‘The person who studies about love is like the person who studies about the Himalayas by looking at the map of the mountains. The map is not the mountain! And if you start believing in the map, you will go on missing the mountain. If you become too much obsessed with the map, the mountain may be there just in front of you, but still you will not be able to see it.’
If I didn’t read this book of Osho’s, I probably would have freaked out when I travelled to Vienna and Hungary last month. In fact the last-minute decision to visit Anett in Hungary and stay in Vienna alone was more or less under the influence of this book, as I wasn’t planning to go anywhere at the time. But Osho talked about living in the unknown with love and trust, which made me think why not, I should travel as much as possible now that I quit my job. So there I was, gloriously arrived in Vienna airport. Anett and her father picked me up and we drove to Hungary.
1. The arrival
It was mid-autumn. It started raining in Europe. Everywhere was wet and gloomy on the way to Hungary. We entered Hungary passing the scruffy border checkpoints that had been vacant since they started the open border between Hungary and Austria. Although I was exhausted from the 20-hour flight, I was excited to spend some time with Anett’s family and visit Vienna in two days.
To fully experience the unknown, I didn’t do much research about Vienna, especially the weather! By the time we went back to Vienna, it was still gloomy everywhere. We passed Leopoldstadt, crossed the river to MuseumQuartier where our hotel was. Anett marveled at the elegance of the city. I am more of a sunshine person. The lack of colour vibrancy from sunlight put me down a bit. I quietly agreed with Anett but wondered how can myself see beauty in this poorly-lit city.
But the interior of our hotel room surprisingly brightened up my mood! First it was the floor-to-ceiling windows that revealed a panoramic view of Spittelberg. There were goldenish, white palaces everywhere! Our room was decorated with colourful furniture, design books, oh and even hola hoops! The wall against our bed head was painted with some circus characters doing fire breathing on blue background. How wonderful was this place, we kept telling each other. We settled in happily, went for a walk to Gumpendorfer Straße through MuseumQuartier. It was Sunday night. Everything was closed but we didn’t mind. It was romantic to hold hands and walk in such quiet, cold and foreign streets.
2. A ghostly dream
But during the night came the most interesting experience in my life. Now I think back, it could be my unconscious interpretation of Vienna – mysterious, dark, authoritative. But at the time, I thought I saw a ghost in our room, even though it was just a dream! People like me who remembers dreams are probably often perplexed by the confusion between dreams and reality. In my dream that night, Anett told me look, there is a ghost. I looked at it. It was a floaty round shadow in our room. Quite distant from us. It was floating on the same spot. Harmlessly. What it did was really, just floating. So if it was a ghost, it must be a good ghost.
Growing up watching Chinese ghost movies (and believing in them, so gullible!), it was hard not to acknowledge that it WAS a ghost and shit my pants. But in my dream I wasn’t frighted. In my dream I thought about Osho’s writings, that our world is full of unknowns and being courageous to experience the unknowns must be the way of living. In my dream I was also amazed as I had never encountered anything like this before.
3. Half waking up
But then my consciousness woke me up. Yet in between being asleep and awake, I experienced the heaviest invisible weight on me that I became temporarily paralysed. It might be only a few seconds, but felt like a long time. I huddled up more and more as a protection to get rid of the force upon me but it was in vain. Instead the pressure became stronger and stronger. It was till I decided to open up my limbs, the pressure started to disappear and I fell asleep again.
That morning I woke up, I calmly told Anett about this ghostly dream. She said she couldn’t see anything. We pulled the curtain aside to let the sunshine energise our room. It was a lovely sunny day. We had classic German breakfast, saw Egon Schiele’s exhibition at Leopold Museum, walked back to our hotel through some quiet back streets. Anett Skyped her mum. I was busy taking selfies with the fire breathing clown on the wall. We were waiting to check in to the Airbnb flat I rented for myself.
Coming up next:
Strange sounds in the Airbnb flat and jumping to the mysterious trains back to Hungary.
Join my mailing list below to keep in touch.