I remember experiencing an extraordinary sunset when I was a teenager.

It was an ordinary Sunday afternoon, my only time free from school and homework throughout the week. I took a random walk in the bustling streets, savoring the little freedom I could hold on to. When I arrived at the riverside, the sun was floating above the horizon, gracefully pouring the warm glow all over. As the water ripples, the light twinkles, a tango of the formless. There I stood, lost in this dance. Some time after, a boat rowed its way into my sight. A man was rowing a humble wooden boat slowly yet steadily towards the sun in the sparkling waterway. So quietly he rowed and rowed, with each paddle firm and tender. Seeing the enigmatic glow on his face in this golden sunshine, I was enchanted. As the boat was passing, he caught my gaze, and smiled: “Come join me?”

It was impossible to get into that boat from where I was standing, at least it seemed impractical, so I didn’t board. As he rowed on, I was mesmerized, watching him gradually disappearing into the setting sun where the river and the sky finally unites.

Since then, I have always felt that there is an invisible river, on it there is a boat waiting for me, at the very far edge sits the eternal sun. One day, I know, yes one day, I will row the boat into the sun and melt into that light.

In the years that followed, I continued onto college and job, moved to the US, and had what looked like a typical American dream. I had things, yet I felt something was missing. I had plenty of friends, yet I wondered who this Friend is that Rumi stays up all night for. I started traveling every month and hosting many travelers at home, searching for the answer to that emptiness. I thought what I was looking for was outside, so I quit the job and left the US to travel the world.

Now looking back, how fortunate I was to realize that the answer was within me not too long after I started the journey. After wandering in Southeast Asia and China for some time and prepping for a trip to India, I moved to Chiang Mai in 2018. It was then that I walked into Mahasiddha for the first time. With this grace, everything changed.

When I first came to the school, I was already practicing yoga for a year and half, following Sadhguru’s Isha Yoga. I was curious about tantra, yet extremely skeptical. I wanted to learn, but in a way that fits all the labels I carefully chose for myself — free, queer, gender fluid, feminist, etc., and above all, a spiritual seeker. I questioned the teachings from many angles, frowned at its political incorrectness, and often was flexing my mental muscles for an intellectual wrestle. However, my beloved teachers Uriel, Blandine and Radu never ever once lost their patience with me. On the contrary, all of them manifested immense love, wisdom and patience, guiding me and many others in this journey.

There are teachers that teach like ants, they transfer information like the ants passing on food to each other. There are also teachers that teach like bees, they work day and night through the flower fields, for decades they gather pollens and alchemize them into honey through their own experiences and realizations. When the worthy students arrive, they graciously take out the honeycomb and drip the divine nectar into the beaks of the young birds. Hafiz says, a poet is someone who pours light into a cup and brings it to the parched lips of the souls. The beloved teachers at Mahasiddha as well as a few more I later on met in Europe, are truly the embodiment of such genuine, self-less and compassionate teachers.

With their help, divine grace, and the precious teachings transmitted through the ancient tantra system, I started to transform. I started to open up and experience life through the heart more often. Gone are the dark clothes that wrapped me in a small corner for years, gone are the dull ways of experiencing life as something banal, and the restless searches for identities. Colors started to spring from me through beauty, poetry, dance, and a plenary sense of lightness. True spiritual friendship started to form and nourish my soul deeply. The clear knowing of the meaning of life dawned on me, and triggered in my being again and again the ineffable sublime energy of happiness and longing for the divine.

After a year and half in Thailand, I journeyed onward to the mother schools in Europe, yet the graceful guidance from the teachers in Mahasiddha never ceased. And above all, the inner journey continues towards the Absolute, the endless love.

In this very moment, as I sit by the window in an ashram writing down these words, the glowing sun once again pours his golden warmth onto everything on earth. I close my eyes and find myself rowing a boat on a river. I look to the shore and meet the mesmerized gaze of a teenager. As a smile rises on my face, I hear myself say: “Come join me?”