We piled out of the cars, eager for the adventure of the Springs. Lu, our Hindu guide, helped us dress in appropriate temple clothing (sarong, lace top and sash).
We slowly walked through the gate, feeling like princesses, and the world fell away.
We knew this experience would be life changing, but no one could have prepared us for how deeply the energy would impact us.
As we walked down the ancient stone steps, the outside world disappeared. There was a hush, a stillness that pervaded everything. The only word that can describe the air inside the Temple is…reverence.
Vibrant colors serenaded our walk down into the depth and heart of this ancient space. Trees as tall as small buildings created a canopy of leaves, filtering the light and altering our perception of ourselves.
Lu lead us in a ceremony to prepare to enter the springs. The sound of water rushing down the hillside nearly drowned out her soft voice. A few moments spent in worship and then we walked down a few more steps to the springs.
Turning the corner, I saw the area for the first time. This was truly a holy place. It seemed almost alive with energy. Moss covered all exposed surfaces and mist rose from the surface of the water. The sound of rushing water was so loud that we couldn’t communicate unless we yelled in each other’s ear.
The water barreled down from above and was channeled into four different fountains. We soon learned that each fountain had a purpose in the ceremony.
Entering the pool required a step down on mossy rocks into chilly water that took your breath away. There was no time to hesitate, because someone else was waiting behind you. Together, we shared the experience of ice cold water, while maintaining our prayerful attitude.
We ceremonially offered small flowers and then, one by one, we stood under each waterfall. The first waterfall was to release the mind, the second was to release the body. The third was to cleanse the soul and the last was to surrender to the Divine.
When it was my turn, I was excited but nervous. As I stood in front of the first fountain, I prayed to be open to whatever happened.
I stepped into the liquid curtain and tried to find the sweet spot where I could breathe and still be submerged in the water. My time in the mind fountain was short, because I never could find that sweet spot. I backed away and took a deep breath, hoping to master the technique.
On the second fountain, I discovered that if I leaned forward and tilted my neck down, the water would flow over the back of my head and down the sides, creating a pocket of air. My body relaxed and I was able to let go of my thoughts (so appropriate because this was the body fountain).
The third fountain is where I lost it. I realized, on a visceral level, that I was held, safe and loved. I started crying, then discovered that I could make as much noise as I wanted and no one would hear me. The sound of the water was so loud that it drowned my sobbing. I stayed much longer, allowing the water to wash over my head and back, cleansing more layers than just the physical.
Lu was patiently waiting at the last fountain. I was still holding my flower and she nodded at it, saying something I couldn’t hear. I finally heard her say, “Let it go.” I shouted to her that I already had, but she laughed and pointed to my flower. “Let it go,” she said again. I finally understood and gently placed the flower on the surface and watched it float away.
Something shifted inside of me under the last fountain, and I felt myself merging into oneness with the Divine. My small self was washed away by the strength of the water, and in its place rose a peaceful certainty about myself.
Emerging from the last cleansing, I felt like a different person. Walking back up the ancient steps, absorbing the holy energy of this place, I knew that I had shed layers of limiting beliefs.
The impact of this cleansing in my life is difficult to describe or measure. When I forget that I am loved and here for a reason, all I have to do is study these photographs again.
I share my story in the hope that it will inspire you to shed limiting beliefs. There are many ways to do this. Meditation, yoga and tai chi are just a few examples. Find what works for you and surrender to it’s wisdom.
The ancient ceremony I experienced is one way to meet your Self. Another is to begin a daily meditation practice. The 21 Day Heart Dancing Challenge is designed to gently lead you home, using short, guided meditations and journal prompts.
However you find the way, just know that you are loved beyond measure, that you are meant to be here, and that you have a gift to share with the world.