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.

Ananda takes a break with Corinne’s Fisk.

One morn­ing she saw the head­line “Lebanese Woman Fights for Her Life at Israeli Hospital.” Apparently Israeli sol­diers shot the 70-year-old woman near the bor­der after mis­tak­ing her for a gueril­la. So upon read­ing the head­line Ananda baked an apple and nut cake and dashed to the hos­pi­tal.

The woman was uncon­scious in the ICU, so Ananda left the cake by her bed­side with a note that read “Love brings love.”

As Ananda tells me this sto­ry Tsering comes over to have a look at my pho­tos but Ananda shoos her off. I give her the cam­era any­way telling Ananda to be kind to my favorite girl at the ashram. Tsering turns all red as she scam­pers off with the cam­era.

Ananda con­tin­ued her sto­ry: The fol­low­ing morn­ing the woman was already awake but in severe pain so Ananda grabbed her and yelled “Idhaki!” — “smile” in Arabic — over and over until she did.

The next day, Ananda said, the woman was moved out of the ICU.

Today’s lec­ture was appro­pri­ate­ly enti­tled “Positive Thinking,” which Nataraj explained beau­ti­ful­ly while refer­ring to his own past going through unhap­pi­ness, a dys­func­tion­al rela­tion­ship, and a career as a med­ical doc­tor to find con­tent­ment and peace.

This ini­ti­at­ed a debate: If true hap­pi­ness lies with­in, why ever do any­thing? Ego sep­a­rates us from the world. “Who am I? Am I my name? Am I my par­ents’ child? My country’s cit­i­zen? A mem­ber of my com­mu­ni­ty? My body?” We use all these notions to define our­selves, yet none of them suf­fice.

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose,
By any oth­er name would smell as sweet.
— Romeo and Juliet, ACT II, Scene ii.

Yoga class brought with it new sur­pris­es: I can do the plow now (albeit very ungrace­ful­ly) and can almost do the bow and crow. We also did a few prepa­ra­tion exer­cis­es for the head­stand. It’s com­ing!

In the evening Corinne and I talked about our busi­ness plan then Chrissy joined us. I had mues­li, fruit, and warm milk while some guys at the next table played the gui­tar.

At sat­sang I med­i­tat­ed for about 25 min­utes, and felt amaz­ing. Then they showed Messages from Water. Scold rice, and it will turn bad. Corinne and I decid­ed to try it when we get home.

Om out.

P.S. My glass­es got stepped on at the after­noon yoga class. Bye bye Lindbergs! :(

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