Gábor Goda: The fourth One-Day-Turn

(21st June 2012, Hungary – Pilis Mountains)

The happenings of this turning, I was able to write down only years later. Nothing, not a single moment sank in the oblivion of the past. Each picture has remained clear and sharp and the experience itself has stayed poignant till today.
The process was probably the most tormenting this time, and its outcome the most unexpected. I was not to turn alone this time either. Gyöngyi and Ádám S. were also going to do a 24 hour turn, while Ádám F. intended to stand and turn for about 4 hours, at the longest. This self-restraint and moderation appealed to me a lot though at the time we spoke about it I did not know how much wisdom resided in it.
We decided to turn in a small valley, somewhat lower, not on the hilltop as we did before. We set up about 20-40 m from each other, neither too far, nor too close from each other, so that we wouldn’t disturb each other and still could give support. The circles and time-measuring slopes were prepared with a well-trained skill. My two helpers, Bea and Gazsi, were with me this time, as well. Gazsi documented the whole process, and took care of the fire and Bea took care of me. 
At sunrise, there were three of us to stand out, or rather- step in- the circles, Gyöngyi, Ádám S. and me. Ádám F. joined us later in the afternoon.
The sun came up very quickly and it had soon flooded the whole field with its heat. This was the hottest day of the year. It was over 40°C down in the valley where we had been standing. More and more people came to visit us in the course of the day, to spend some time together with us. They sat in the shade of the trees, at the edge of the meadow. Around midday, it seemed to be unbearable to stay in the sun. I frequently poured water on my cap to cool myself a bit.  

However, how I made it through the day doesn’t matter that much now, as the thought that kept snuggling in my mind with growing strength, while standing there doing my turn. Something that had appeared to me before, in the desert, too. Namely, the question of being truthful and credible to myself while standing here. Is it truly the simple, intention-free presence, the attempt to sustain the state of mere existence that fulfils me? Or rather, am I full with expectations, plans and tasks to be carried out? Why do I choose to bear the physical pain, suffering, exhaustion, heat, my aching leg? Will the long-awaited turnover occur, and if yes, then will the space and the mind open up, will the axis come to life, will some real spiritual experience happen? My thoughts became more and more unsettled and confused, and waves of doubt were rising up in me. What is left of all the effortlessness of mere doing, that is free of will or goal, the selfless engrossment in the self-fulfilling-existence of being?! I am sweating, suffering, bearing and enduring. What an achievement! What am I trying to prove myself, or the others? That I am strong enough, that I am a spiritual being; or that I can do it? It is my ego, my pride, physical strength and my fear that keep me up. Fear of not being able to prove that I am the man I would like myself to be seen as. What a failure! But no, this mustn’t be done like that. This way, it would only contradict that what this turning is really about. It is time to stop it. Yet, I have been standing for over 10 hours. Should I give up now? No, I will rather endure. The image of the brave Indian from my childhood pops up, the model of man, tied to the torture stake, keeping a stiff upper lip despite the knives and arrows driving hard through his flesh. I can take in anything, I won’t cry, nor show my feelings, my pain. This is what my father taught me, this is the way I can become a real man, by never showing any physical or mental pain, only enduring it. And what a hard job it was for me to let this Indian go at last, and give way for myself to feel, be weak, instead of always standing the proof. Yet, now I see, the Indian is back again, tied to the stake in the tormenting sun, and I see how the sacred World-axis /connecting the Earth and the Sky/, which I had brought to life in the course of my previous 24h turns becomes my own torture stake now. I am the axis, the stake and the Indian tied to it at the same time. And yet, I am none of these. The true self-identity has turned into its own complete opposite. Turned. Well, that’s a turning point, too. Bea shows up every 30min from the shade of the wood, and brings water, or signals time, thus breaking the monotonous emptiness filled with pain. Gazsi appears with his camera less and less frequently, as if something had taken his mood. Maybe, it was me, not being myself? There are more and more eyes looking at us, from below the shade of the trees, more and more mirrors that doubt and trust in me at the same time.
Keep turning!
Be yourself!
I can’t bear the tightness of my shoes any longer, so I carefully step out of them and choose to be standing with bare feet on the rough ground, yet, free. That’s a decision, too. For, I decide about what I do. Do I? It is the inner drive that motivates me, but who decides? Who makes the choice? What kind of inner and outer forces drive me? I am not a single man. I consist of a whole village of people, as the Chinese say. I am a variety of different desires, needs, wills, thoughts and emotions. It is the multitude of who I am, that makes a decision. They come to an agreement somehow. It is not me who decides what to do, but it is only me who decides how I feel about it. This is really what I do, alone. This Self is not the multitude of a village any longer, this Self is the single self, which connects to the Universe, and becomes itself by ceasing to be ‘somebody’.
Turn and be yourself, I say to myself.
And then, the dim light showing the direction flashes intensely and I step out of the circle.

I give over, yet don’t give up. My task for today is finished. I let go my plans, expectations, the image of the Indian, my pride and vanity. I walk across the field to the edge of the wood. I sit down in the light of the setting Sun, and ignore the curious eyes watching me under the trees. I merely am, and I am feeling well, at last. I let go the 15 hour struggle. I have allowed myself to be weak. I watch Gyöngyi and Ádám still standing there in the field for a while then I go to sleep. The stars are soon up in the sky. I lie on my back and watch the stars. I fall asleep. Morning light wakes me up. I look at the clear blue sky. And finally, I know and experience again, that the stars are up in the sky even when I don’t see them.

Budapest, 2017