Alon Desert, Israel, Jerusalem, between Jericho and the Dead Sea.
It was the Budapest visit of Rina and Noa that sparked the idea in me of making my second turnaround somewhere near Jerusalem, in the desert. The decision was a no-brainer to me and was made quickly. I set off on 3rd of January 2011 with Gáspár and Bea. My plan was to begin the turning at daybreak, on 6th of January. However, the day preceding my departure, I felt sudden pain in my lower back. This had not happened for over a year by that time. I had already recovered from the serious lumbago and by regular exercise and help of Taiji almost totally cured it by then. Hence, the backache surprised and scared me, on that Sunday. I spent all day exercising and stretching. I knew that in this condition, I would certainly be incapable of enduring the 24 hour standing. Urgently, I called Móni- who had healed me from the paralysed right foot 5 years before- to take my waist in hand and cure it before my Monday flight. I started the day at 6.30 am at Móni´s place and by eight I was already at the airport. I felt a bit alleviated, but the situation was not comforting at all.
As soon as we arrived at the Ben Gurion Airport close to Tel Aviv, we rented a car and tracked the kibutz where we would be accommodated for the rest of the week. The place was called Kibutz Netiv HaLamed Hei, and it was the place where my friends- the leaders of the Vertigo Dance Company lived together with their families. Three years ago, they started to build up an Eco-Art-Village, which they have been augmenting carefully ever since. It gives room for their rehearsals, warehouse, studio and homes. They collect rain-water, use selective litter boxes and Bio toilettes, the garden is full with herbs, they make loam and build their adobe dwellings from it; they make use of solar and wind energy. Besides art creation, nature preservation and their ecological worldview stand among the most important tasks and issues in their lives. The village stretched above the ancient valley, in which David and Goliath had fought once. Now, it was covered by freshly-sprouted, green cornfield.
All I knew was that I have to make the turn somewhere close to Jerusalem, in a desert. Adi helped me find the place for my turn. He mentioned a place that lay between Jerusalem and Jericho, above the Dead Sea, with an enchanting desert. As far as the eye can see, there is nothing but stone hills swaying about. No greenery to be found. On top of the hill, beside a road, there is a strange inn. It is called Beresith, which means Genesis in Hebrew. Sounds good, indeed. This place was recommended to us as our base, where we could spend the night before my turnaround. It was a beautifully set up Bedouin-like, yet comfortable place built from wood, stone and sheets, probably designed for romantically given couples. A lot of weddings take place here, and many people like to celebrate their honeymoon there, too. The luxurious bridal suite was a well-designed, picturesque building comprising open-air Jacuzzi, with a direct view on the desert. A desert(ed) Jacuzzi. From this moment, I doubted that this was anything like our own world. Moreover, the price was really high, similar to a 4 or 5-star hotel. In spite of this, I decided to go into the desert hoping to find the perfect place to do the turn. I knew that I cannot walk too far from our headquarters, as we will need to carry firewood to the spot, for making fire at night. I walked until the Beresith Inn was out of sight, hidden by the hills, though I could still point out a little curve of the lane in the distance. I was looking for a place from where there was nothing else to see except natural landscape. However, I had walked too far away from the starting point by then. I gazed across the dunes and spotted a small horizontal field in the distance, with some remains of what looked like a teepee. I felt it to be the most powerful point of the area, and thus felt I had finally found my place. Yet, I did not go there in the end. The carrying to be done would be impossible for the great distance, and hard terrain. I walked back to the house. Fortunately, there was yet another possibility to go. There was a little village nearby, called Alon. According to Adi, a peculiar man lived at the edge of it, who was supposed to hold mysterious rituals at this place and who, after all, might host us for a night. This could be our starting point the next day. We tracked the house down. It was a thoroughly planned and well-designed building, with a lot of clever and imaginative ideas, almost like an artwork of a talented fine artist. There was a Bedouin shelter (zula) in the courtyard with a stove-like appliance made of metal and tin. Below, we could spot an Indian sweat–lodge surrounded by trees and stones, all lying directly at the border of the desert. There was nobody here. We sat outside the hut and stared at the desert, the stone-hills and the curves that they were painting. An Endless stone – sea. At once, I felt we were at the right place.
