The Meeting and the “Work”
The long night of almost sleepless excitement that passed until the next day was to be the last night of my undisciplined wilderness. From the next day, the day of meeting with my teacher, I would be unable to live as liberally as before. The doubts I had formed about my lack of discipline would be consummated in the will of my teacher. There would be a practical, moral revolution in my way of life. But at the time I merely swooned in expectation, in the joy of my discovery. And I went to meet my teacher as if I were to be given some sweet free gift of miracles and love, and coddled home like some eternal loved – one of the gods.
When the morning came I bathed and dressed very ceremoniously. My long hair and beard were combed and trimmed. There was to be no offense in me. I walked to the store in the bright sun and wondered what incredible miracles I was to see before evening. From works like Yogananda’s Autobiography of a Yogi I had learned to expect some kind of priceless love – meeting and a dear touch of the teacher’s hand that would shake my mind loose in a vision of lights and blessed peace. I walked to the store with the same excitement in which I used to follow a whore. I went to grasp all the miracles hidden in the secret parts of this mystery.
When I neared the store I carefully hid myself on the other side of the street. I wanted to be certain that the teacher was there before I made my entrance. After a while I saw several men come out of the store. One of them was apparently directing the others. He was a heavy fat man in his mid-thirties. He wore a T-shirt and a baggy pair of corduroys. The others appeared to be doing some sort of work for him.
I watched them move in and out of the store for some time. Finally, all of them left, except the fat man. As I watched him, I perceived a seriousness in him, the same kind of all-business attitude I found in the woman the day before. I supposed that he was alone, and I crossed the street, filled with embarrassment and expectation, self-consciousness and anxiety.
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