Day sixteen: Intermediate

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Woke up at 5:45 from intense dreams of women I knew, a man­sion in the hills, down­town Beirut dark and desert­ed, duplic­i­ty, coitus inter­rup­tus, phone calls, and say­ing the wrong name. Meditated for 20 min­utes at sat­sang and now my mind is clear.

Ananda and I did the Universal Prayer in Hebrew and Arabic. “If two peo­ple can do it, why can’t the world?” asked Swami Maha-Devananda.

Day six­teen was hot.

Morning satsang

I sat on the right side of Shiva Hall and it was dis­ori­ent­ing.

Ananda and I recite the Universal Prayer next to Swami Mahadev.

My first inter­me­di­ate yoga class today. Instructor: “Now bring your aware­ness to your aaarms, bring them for­ward, and slooow­ly squaaat down into savasana.” Students: “Crack! Crack! Crack! Crack!!” Hearing those joints crack in uni­son for final relax­ation is one of the joys of our morn­ing yoga class.

Health Hut cha­p­ati and hum­mus instead of lunch. Tsering on duty today (“Meedo I love the tat­too on your leg! I noticed it at asana class and could not take my eyes off it!”).

Ah Tsering, the feel­ing is mutu­al.

Afterwards Corinne and I went for a walk to the lake (“School pen?” the kids keep ask­ing us. What on earth does that mean? Leave me a com­ment if you know.) Took us about half an hour to buy a bot­tle of water because the guy kept try­ing to sell us two-year-old apple cider and warm Coca Cola.

Corinne and I pass an ele­men­tary school on our way to the lake.

All the chil­dren we met just loved hav­ing their pho­to tak­en.

He took his time con­firm­ing his apple cider was two years out of date.

Kerala has sev­er­al major wildlife sanc­tu­ar­ies.

This fam­i­ly ran a fruit stand by the side of the road.

Also India, the cows moo and the ducks quack.

Fruit in Kerala is yum­my, but maybe not this water­mel­on.

We passed a few ad-hoc hous­es on our way.

We could hear music, the clanks of pots and pans, and lions in the dis­tance.

Yoga shows the way.” — Swami Sivananda.

Corinne’s coconut is prepped for drink­ing.

Afternoon yoga class — our first “offi­cial” inter­me­di­ate — was by the lake.

It
felt
amaz­ing.

I need to find my bal­ance for the crow and the head­stand — I’m very close.

At the Boutique I did an extra bit of kar­ma yoga by sell­ing a (high­ly over­priced) 400 rupee book mis-labeled at 195 rupees for that price. Was the good or bad? Ethical conun­drum. Now I’m wait­ing for sat­sang to begin — all show­ered and clean-shaven, with a fresh pair of flip flops marked みど (Meedo in Japanese). I won­der if the old ones will ever turn up again? (Met Cora, very nice girl from Ireland, this morn­ing and intro­duced her to Corinne and Chrissy in the after­noon. Today is Chrissy’s last day! Sob, sob. :( ) I like my horse­hair pil­low — going to try it dur­ing med­i­ta­tion to see if my cross-legged pos­ture gets more com­fort­able.

Chrissy has her last after­noon tea.

Power fail­ure! It’s pitch dark haha­ha.

OK, sat­sang time!…

… So, I sat still with eyes closed for 30 min­utes — but was the far­thest I’ve been yet from a med­i­ta­tive state. The pil­low helped redis­trib­ute my weight — and con­se­quent­ly the pain — from my legs to my low­er back. I think I was just too aware of my sur­round­ings, hav­ing sat o the right side of the Hall rather than the left side as I’ve always done so far. There’s appar­ent­ly some truth in being con­sis­tent with when and where one med­i­tates, at least dur­ing the ear­ly stages.

This evening Nataraj sang some addi­tion­al lines in English dur­ing the dai­ly chant “How can you expect real shan­ti if you waste your time in cards and cin­e­mas?”

Hmmm??

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