India

Day seven: Birthday

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My birth­day (appar­ent­ly — so Corinne says) starts with a morn­ing walk to the lake, where we chant to the sun­rise. I also run into Tsering by the water cool­er and we make a wish on an eye­lash I pick off her fore­head. She gives me a nice warm hug as she leaves to spend the day in the vil­lage.

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Day eight: Happiness

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Swami Mahadev just quot­ed Edith Piaf’s “La Vie en Rose” as he repeats that life is not beau­ti­ful, life is not mis­er­able, life is the mood you wake up with in the morn­ing. It is what it is.

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Day nine: “Idhaki!”

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Today I had the best lunch yet — yel­low rice (the first rice I eat in a week) with some toma­to sauce and cur­ry made with Keralan veg­eta­bles. Karma yoga was busi­ness as usu­al but after that Ananda asked me to join her at the Health Hut to tell me the sto­ry of how she saved a Lebanese woman’s life dur­ing the 2006 Lebanese/Israeli con­flict.

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Day ten: Marmite

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Headstand Day (!) start­ed with a thir­ty-minute med­i­ta­tion ses­sion (yes!), which was relax­ing but did not go as deep under as yes­ter­day. Then was yoga class. I offered myself up as a guinea pig to demon­strate the head­stand and I did it (!) with sup­port (lit­er­al­ly) from the instruc­tor.

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Day eleven: Fruit

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I’m cov­ered with insect bites this morn­ing, so can only sit still and med­i­tate for a few min­utes with­out being over­come by the irre­sistible urge to itch. Anyway I expect to have these ini­tial ups and downs. Today (Thursday) is the day of the guru. It’ll be a good one. Guru bha­jans galore!

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Day twelve: Shivaratri

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I need to work on my cross-legged sit­ting posi­tion — it feels like I’m not prop­er­ly bal­anced and tends to quiver when I hold it for a long time. This is my biggest obsta­cle to med­i­ta­tion. This morn­ing at sat­sang I could only do it for 5 min­utes before com­plete­ly los­ing my con­cen­tra­tion.

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