A Dharmic Number
In many of the Eastern traditions the number 108 has importance. Buddhists recite mantra 108 times, a mala has 108 beads and in yoga some postures are performed for 108 repetitions.
At the beginning of last year I set a strong intention to sit two hours daily. I was successful for 107 days.
Travelling in Georgia
On day 108 I was traveling in Georgia to meet old friends. Olga and I were taking the early morning train from Batumi to Tbilisi. A very beautiful journey which I highly recommend. Our 5am start meant that I had not the inclination to sit before we left the AirBnB to go to the station. Some other opportunity will present itself I thought.
The journey through the wide valley from the coast to the capital was stunning. The expansive view takes in plain, river and mountain all in a single frame. Truly wonderful in the early morning sunshine. The railway line follows the path of the river more or less to the principal city of Tbilisi.
Our arrival in Tbilisi was packed with typical traveller orientation; exchanging money, arranging times to meet hosts to collect keys, taking lunch with friends. By now it was early afternoon and no suitable circumstance had presented itself in which sit still doing nothing for an hour.
We made our way up to the highest point in the city to take tea, enjoy the view and wait for our friend Julia to come to meet us at the restaurant. During an extended lunch of local delicacies such as khinkali, lobepuri and kachepuri, the diners at the neighbouring table became increasingly loud and animated. The two guys worked for a Georgian mining company and they had apparently struck gold. Understandably, spirits were high.
At this point I realised that the opportunity to sit to meditate was passing. I looked out over the Caucasus mountains, their rugged beauty glimmering in the late afternoon sunshine, observed the increasingly wild scene unfolding in the restaurant (by now Olga was having a heated conversation in Russian with one of the drunk mining guys, voices raising by the minute), and I let it go.
I surrendered to the situation. Attachment causes suffering, to let go is liberation. What did it matter that I would break the unbroken chain of consecutive days? It didn’t. The lesson was to let go. To surrender.
After 107 days of strong determination, successfully maintaining my practice, I received an unexpected lesson.
Next day I sat to meditate with a smile, to start again.
If we’re too attached to an idea, a belief or an object we suffer. Right, ritual and dogma are obstacles to true freedom. When we surrender we open up to the infinite possibility of the universe.
Surrender does not mean giving up, it means letting go.
Surrender is the wisdom to know when to go with the flow.
Surrender is accepting things as they are.
Surrender is trusting that things will work out.
There’s magic in surrender.