As I stand behind a microphone, amid walls of books, and in a moment of silence during a book-tour talk, a seventyish grey-haired man rises to ask, “Where does this lead us?” With soft eyes, he speaks with sincerity, intent on getting an answer.
Some people are restless, fidgeting in their chair. Others wait in anticipation. A young Latino man who greeted me when I entered the bookstore leans forward in his chair, rests his elbows on his knees and cradles his head in his hands.
There are no thoughts in my mind only stillness.
“There is no place to go,” I say.
The audience laughs, the grey-haired man winces at me, confused.
“You already have what you’re seeking,” I explain. “The practices are only a way to be in the now, for accepting, for removing the craving for joy in the future. You are not going anywhere, you are only uncovering what’s there.” The grey-haired man nods his head with understanding eyes. The young Latino sits back in his chair, crosses his arms in front of his chest, and smiles.
Only an hour earlier I had been questioning why I would be traveling around the country on this book tour. I was wishing instead to be in the presence of my teacher and mentor, Sri Sri. It is the fourth night of Navaratri, the auspicious Hindu festival honoring Mother Divine. Sri Sri is in silence at the Bangalore ashram with 30,000 people who have come to participate in the yagnas, ancient Vedic rituals that reverberate vibrations of peace.
I observe myself standing before a small crowd, gathered to hear about the book I have written. Elated, I now marvel at the knowledge flowing from me.
At the end of the talk, I sign books and share Sri Sri’s blessings. A tall athletic man who is built like a linebacker approaches me. “I never heard about you or your book. But when I saw the flyer, I knew I had to come.”
How could he? Besides Art of Living members, a few friends, and family, no one knew about my book. I didn’t say a word; I just smiled and nodded.
During the few minutes that we chat, the linebacker holds my hand. He tells me how he appreciated my talk. For many years he felt inadequate with people and wanted more meaning and purpose in his life. As he waits for me to sign his book, he asks if I think the Art of Living Course will help.
Like the grey-haired man’s question, I’m not sure where this book tour will lead me, but it is clear that it is a great vehicle for sharing Sri Sri’s knowledge. Many who are coming to my book events are seekers who long for a way home. I’m honored that I can play a role in their journey.