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!

Sivananda Nama Om Jaya Gurudev
Om Guru Jaya Guru Devaya
Vishnu Swami Nama Om Jaya Gurudev
Om Guru Jaya Guru Devaya.

Swami Mahadev is talk­ing about Naya Yoga, the study of sound, and how the 7 tones of the octave cor­re­spond to the 7 chakras of the body. My body aches today! That yoga is get­ting in deep. The morn­ing class felt great — but the three pos­tures crow, bow, and head­stand still elude me.

New peo­ple I’ve met include Katherine (com­mu­ni­ty work­er from London who lived in Japan) and Klara (artist from Sweden now liv­ing in Shanghai).

Where do you live?” “In the snow.” — French woman sit­ting behind me, mean­ing The Alps.

Diet for a New America” — nar­rat­ed by the son of the founder of Baskin Robbins. We watched that in class this after­noon and it recon­firmed my lack of appetite for meat. Yuck. The most dis­turb­ing scene was “debeaking” — a tiny bird’s beak is stuck into a tree bark and snapped off — the poor thing clos­es its eyes as it hap­pens.

I’m at the Health Hut with Corinne and I can hear the 6 p.m. pre-din­ner chant­i­ng in the dis­tance (“Hare Krishna, Hare Rama”). Even though we’ve been skip­ping din­ner I’m hav­ing a Pavlovian response to the chant­i­ng and can taste cur­ry on my tongue.

I’m on page 209 of White Tiger and it’s get­ting pret­ty good.

Offscreen Corinne, dogeared book, and blur­ry fruit bowl join me at the Health Hut.

8 p.m. Missing sat­sang tonight. The “sat­sang police” comes into my dorm: “Om, med­i­ta­tion time.” I lie: “Feeling sick.” (It’s not strict­ly true but I do need to give my mus­cles and ten­dons a rest.) “Om, it’s a strict pro­gram every­one must attend,” he says. “I know but I took some med­i­cine…” (I rat­tle my med­i­cine case, which con­tains the pills I take every night any­way, though none are strict­ly for mus­cle and ten­don pains.) “… and will sleep in five min­utes.” (Well maybe I’ll sleep five min­utes after I fin­ish read­ing my book.) “Om, OK,” he says grim­ly and walks off. I feel guilty. Oh, well. Om, om, om. There I feel a lit­tle bet­ter.

I had a nice chat with Polly ear­li­er — “I’m gonna force my emails down your throat!” she promised — and she told me how she and her friends swim around the guard out­side the Ashram to get to the vil­lage (we’re not allowed there because appar­ent­ly we attract “deal­ers of ille­gal sub­stances.”)

I also ran into Saida for the sec­ond time today (the first time she had bindis around her eyes). “Bonjour Meedo!” :)

This is all in reverse. Backing up fur­ther, I had fruit again at the Health Hut with Corinne, Chrissy, and Esta. John and Susan left today (Susan gave me a warm hug “See you in Beirut!”). Awe…

OK, White Tiger time! Om, out.

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