“Welcome back home”, the immigration officer smiled, before handing me back my green card.
I dragged my luggage and started walking across San Francisco International airport.
“Home?”, I wondered. “Is this now home?”
When we travel to different places, we typically have a place to return to. That’s typically home.
But those who move away from a place where they lived a couple of decades, before venturing to a new one to start a new life, will sometimes find it confusing to call one place or the other “Home”.
And when I sent my notice to the landlord yesterday that I will be moving out, I realized that once again I am moving from a place that I used to call home over the past year, to a new place that I will call home for another couple of years.
I felt longing. Not to a particular place, but to the feeling of being in a place that’s called home.
I felt that I was tired of what was going on, and that I just wanted to go back to my good old life.
I felt that I wasn’t ready for change once again, and that things were moving around me too fast to catch up.
I felt that I could have been happier if I were still doing the same thing and having the same life.
Then I suddenly realized what my life would have been like if I never embraced change, and followed a path that I didn’t know where it would be leading me.
Instead of the wild adventure that I’ve been having over the past years, I would have been living my Groundhog Day over and over.
I would have had comfort and security.
The comfort and security of knowing that tomorrow will be the same as today. No surprises. No change.
But I also craved a place I can call home.
A place that doesn’t change.
And when I thought about it further,I realized that that place doesn’t exist outside of me.
Rather, it’s deep inside.
It’s that which is constant among all what changes.
That which is true among all that’s false,
and which is permanent among all that’s temporary.
I don’t have a good name for that place.
May be that’s eternity, or bliss, or even God.
But it is the only place that I feel safe calling home.
That peaceful quite stillness that I dive into when I meditate, draw, or design.
When I am there, I feel completely safe, grounded and comfortable.
A different kind of comfort. One that’s absolute, final and true.
I feel that whatever is there, and whoever is there, has been there before my birth,
and will be there after my death.
It’s like diving deep inside a stormy sea, away from the crashing waves on the surface. And when I reach the depth of that sea, I realize that this is its true nature.
Someone told me a story about how sailors used to get bewildered at the sight of an iceberg floating upstream. Later they found out that if they only look at the tip of the iceberg, they would think it doesn’t make sense. But the iceberg goes way deeper than its tip, and it’s because of the hot currents at the heart of the ocean that the iceberg is moving.
I believe that we all have a place we can call home. But it’s beyond that place where our couches and our beds are. It’s a very deep peaceful place inside us. It’s a place where time no longer exists. A place that we can visit from time to time, by diving below the crashing waves on the surface. We visit it when we do something we’re truly passionate about that we completely lose track of time. When we sit in stillness observing what is, without judging it. Or when when we practice a sport, a dance, or a hobby, feeling like kids again, and doing it only for the sake of being there.
That’s when we’re truly home.