Here is the next part of Prana (Book 6 of Waldmeer)
In Prana Community:
“How are things going in your community house?” asked Shambhavi.
“Fine, thanks,” said Merlyn.
She wondered why he was asking as he had never enquired about her living arrangements before.
“Do you like it there?” persisted Shambhavi.
“It’s fine,” said Merlyn, “for a single female household.”
“Veronica and I have an empty bungalow behind our house,” said Shambhavi.
Shambhavi and Veronica were one of the few full-time community members who didn’t live at Prana. They owned a five-acre property half-way between Prana and Waldmeer. It was as beautiful as Prana, and likewise situated on a cliff face overlooking the sea.
“The bungalow has been empty for a while,” said Shambhavi, “but we think you would be a good person to go into it, considering you have the dogs and all. Also, you seem to travel to Waldmeer more now and we are closer.”
I’m not sure how enthusiastic Veronica would be about this, thought Merlyn. Shambhavi must have talked her into it. He can be convincing when he puts his mind to it. Oh, well, that’s their affair, not mine. My affair is with life.
“I’ll take it,” said Merlyn gratefully, “thank you.”
“It gets you out of the single female house,” said Shambhavi.
“It does,” said Merlyn. After a pause, she added, “Actually, I don’t consider myself as female or single.”
“There’s not a lot of masculine in you,” said Shambhavi.
“Yes, I am woman who considers herself to be a woman,” said Merlyn, “but I don’t mean identity in that sense.”
“What do you mean then?” asked Shambhavi.
“I mean that when we are a spiritual student, our gender identity is omni-gender,” said Merlyn. “It’s no longer okay to develop the traditional qualities of one of the genders and forget about the rest. We have to be as strong as we are sensitive, as intelligent as we are feeling, and as logical as we are creative. Underneath, or above, our birth-gender, we include it all. I know that isn’t a very romantic idea, but that’s the point. On the spiritual path, romance loses its worth. Romance implies that we need to be completed by another of a certain gender. And if we handle it correctly, we’ll supposedly get what we need. But when we are already complete, life and relationships become a whole different playing field.”
Shambhavi looked like he wasn’t quite ready to give up on the romance idea and changed the direction of the conversation. “If not female then, at least, you are single.”
Not wanting to discuss her supposed new boyfriend, Rybert, Merlyn said, “It’s the same. Single or partnered, on the spiritual path, everyone is both. And neither. Remember how the Bible says, They neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are like God’s angels in Heaven. We are omni-relationship-status as much as we are omni-gender.”
The idea of omni was something that Amira had been speaking to Merlyn about in Ajna Temple. It helped Merlyn to expand her concepts of both gender and relationships. She didn’t tell Shambhavi about Amira. She had come to the conclusion that if Amira wanted to talk to anyone, then she was quite capable of arranging it, herself. Anyway, it was probably more a matter of who was willing to hear Amira than who Amira was willing to talk to.
Merlyn guessed that Shambhavi, who was deep in thought, would be thinking about his own situation; although there were disadvantages to being partnered, there were probably more disadvantages to being single. That, in itself, would not be a new problem for him. However, what would be new was the concept of being neither single nor married, or both at the same time. He probably thought that it sounded like a world of trouble. Merlyn wondered if he was changing his mind about the bungalow offer. Regardless, it seemed best for him to have some idea of what he was letting into his life at close proximity.
Shambhavi started walking towards Prana Hall for the morning yoga classes with Veronica. After a few steps, he turned back and said, “We’ll help you move at the end of the week.”
The following day, in the Wurt Wurt Koort Tearooms:
“You will be much closer to Waldmeer and to here,” said Rybert when Merlyn told him about her impending move to Shambhavi and Veronica’s bungalow.
Merlyn caught Tom’s disapproving look, out of the corner of her eye. He was doing a shift while Rybert was having the morning off. Mind you, Rybert hadn’t gone anywhere and was still fussing around the cafe, until Merlyn made him sit down with her.
“Yes,” said Merlyn, “and, on that note, I have something else to say.”
“Yes,” said Rybert who was listening attentively. He was old enough and intuitive enough to know when something important was about to be said.
“Although, I very much appreciate your offer to save me from the world of singleness,” Merlyn started with a soft smile.
He knew what was coming. Or so he thought.
“The thing is,” continued Merlyn, “you love Amira. Not me.”
That wasn’t quite what Rybert expected. He couldn’t deny it was true. He did love Faith-Amira.
“And so,” said Merlyn with a maturity that Rybert hadn’t seen before, “I think it is best that we graciously abandon our recent attempt to have a closer relationship.”
Merlyn felt it wise not to say anything else and Rybert didn’t quite know what to say. There were many avenues he could go down. What was his love for Faith-Amira? What was he hoping to achieve in his offer of a relationship with Merlyn? Regardless, he knew that Merlyn was right and he appreciated her courage in saying it. He wondered if Merlyn’s new maturity came from Guru Gadubanud’s presence at Prana or from Amira talking to her in Ajna Temple. Whatever it was, he felt both relief and respect. Standing up, he leaned over to her, put his hand on her head, and kissed her forehead.
As Merlyn was leaving, she spotted Tom’s decidedly suspicious and disapproving stare, and said, “Bye, Tom. See you soon.” He huffed off as she added, “Very soon.”