About half an hour later, the owner arrived. He introduced himself as Avi, with smile on his face and a machine-gun over his shoulder. This did not surprise me at all, here in Israel, though Bea and Gazsi were a bit restrained at first. It felt somewhat strange to be talking to a man with a gun reluctantly dangling on his shoulder as if it was a mere snack-bag. It is always with him, whether he chit-chats with us, or makes coffee, or chops wood, never taking it off for a minute. He tells us, that it’s just because of our arrival that he dropped in back home to meet us. He would be at work, otherwise. Adi explained him briefly what our plan was and what we would like to accomplish. Apparently, he was very fond of the plan, and even felt a bit honoured that the Destiny had lead us right up to his house, which he had understood as a special sign. He offered his Beduin lodge to be our base at once, and even recommended us a particular place down in the desert for my turn. He said it was not too far away from the hut, and was a very „powerful” point. That’s what he called it, too: the POINT. We set off immediately. At first, we had to walk rather steep downhill. However, the spot soon appeared in the distance. It was the same little horizontal field I had seen before from Beresith, which had looked like a teepee ruin, about an hour ago. Yet, from here, it was much closer and easier to reach. From this moment, there was no question of having found the right spot for the turning, as well.Nevertheless, our way back up to the house was very tough and strenuous. We had to stop and take a rest a couple of times along the way. Avi had much to say about his own rituals, the sweat lodge and other South-American rituals, which his people were practicing at his home and out in the desert. He was an obsessive Castaneda follower. He was evidently feeling a strong bond between our brain-child and his own mentality. Widening the boundaries, endurance, spiritual way: by means of straining the body. The sudden occurrence of this South-American spiritual line had also reinsured me that we are on the right path. Ruw happened to be in South America at the time.
We began to set up and carried a considerable amount of firewood to the POINT. I traced out the exact place for the turning, the axis. Gáspár, Bea and a friend of Avis, called Moav helped us. Gáspár marked off the place for the camera. Our plan was to use only one camera that would be taking shots every 2 minutes and a video camera, instead of two cameras that we had used before during my previous turns. This way, Gáspár will be able to move about more freely and take more colourful film shots, too. Moav told me about the animals that kept coming to the small stream behind the hill. Antelopes, hyenas, birds, and some spiked animal lived in this area. I could hear the hyenas quite often. The landscape is indescribable. Barrenness, drought, painting-like colours, the atmosphere and knowledge of millennia preserved in the earth. There is nothing else to see except the wavering stony ground and the blue sky above. With Bea’s help, we built a little circle (about 1m in diameter) from tiny stones, in the middle of which I will be standing. The stones divided the circle into 24 equal parts, and with some additional stone-shards like sun-beams showed the direction which I was supposed to watch. We placed bigger and heavier stones in another circle farther away, with about 10m in diameter, as a continuation of the stone-beams of the small one. I stepped in the circle, the place of the would-be Axis. I could feel three concentric stone-circles around me. The smallest, 1m circle, the 10m big circle and the curve of the horizon itself, that was drawn by the spine of the hills in the distance. The place became exquisitely sacred. I remembered the sculptor from New-Mexico with his huge megalith stone circle, and the 13 grandmothers. I aimed to begin my turn in the East, and keep turning, following the movement of the Sun. Although we did not have a compass with us, I could appoint where the South was by knowing the actual time and exact position of the Sun. Afterwards, we could mark out the East and all the other directions, as well. In the course of the day, we had brought firewood twice with Gáspár, despite the way back uphill was very exhausting to do even once. After the second ascend I felt that the back of my knee was swollen and I was already limping. Despite feeling worried about my lower-back pain and hurting knee I did not consider sparing myself. Not in the least! Yet, the doubts arouse in me. I did not feel prepared. After my first turn, I thought I already knew what was awaiting me, though I was also fully aware of the fact that everything was going to be different this time. I knew that since it is January, the daytime is going to be shorter than the night. Hence, the turning seemed to be much harder this time. I was perfectly aware of the fact that my back pain and the swollen knee are only the psycho-somatic signals of the fear I felt as my body’ s attempt to run away from the task. I did not give up, of course. I tried to calm down. I hadn’t eaten for two days, in order not to break off the 24 hour process by the need of the body to defecate. The night before my turn, Avi asked me whether he could come to see me during the turn with his group – about 10 young people whom he usually makes his rituals with. We agreed upon that they can come and see me provided they stay silent and support me with their presence and attention. I knew by then, that they were not the only ones who were going to visit me. Merav, Rina and Adi had also indicated that they wished to join me in my turn for some time, during the day or night.
