Yesterday, Vishva held out a little bottle of pills and shook them over and over again, giggling. Vishvaji giggles a lot, I think he's the happiest and most centered person I've ever met. He easily commands a room but lightens the atmosphere with just a grin.
Anyway, the pills.
"Two things is happening when peoples they come to India. Either things gets very exciting, lots of fun trips to bathroom. Or no excitement for days. Most peoples experience this sometime when get to India. These pills they fix the non-excitement. You come, we talk, if you need less excitement in your life. I pass these around you take."
The students here have formed a "C" team and a "D" team.
Take from that what you will.
On another fun bodily function/fluid note, this morning, at 6 am in the glorious morning, my nostrils were cleaned with a neti pot. This involves taking a specially designed pot, filling it with lukewarm water and Himalayan rock salt, and running this through both sides of your nose. It was weirdly satisfying. Weirdly. I can't upload picture, but just google image "jal neti" there's lot of quality images that give the general idea.
Honestly my breathing has never felt so clean. Also, because we dried our noses and then rubbed the inside with ghee, everything today has kind of smelled like popcorn butter. Which has been wonderful.
I've been thinking about it, and I'm not sure I've every really felt this healthy. I haven't been here long, keep in mind but in the last 10 days no alcohol, drugs of any kind (including caffeine), nothing but wholesome vegetarian meals have passed these lips.
It's strange to me how little I really miss from home.
My creature comforts here are: my bowl, my plate, my cup, my spoon. I have a blanket, a pillow, and a key to lock my room. All I've needed to bathe is a bucket and a small cup.
I have clean water to drink.
My yoga mat acts as my meditation cushion, my desk, my chair, and of course, my asana floor.
A few days ago, two of my three pairs of pants got pretty mouldy from me accidentally leaving them in the rain. I have found, however, that the third pair of pants is more than sufficient at clothing my bottom half. Also it's a wonderfully lazy way to live when the pants act as both pajama pants and day pants. I find it saves up a lot of the useful time I was wasting on putting on/taking off pants.
The other day at breakfast, a bit of honey nearly put the students here wet our pants (number one this time) with excitement.
When I look at it, the short time I've been here has shown me the most austere lifestyle that I've yet been exposed to. Lots of the things that I left at home aren't here. I just can't remember, really, what those things were needed for.
Sometimes, I feel a little bit silly.
Here we are, perched contemplatively at the foot of the Himalayas, dissecting yoga and purpose and better living. We debate and lecture over finding our paths and finding ourselves.
Those of us perched were each able to buy both a plane ticket to India and to pay for this teacher training.
We each have a closet full of clothes waiting for us back home.
Surrounding this ashram are people who cannot even imagine ever leaving Rishikesh, much less India. Surrounding this ashram are people who have one everyday outfit and one festival sari.
Hence, I feel silly.
I'm trying to remember that this ashram was built to serve as a sanctuary for introspection. And inevitably, part of introspection requires a selfishness, and a turning a way from the world. I came to this ashram to learn about me. Not surprisingly, turns out that there's a hell of a lot more here to learn about.
Socioeconomic problems, sanitation problems, the incredible differences in wealth. The world, as it turns out, is a very big place with lots and lots of unfairness. Duh, you say. I know, but give me this time to realize how very naive I have been.
I am so ridiculously priviledged, even by Western standards. I have the luxury of taking an entire month off to go learn about a rather esoteric lifestyle and philosophy in a country on the other side of the world.
For the first time ever, I'm really starting to believe that there should be a balance. Those with priviledge need to not only find contentment in what they do but also have a responsibility to try and reflect that contentment out onto others.
Let me clarify. Sometimes I think we associate being socially responsible with personal sacrifice--we all need to join the Peace Corps or volunteer or donate or whatever. But really, maybe there are small things that we can do that contribute that really take nothing away from us. Individuals are not going to feed the world, or save the environment, or stop bad people from doing bad things.
In yogic philosophy, there is the concept of dharma. From what I understand, this is the idea that we each have a specific niche in the world that we best fit in. It's not our destiny or our fate, really, but just a place where we find our Selves comfortably settled in. Like, for my sciency people out there, the place where all your entropy is lowest. A place, a job, a mindset where you energy is the calmest and most removed from its normally chaotic state.
Once you find your dharma, you kind of automatically are giving back. Think of the most content, most centered people you know. Doesn't it just make you feel better to be around them? They don't even have to do anything, really other than be their very own Selves.
I'm not sure where I'm going with this, but I'm pretty sure I'm taking a sharp veer into Idealistic Youthton. Population me.
...can you be a cynic and an idealist by the way?
Is this place just getting to me?