There will be times in your life when you are in desperate need of help. In order to receive help, you need to actually ask for help – something many people neglect to do. You should not be attached to how the help comes to you - only that it comes - and then you must receive it with gratitude.
The following is a story from my early journey into the spiritual quest, which some of you may remember from my recent podcast about our spiritual helpers on ‘Guides’.
I arrived in what was then Calcutta, India when I was in my early ‘20s. I came off the plane to discover someone needed my baggage more than I did (it was stolen) and I walked out of the airport with only the clothes I stood up in, no ticket home and about $50 dollars in my pocket.
I had come to India in search of truth and a spiritual teacher. I had no idea what I was to find in India but what I saw certainly wasn’t what I had expected. The first person that I encountered as I walked out of Calcutta Airport was a person sitting quietly in a corner just before the outer doorway. He had no arms or legs and no eyes, and was dressed in rags. He had a battered harmonica attached to a piece of wire around his neck and what looked like an old baked bean tin hanging around his neck.
“May I play for you sir?” he asked in clear English.
I turned and stared in disbelief. He too was staring at me, and although he had no eyes he seemed to see me.
“Yes that would be nice,” I mumbled placing a few coins in his tin, later realising that they were Australian coins and were of no use to him.
I have no idea what he played nor how well he played; it didn’t seem to matter. He played, I muttered thanks and stumbled out into the heat ravaged Indian day.
I had really arrived in India.
“Do you need some help?” a soft voice asked. A tall Indian man and his brother offered to assist me to find some accommodation. I must have looked as stunned as I felt.
“I don’t have much money,” I said.
“Don’t worry neither do we,” replied the man.
He introduced himself as Tamil. He explained that he and his brother were travelling to Kerala in the south and if I would like some help, they would me find my way to the railway station the next morning. I accepted. I was on my way to Madras also in the south of India and was grateful to have some assistance getting there.
Some time later the dilapidated taxicab pulled up in a slum area that looked like it was from an ancient era. I opened the door and found I had to step over a bloated dead body lying in a deep ditch in front of our lodgings. To say that by now I was deep in culture shock was an understatement; this was my first trip outside of Australia and my native New Zealand, and I was in total shock.
The next morning, under the guidance of my newfound helpers, I arrived at Calcutta Railway Station and boarded the train to Madras. The station was home for thousands of homeless people, who all seemed to be living in cardboard boxes on the many platforms. There were thousands living like this, all claiming a patch of sheltered space. They surged toward my white western face in anticipation of being given money, but little did they realise that I wasn’t that much better off than them.
My culture shock deepened.
By now I was gripped with fear. I was on the verge of panic. “I’m going to lose my mind,” I thought. It was as if I was having a nightmare but one from which I couldn’t awaken. I felt I had been transported back hundreds of years into another era in which I was stuck.
The train finally departed several hours late, as do all trains in India, and so I began my trip further into the unknown. As I stood in line waiting my turn to visit the bathroom, it all became too much. I began screaming inside myself for help.
Almost immediately, I felt someone tap me on the shoulder. I turned and looked in to the clear blue eyes of an immaculately dressed Indian man in khaki shorts and long socks. His long grey hair fell down around his shoulders.
“Why are you here?” he asked quietly.
I mumbled something about searching for my guru and for the truth of life. The man then squarely locked his eyes to mine, looking at me deeply and intensely. It was like he grabbed my soul. Everything went completely still. Suddenly I felt safe, my fear subsided.
“I am glad that you have come,” he said, still holding me with his deep blue eyes. I blinked and briefly looked away. When I looked back around to focus on him, he had vanished.
“Where did that man go?” I asked the young man next to me in the queue.
“What man, Sahib?” he asked.
“The Indian man that was just here… the one with long grey hair and blue eyes,” I replied and continued to rattle off a detailed description of him.
“We Indians have brown eyes Sahib. There has not been anyone here that fits that description.”
I couldn’t believe it. I searched that train up and down, and asked many people but no one had seen him. There was no trace of the longhaired Indian man with the bright blue eyes. Yet to me he was as solid and real as I was. And he brought me back from the edge of madness and fear.
I never saw him again, but I knew I could go on now, and I did.
My call for help had been heard and was answered. I was the only one on that train who saw that man. It was years before I related this story to anyone else; when I did most rolled their eyes in disbelief. But he was there. He was my reality and my help when I needed it most.
All you have to do is ask for help and receive it - in whatever shape or from it appears - with sincere gratitude. The Universe and your helpers are always there to assist you.