With Gáspár and Bea we planned to get up at 5 am, go down to the POINT at 6 am, still in the dark and start the turn at 6:40, right at the daybreak. We made fire and went to sleep to the Bedouin lodge. In the morning, we were woken up by my phone’s harp sound ring-tone. Thus, my daughter Sári was present, too. We set off for the desert. The rolling stones kept clattering beneath our feet; a cock continually crowed for day, the shattering holler of the hyenas sounded just like men in rage. Then, suddenly, all fell silent. We arrived to the spot. Gáspár realised, that he had left the automatic shutter of his camera up at the base. Although he had gone straight away to fetch it, I knew he would not make it to the POINT in time.
At 6:40 am I stepped in the circle and turned towards East, I took such a deep breath as if it could be enough for the 24 hours to go. It had started.
6 January 2010
Naturally, everything was very different from what it had been the first time. Perhaps, only the pain in my body was somewhat similar. The whole 24 hour cycle melted into a single wavering flow, which was colour-painted by a few shorter or longer eminent states of mind or inner happenings. Merely a half an hour or so following my start, I sensed that Merav and Rina arrived, and sat on the stony ground about 30 m away behind me, and began a quiet meditation. The first 4 hours passed peacefully, with only physical pain. This was also holding my attention. I was consciously trying to relax the strained muscles of my waist and circulate the vital energy inside me. I slowed down my breathing so that I inhaled only once every minute for quite a while. I was in no need of water or glucose tab. I felt Rina and Merav turn into stone behind me, melting into the desert like tiny hillocks. I only concentrated on my body to endure the 24 hours. Bea announced the exact time every half an hour, and moved the boulder every hour, to signal the exact direction to me, which I can adjust to. It was getting warmer and warmer, and the 20 °C felt good in the winter time. I tried to move my sight very slowly, in line with the speed of the passing time. However, this was not easy. The 1m big circle built up around me consisted of 24 tiny curve-parts of 13cm each. Thus, when looking at my feet, I was supposed to move my sight only 13cm per every hour. Even if I chose to watch the bigger 10m circle, my sight would still move only 1,3m within one hour. This seemed almost impossible for me to map out and follow. Hence, I decided to gaze far away to the edge of sight, following the direction of the signalling stones, where the dried-up, parched hills met the sky. Over there, the distance my eyes should take within an hour would grow to at least 200m, or even a 3000 metre-long way depending on how far the horizon was at the time. Thus, my attention wandered about between my body and the ridgeline of the hills. This slowdown occupied all my thoughts, i.e. blocked them out. There were neither any pictures nor any revelations popping up. There was just the mere presence, the turning itself.
