Day eight: Happiness

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Blue is a dom­i­nant col­or in Hindu art, as seen at the main tem­ple.

If a milk­shake was blue, it would be this col­or.” — Chrissy on her yoga mat at morn­ing sat­sang.

There is some­thing good even in seem­ing fail­ure.” — Swami Sivananda.

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.

So, neti! Yes, salt water went up one nos­tril and came out the oth­er. Feels great. Flip flops show up out­side Shiva Hall — I keep them there and wait and see. Ananda now calls me “Sweety” because yes­ter­day I stopped respond­ing to her gener­ic “Hey! Karma yogi!”

Alistair tells me that when Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World” played at his wed­ding his moth­er cried because it’s the same song that play­er at her sister’s funer­al. He thinks it might be the best song ever writ­ten. I agree.

Having tea out­side Shiva Hall I notice my flip-flops are not there any­more — the mys­tery con­tin­ues…

Saida — like the city — from Amsterdam (pret­ty girl! — Dutch mom, Moroccan dad) has an Olympus E-520 that just won’t focus! Let’s have a look…

I believe there’s a dif­fer­ence between relax­ation and diver­sion, as explained by ashram direc­tor Nataraj — in fact I’ve been enjoy­ing his lec­tures quite a bit. He is assured, clear and pleas­ant. It feels strange to hear him men­tion watch­ing movies, meet­ing friends, and going to bars as exam­ples of diver­sion — all those things seem worlds away. He also explains that (iron­i­cal­ly) Ananda means “uncon­di­tion­al bliss.”

Happiness does not lie in a lake or sun­rise or music or book or friend. It lies with­in us — like a dog chew­ing a bone bites into its own gums and enjoys the taste of its own blood, all the time think­ing it is com­ing from the bone. Therefore I am the source of my own hap­pi­ness, and the most unfair expec­ta­tion to have of some­one is “make me hap­py.”

So I raise the obser­va­tion to Nataraj: “I can­not expect the out­side world to make me hap­py but I can expect it to dis­rupt my hap­pi­ness.” He answers that yoga teach­es us to be to the world what a lily leaf is to a pond: it floats on it but does not get wet by it. Water drops just slide off.

All pain is based in the past and the future. If you let go of both, you let go of pain.” — Nataraj.

Corinne often says “The past is gone. The future is not yet. The present is a gift.” I bring this up in class, mak­ing sure to men­tion that I think it is very corny (Sorry Corinne! I love you any­way.) and that I dis­agree with the third part, for the present is what we cre­ate. Is the present this class, this week, my stay at this ashram, this life? Nataraj believes the present is a con­stant moment of the Now — it is a gift in the sense that it excites and fills us with antic­i­pa­tion — not know­ing what to expect. “In that case, stand­ing in a queue can be a fas­ci­nat­ing expe­ri­ence,” he adds.

Someone behind me agrees with, “Now is like writ­ing in water.” I couldn’t agree more.

On a more mun­dane note, I’m run­ning out of fresh clothes and am pro­cras­ti­nat­ing doing laun­dry — I guess my self-dis­ci­pline has not extend­ed as far as house­hold chores yet.

Chrissy bright­ens my day with her draw­ings.

At the Health Hut (pret­ty event­ful tonight) I write up a busi­ness plan with Corinne, talk to Chrissy about how only light can ban­ish dark­ness, meet Esta (glob­al beat/electronic DJ from Amsterdam) and have a won­der­ful­ly sooth­ing, life-enrich­ing chat with Tsering (while blush­ing pro­fuse­ly no doubt). There she is right now as I write this in my jour­nal (a gift from Sooly), sit­ting cross-legged at sat­sang, in the mid­dle of the aisle right by the entrance to the hall, not chant­i­ng like every­one else, but pray­ing silent­ly. I won­der what lies behind that bright smile and those deep eyes that she has “many rea­sons to leave, but even more rea­sons to stay.”

I con­tin­ue to won­der as the Swami con­tin­ues to chant like he’s in a Yosti band (to quote Esta — she’d explain it bet­ter than I can). Meanwhile, Stefan (hang-glid­ing instruc­tor from Germany) has not even flinched for almost an hour (he asked me to “wake him up” from his med­i­ta­tion — 5 min­utes to go).

Corinne and I have cho­sen this to be a fruit-only day — we did have some spicy hum­mus at the Health Hut tough, but the rest was just fruit.

A Japanese girl’s birth­day — the Japanese group get up on stage and sing her Happy Birthday in Japanese, in English “Happy bass­day tsu yu!” Love it.

Om out.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Sooly April 15, 2010 at 11:16 am

Am so glad that gift helped ... ;)
Keep it up Meedz!


Meedo Taha April 15, 2010 at 4:12 pm

I ripped it to shreds! It's now aged... just like me. I love it.


sooly April 16, 2010 at 1:40 pm

Do you want another one? :)


sooly April 16, 2010 at 10:40 am

Do you want another one? :)


Meedo April 16, 2010 at 10:41 am

It's not full yet but yes I do!


Meedo April 16, 2010 at 1:41 pm

It's not full yet but yes I do!


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