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Updated on August 9, 2009

Consciousness exists everywhere in the body.  When you are walking, if a thorn touches your foot, what happens?  It pricks, and you immediately feel the pain, so you cannot say that consciousness was not there.  But until the thorn pricked you, you were not aware of the foot.

I nodded absent-mindedly, and took another bite of porridge.  The book was talking about how we generally are not focused on the life in our bodies, but rather caught in the mind, thinking all the time.  The author was stressing the importance of being with our surroundings, feeling the life pulsing in our limbs, in our hearts.  Coming out of the mind was essential if we were ever going to free ourselves and live a life of bliss, in tune with nature and the world around us.  It shouldn’t take a thorn in the foot to remind us of where we are. 

A bit later, I finished the porridge, paid the bill, and put the book away.  Trimurti’s Garden Café was really just a large house in the middle of a charmed garden filled with large trees and flitting butterflies.  The family that lived there seemed to be composed entirely of girls, aged one to nearly forty, and they hummed, sang, mended, passed the baby, cooked the food, and combed their hair as I ate breakfast on the porch.  A large golden dog barked occasionally at the wind, and Hindi music played from inside the house.  Pictures of Amma, the Hugging Saint, adorned the colorful walls of the patio.

I waved goodbye as I left, and navigated my way down the slick muddy trail that led through the valley to the yoga studio.  Several minutes into the walk, a sharp, burning pain assailed the inner arch of my right foot.  I nearly screamed, but I took a deep breath, stopped, and closed my eyes instead.  Then I looked down and saw that a thorny branch had lodged in my shoe.  The wood was pale white against the slippery red mud.  The throbbing worsened, and I sucked air through my teeth, inspecting my foot.  Two drops of blood rose on the skin, tiny red balls.  They looked like fang marks.  The pain throbbed and burned, and I clenched my teeth as I began walking again.  Eventually it subsided, and my focus returned to my thoughts.  Amongst the beauty of the valley, the splashing stream, the lavender butterflies, and the chirping birds, I was already planning my lunch.  And then the words came into my mind…

Consciousness exists everywhere in the body.  When you are walking, if a thorn touches your foot, what happens?  It pricks, and you immediately feel the pain…

I snapped out of it and enjoyed the beauty around me, the Indian children scrambling up a mossy stone, the orange gates protecting a mysterious garden, the rushing river, swollen from the monsoon.  Sometimes it takes a thorn in your foot…


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    • Peter Dickinson profile image

      Peter Dickinson 8 years ago from South East Asia

      Loved it Sarah and the photo a huge bonus. Thanks.