Although I did not hear any particular sounds, there wasn’t Silence. This became ever more apparent to me. I sensed constant noise. Not with my ears, but deep inside me, with every cell of my body. First, I thought, that it’s perhaps me being noisy. Or perhaps my own thoughts are making noise in me. I started an Emptiness meditation. Soon afterwards, all the inner noise disappeared; there was no thought in my mind, only the endless space. And still, there was no Silence. I could not understand that, yet took notice of it. By the fifth hour, however, I had become totally exhausted. Both physically and mentally. I felt that my strength is leaving me. I tried to freshen up by doing Chikong exercises. I repeated the familiar movements several times. After about 30 minutes, the arm movements harmonized with my breathing and I began to feel organized again. Then, to my surprise, my movements started to take an unknown journey of their own. My arm seemed to be moving by itself. I was not directing it. I just let it do what it wanted to do, and followed and watched what I was doing. My arm kept on roving the same route more and more skillfully. It drew a huge circle above my head, as if it was trying to separate and tie together the Sky and the Earth at the same time. Then, I sensed my arm move in front of my body, around my waist, and pet my thighs as if wanting to press something out of me through my legs into the ground. The feeling became stronger with every moment. I could feel the celestial energy assembled in my palm and arms floating into the ground through my spine and legs. It was not me who was doing this, I only let it happen. My arm was in constant movement for about half an hour. My body was like an empty channel that gave way to the power of the universe streaming through it into the earth. However, I was not connected to the Earth as a whole, but merely to the palpable and visible part of the biblical landscape surrounding me, lying directly under my feet. Suddenly, my arm stopped moving, and that was the moment when the first thoughts appeared. I remembered how much energy I had got from the greenery of the woods in Pilis last May, during my first turning. Yet, now I felt that this magical place is not giving but taking from me. I understood that the earth beneath me is incredibly thirsty. Not only due to lack of water. The deserted, dried-up character of the land was rather some kind of analogy on how it craves for clean, supernal energy. At first, it was taking the necessary energy away from me, sucking out life from me. Then, before it would destroy me, it made me move, enhanced my activity. It had taught me to give myself in, and follow what moves the world and thus, moves me, as well. I turned into a means, a necessary channel for flow. Only this way, could I stay on my feet, i.e. survive. My role became very clear to me, and even though this gave me comfort, it did not make the standing easier.
In the sixth hour I could feel that Merav was leaving, heading back home, up the hill.
By the seventh hour, the physical pain had pervaded all my cells. I knew what was still ahead of me. My faith started to weaken, the doubts grew. Does this all make any sense? Am I only trying to prove something to myself or am I really walking on the spiritual trail? Isn’t the obstinacy of enduring the 24 hours only a sign of pride, stubbornness, vanity and mulishness? The intoxicating hope of self-defeat? Wouldn’t the true act be if I dared to give up instead? I couldn’t wait the first 8 hours to be over. I had hoped, that by that time, similarly to my first turning, the mere existence would have become unbearable and I would have to tip over and then the images, revelations, and dissolution would take over at last. The Earth would show its gratitude for all my effort – Yet, this did not happen. At first, I thought, the breakthrough was not coming because I hadn’t been focusing on the Earth as a whole. So, I tried to embrace the entire globe with my attention, to no avail. My hopes turned into expectations, my undertaking changed into a trade good between me and the Earth. I sank into being a vendor. But, you cannot do business with the Earth. For it did not comfort me, or sent me a message, it did not praise me, nor made my mission easier. The fact that it had showered me with wonders, experiences, recognitions a number of times last year in May does not necessarily mean that this is what it has to do always, or that this is its duty, and that I am in the right to ask anything for my acts in return. I realised, that I have to let everything go, including the hope and the desire of gaining new revelations, or enlightenment. I should be able to stand in the middle of the desert with complete selflessness, not wishing for or expecting to get anything in return. Only to be present, in pure being, just like the Earth itself. I do not have to do anything special, nor feel or think right, or puzzle my brains. All I have to do now is to be present in the turn, and be involved in it with my entire being. Do it. Selflessly. And then I had to face the fact that there was still much to do about my Ego. The experience of my previous turn in the Pilis Mountains had showed me the beauty of selfless being. But, for an instant, in fact I believed, or rather I wanted myself to believe that I had managed to free myself from the Ego. Here, however, the timelessness of the stone-clock: a time magnifying –glass, revealed how cunningly I was trying to trick myself. How slyly the ego sneaked back in the course of the time. What I had thought to be humility turned out to be pride, the peddling veiled under selflessness, and my detachment covered under what I called my mission was all but the clever game of my ego. For, only those who do not know what humility, modesty and selflessness mean can be truly humble, meek and modest. Or else, they know, yet they deprive of it and forget about it. What’s more, afterwards you even deprive yourself of deprivation as such, and forget about that, too.
