, offering my work as a ‘self-less’ service to a yoga organization. Having grown up in New Jersey, I had finished living and working in an Indian ashram (a monastery of sorts), been on tour with the group as it traveled and was now living and working in the national headquarters in upstate New York.
This year had been amazing, rich with great experiences, but also very tough as I had worked in intense environments, doing very long hours and, sometimes working through the night into the next day as what was needed of me. All this, with very little personal comforts as I lived in a shared dorm environment as the ‘tour’ moved from place to place. Adding to the discomfort was the diet was not adequate. I was a bit ‘beat up’.
So I was in the large retreat center, it was the beginning of the peak visitor season and there were thousands of people going from program to program. Unexpectedly the audio department was called upon to quickly set-up and adjust audio systems in several halls because of last minute changes in programs. Normally we would have a few days notice. It was very intense work, for example in the main hall there was an audience of one thousand silently waiting for us to finish as we installed microphones and did a sound check. Several hours later when I could finally sit down, I pulled away for a cup of chai, Indian tea and rested. I was absolutely exhausted, drained… Not only because of this day, but for the entire preceding year.
While I was sitting down, I overheard someone else’s conversation that a remote children’s hall for toddlers and nursing mothers could not hear the main program sound. I silently weighed whether I was going to fix it or not. On one hand I wanted to help out and fix the problem, plus everyone else in the audio department was busy with higher priority tasks. It would make sense if I was to take care of it. On the other hand I was exhausted and could barely move. Plus if I did not fix it, no one would fault me for it as officially I was not notified. The healthy thing would be for me to just rest and take care of myself.
Never-the-less, I got up and walked across the parking lot to the children’s hall to attempt to restore the sound. After shining a flashlight in the back of the equipment and tracing the ‘rat’s nest’ of cables I located and fixed the problem after about ten minutes. It was an audio cable that was connected into the wrong input.
As I walked away from the mothers, babies and toddlers back to the main building to return to my resting place,
I was not in a good state at all. I was tired, depressed, a bit agitated and feeling very unappreciated. I felt unappreciated for this particular invisible act, and of the hundreds of similar invisible times over the previous year.
As I walked out of the children’s building, I wondered in the grand scheme of life what difference my efforts truly made.
Right after that I had to stop walking because I became aware of a very strong presence. I felt the invisible hand of God over me, about two feet over my head, it was as tangible feeling the ground beneath my feet or the swallows chirping in the forest around me. The hand just was not visible to the eye. I was not dreaming, nor hallucinating. My mind was quite clear, although my heart had been heavy.
The hand of God was radiating down upon and protecting me. God was letting me know that he-she-whoever, was watching me and was very pleased. At that point I felt filled with light and recognition and appreciation from God and was very grateful.
I went back and rested, and rested with great joy.