I went on standing, feeling the constant pain in my waist and my legs, which was not getting any better. No dissolution. The Sun was slowly approaching the horizon. It was about 4 o’clock in the afternoon, I was in my 9th hour. The suffering became continuous. New thoughts popped up every minute. I realised, that the pain and anguish will probably stay with me until the daybreak. This time, there will be no relief. Not only because of my expectations, but also due to my former experience. Even if I might not be well-prepared this time, my body, my soul and my spirit are much more trained than the first time. Nevertheless, this did not make it easier for me now. It was only my bearing capacity, which had grown. On the first occasion, I headed toward the turn quite naively and I reached the edge of my own limits relatively soon, after the first 8 hours. Now, however, I knew that this limit will be much farther away. So long as I feel weak, there is still a chance of a sudden redemptive breakdown. But, the more experienced, skilled and trained I get, the later I will reach the dead-point, which I should simply step over afterwards. If I am pushing my limits, then I need a greater fence to build around, too. And that is a hard job. Just as gaining more knowledge doesn’t mean that the cluster of the unknown will decrease, on the contrary, it will just grow. The more I learn, the more I see that which I still do not know of. Hence, the more trained I become, the longer I can endure, and thus push my limits further, beyond the 24 hours, or even the whole life span. And therefore, the prize for the strenuous effort and diligence is not that it becomes easier, but more difficult to do, what’s more, your entire life can turn into suffering. And it most likely will, indeed. So then, what about relief, peace, and happiness? May all the tireless and strenuous effort result in a whole life turning into suffering, with death being the only source of redemption? Is it suffering or redemption? Is truly only one of these possible at the same time? Good or Bad? Yes or No? Is the ‘either/or’ polarity which rules? I am sure, not. Uniting the two is the right way. That’s the task. – Living the suffering and redemption simultaneously, so that these two qualities can dissolve in each other. The goal should not be the liberation from suffering nor reaching redemption. Merely the Acceptance and unresisted Suspension, where no desires or goals exist, any more. There is no longing, and no craving for. It is simply Life itself. What leads up to this is the pure act performed with clear and undefiled engagement. It’s an activity consistent with the way of the world. The Chinese word for non-action or non-doing is wei wu wei. Now, this is the Turning itself. I have come a full circle. The meaning of the Turning is the Turning itself. – Just as the meaning of Life is Life itself.
The sun went down. It’s 5 o’clock.
I have been standing for more than 10 hours. The night is approaching. It is going to be longer this time, not like on Látóhegy. 10 hours in the light, and 14 in the dark. I am striving not to see the task ahead of me, only to be Present. Rina is leaving. Her kids are waiting for her. Tomorrow, another workday begins. Both Merav and Rina had being standing with me for a couple of hours, while they were present. That was a new experience to me. I knew that it was good for them to be standing, joining me, helping and supporting me with the selfless giving of energy. I could feel that they were present without any fears or doubts inside.
Gáspár puts up fire.
The landscape slowly disappears in the dark, only the contours can be visible for a while, and then they fade away, too. Fire, stars, darkness. No Moon. The sound of the blazing fire. At other times, this sound makes the Silence of the world even louder, – not this time. The soundless noise which I had perceived before noon is constantly with me. The wind is getting stronger. We were going to put candles in the place of the signaling stones at night, so that I could still follow the right direction even after dark. However, the wind blew so strongly that even the candles put in a glass jar went out. I cannot see the far-off signaling stones any more, only those around my feet, the tiny ones that we had placed in a 1m circle, and distributed into 24 parts, in accordance with the direction of the sunbeams. Its shape resembles a sun disk, with stone-light-beams. From now on, it’s me who moves the tiny grey stone from one sunbeam to another. 7,5 cm every hour. I squat slowly and softly lift the pebble and relocate it. This gesture turns into a ritual in the course of the night. The crouching and standing up seems to be an enormously big activity compared to the petite movement I make when replacing the stone. The gesture becomes even more accentual because of this. A bit absurd, yet gentle. Ritualistic, but not too theatrical. Soft, yet not mawkish. Painfully slow, yet not cumbersome.
The wind keeps blowing the smoke in my direction. Again. Exactly the same happened in the Pilis Mountains, on my first turn. The fire is just a few meters away from me, facing the slope. With the evening breeze getting colder, the air current starts to float down towards the valley. I can see that it is going to be like this till dawn. The smoke is going to come my way for long hours. I indicate to Gáspár, that this is not going to be ok with me, I will not be able to breathe, my eyes are already sore and brimming with tears. He replaces the fire, with practiced skill.
It’s about 10.00 pm.
I watch the shadows on top of the hills. Probably, it is Avi and his group approaching. Meanwhile, I feel that I am getting tired. I move the extremely miniaturized version of the 48 and 108 Thai chi form. I particularly enjoy making imaginary steps with my motionless legs. I twist all the directions in the form to the one I have to look into now. My hands are drawing the curves in almost invisibly small movements. Yi Jing. Everything takes place within: movement, breathing, curves, circles, lightness, blandness, the alternation of fullness and emptiness, the harmony between up and down, in and out and the ceaseless continuity. But, somehow, there is still no Silence. It’s getting more and more conspicuous. I stop from time to time and stamp with my feet, just like I did in the Pilis.
Before Avi’s group arrives, I see Adi and Noa coming first and sit close by the fire. Meanwhile, I can sense that Avi has arrived with his group and a few meters away from me start to do some kind of practice… A choreography of magical gestures. For at least half an hour. Bea signals the time, and I move the little stone again a bit. I see how Gáspár and Avi talk about something. Then, Gazsi comes to me and asks me quietly, whether Avi and the others could stand around me. I nod. They gather around me in a respectable circle. There are about 10 of them. They repeat the former magic sequence together. Loud breathing accompanies each of their movements. I stand still, in the middle of the circle. I let their energy fill me up. I feel that they are young, enthusiastic, well – intentioned, however, they are not well-prepared yet. Despite this, they give me strength. They stop moving, and stand motionless around me, app for a half an hour. Bea’s voice. I move the stone. Avi with his eyes closed. He attunes himself to me. I can feel how proud he is about being called Master by the youth. Somewhat ambivalent, though not arrogant. Human. Several of the young people seem to be having difficulties with the standing, and obviously suffer from the motionlessness after having stood only for about 10 minutes. After a while, Avi grants release to them and opens his eyes. I bow in a gesture to express my gratitude to them and help them in their leave. Actually, I am sending them away. They roll away. They whisper quietly, and then come back, with some firewood which they throw next to the already collected pile at the fire, and then take their seats by it, opposite me. We spend another hour like this. Slowly, I tend to forget that they are here. I hear Bea’s voice and move the stone a little. I am standing in the direction of the North Star. Over there, there is another axis. The Great Bear constellation and the whole sky-scape turning around it. There is a straight line between me and the North Star. The stars are in a twirl, the Earth is turning. We are geometry. The fire is sparkling. Eventually, Avi’s group stands up and bows in my direction, as if saying goodbye. I bow again. I feel a bit weird, though. There is some kind of respect that encompasses me. I feel it is a role that was put on me. I don’t know what to do about it. This is their story. I am just standing and doing my turn. They leave. Their presence partly helped me out from the introverted state of mind I was in, and made me wake up, which came just in the right time. However, it also disturbed my attention inwards, the natural and simple being, without trying to behave in any way. I felt relieved when they left. Adi and Noa are still sitting by the fire. They were both silent witnesses of this peculiar visit. I was glad that it is only us again. The journey can go on.
Time passes slowly.
My sole hurts, my calf is beginning to feel stiff, I am afraid it will cramp any minute. I start to stamp my feet. I am keeping the beat, left-right, left-right. Later, I double it up. Left-left, right-right. The stone-valley resounds. I look to the right. I can spot the lights of Jericho in the distance, and even farther away, the lights of Jordan. During the day, I had not noticed that there was life over there, too. Well then, it seems like there are things which are not visible during the day, only at night. First, I only turn my sight in that direction. This is where I will be heading at dawn. My body will turn there only 6 hours later. Now, that I am looking into that direction, I see my future, the lights in the night, the redemption that will follow my suffering. I look back in the present direction, and stare at the ground, and at the tiny stone lying at my feet, then up again at the night sky, and the stars. This is Present. Patience. Waiting. Right direction with my entire body. The Now of the present moment has been Future just before a while, and soon it will become Past. Time flies along the curve of the circle made of stones. But, in the very centre of the circle, there is no Past, no Present, nor Future. Time- axis. Here I am standing.
Bea pulls out some red pepper and offers it to me. – Want some? – she asks, perhaps a bit too loudly, now in the dark. – I nod to say I’d like some. When she hands it over, I quietly ask her to whisper when speaking. I bite small pieces of the pepper. It’s fresh, crispy and juicy. The chewing appears to be incredibly loud. The taste seems abnormally intense. The red colour of the pepper is accentuated by the flames of the fire. I am chewing on it for at least half an hour before it’s done. I eat all of it, including the seeds, and the base. I only throw the tiny bit of green stem into the fire. Noa stands up. With her eyes closed, she keeps standing with me for about half an hour. I know that it feels good for her to be standing. It feels good, just as it did with Rina, Merav and Avi. Freely, without any commitment or suffering, peacefully and happily. Later, she sits back close to the fire. It’s cold. Noa and Adi snuggle against it by the fire. Their heads are in the dust, their feet almost touch the flames. They keep rolling about, changing sides. Once it’s their back, then their belly which feels cold. It’s about 4-5 degrees of Celsius. I am not cold. I have dressed up carefully. Adi gave me his cap. I am munching on glucose tabs, which also help keep me warm. The lights of Jericho and Jordan truly linger in front of my eyes: like the mirror of the star-lit sky placed on the Earth’s surface. I move the little stone. It’s 2 am. Gáspár sneaks about in the dark with a video camera. He always turns up somewhere else. I can feel that he is in his element now. The instinct of a hunter -photographer- video maker is getting more and more coming to life in the night desert trembling in the light of the fire. This location is a real goldmine of exciting images. I am already staggering. I feel more and more broken. The exhaustion makes me humble. I only wish to keep standing, stay on my feet, nothing more. I lurch and stagger from time to time, almost falling over. My arms are helplessly flying about, snatching at air, until I gain my balance back again. I still haven’t asked for the stick to lean onto that had been prepared for me. Maybe a bit later, at about 5 or 6 am. Then I realise, that I’ve been making plans. I am trying to figure out how to distribute my energy. Then, all of sudden, I am not thinking any more. I am not able to. Three hours have passed being out of my mind. Still, I manage to move the little stone regularly. I am turning. I am standing. There is no activity anymore, only pure being, without will or intention. Just the way Nature works. One can get used to suffering, too. It hurts so much, that I cannot feel pain anymore.
I ask for the stick, to lean onto. It feels a bit better afterwards. Here I am, standing on Israel land, in the midst of a desert, at the edge of a stone-hill, with a stick in my hand. I bend over it. I gaze into the distance, beyond the scope of the stone-sea waves. Nothing else can be seen by now. The picture is biblical, though not pathetic. There is a rather inexplicable humour in this moment. I feel the weight of 3000 years come down upon me. Yet, the weight is not coming from upwards, but pushing me from the earth beneath me.
It’s six o’clock.
I know that at 6.40 am the 24 hour cycle will be over.
Adi and Noa wake up. They sit up at the edge of the stone-terrace facing the valley and the sunrise, just as I myself am standing. We are quietly waiting for the redemption. My stagger turns into an almost continuous gentle cradle. It is a converted lullaby in motion: a ’wake-song’. Wake-dance. The lights flickering on the clouds make the melody. The shadows cast on the hills are a caress of the daybreak. The morning is here! Wake up! I put the stick down, so that I can fully enjoy the morning standing on my own feet. I did that before, in Pilis, too. It had become a part of the ritual by now. I direct my attention to my body, the landscape, the whole Earth. With my attention I get hold of my body, the landscape the whole Earth. I am not watching anything, yet, I see all.
„It’s 6.40 am”, Bea says.
24 hours have passed. I slowly step out from the circle.
I make a few steps. Noa is smiling. Adi is shaking his head in astonishment. I stroll around for a while, then sit down on a log. I enjoy the view. After about 5 minutes I am back on my feet again. I am unable to sit. I start packing. The others join me. We put out the fire. We pack up our kit and set off for Alon. This is going to be hard. More than half an hour of walking steep uphill with heavy packages on. I pause several times on the way.
I am in the plenty of time. I rest.
A cock crows for day.
The echo of the stone-valley.
I look back at the rocky, hilly desert and see, that I am still down there standing, firmly rooted, forever, it seems.
We returned to the Valley of David in Netiv HaLamed Hei, where, following a short 3 hour sleep, we sat down with Bea and Gáspár to share our very recent and still fresh experience in its coarse state. There were a lot of things that we came to understand only then.
Among the most peculiar ones was the fact that there was never complete Silence, despite there were no sounds. It was totally in contrast with the first One-Day-Turn in the Pilis Mountains, where despite motor-cross riders passing close by me, the silence had been such that it seemed for long hours that the World and Life are taking a break. This time, the Silence did not occur at all. I could feel that here, the surface layer of the Earth has a unique energy field as if the stones transmitted far stronger images of historical and human memory than the effect of the fine vibration of the Earth´s rudimentary trace. Here, the Human-World-Axis has to break through a subsurface rock-layer first, that is besotted with human conflicts and mental concepts. In this sense, the Axis stands for a Well that helps to cleanse this stiff rock-layer with thoughtless state of mind. For only from beneath the disturbed layer, the untouched depth can the Earth send a word. Jerusalem vibrates close by, too. The rocks also store and transmit the vibrations raised by people. What’s more, they are not only “polluted” by the past, but by the present, as well. Although their purification is not impossible, it cannot be done on one single occasion, nor by myself only. Probably, this is the way it is in a lot of other places in the world, too. That was the second time, the second turning.
Although this is not enough for making the ritual of One-Day-Turn completely clear in me, there are some things I see with growing certainty:
- One day, 24 hours. From sunrise to sunrise.
- One turn around my own Axis starting from East. Staying on my feet all along the way, keeping the direction, in the little circle. Movement possible.
- Three circles
- circle: 1m in diameter big circle, divided into 24 parts by tiny stones, following the direction of the sunbeams,
- circle: 10m in diameter circle, divided into 24 parts by bigger rocks or logs hit in the ground.
- circle: the horizon
4 – Wander-stones and wander-storm-lanterns. The helper moves the two wander-stones during the day and the two lanterns at night in shifts, every hour, showing the right direction of the turn in that particular hour.
5- Silence. Nobody speaks. If one has to, then only by whisper.
6 – Fire. The fire is placed between the 1m and 10m circle, and is lit at sunset. It serves the helpers and gives light for the possible night recordings. It is also very important to watch the direction of the wind and prevent the smoke from getting in the way of the Axis, and the turning person.
7 – Stick. You can use a stick as a support, but the last half an hour you should stand on your own.
8 – Helpers. The tasks of the helper(s) include moving the wander-stones and lanterns every hour, putting up and keeping the fire, giving or taking food or clothes, and attendance. The helpers are free to move about.
9 – Visitors. All visitors are allowed to stay at the spot, only if they help and support the person turning with their presence, attention and meditation. They can choose to stand or turn for a few minutes or even hours. They shouldn’t speak. They can take walks in the neighbourhood, though avoiding the line of the turning person’s sight, if possible.