Sunday, March 1, 2009
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Sitting in Gokarna, after having a rough evening of vomiting. I drank some cold-pressed sesame oil before going to sleep in my beach hut and woke up feeling very ill. I studied Ayurveda with a doctor last week, who explained to me that I have too much Vata and that I need to take in a lot of sesame oil or ghee. So after eating muesli and chatting with my Brazilian friend on the beach, I downed the oil like a shot of tequila. Not so good...
I've made it down to Southern India and I'm surrounded by hash and hippies. Lovely beaches, with lovely people, but I'm not sure what to do with myself. It's too hot during the day to lie on the beach and at night everyone is so stoned that one sentence out of any one's mouth takes twenty minutes to complete. I'm not sure how long I'll stay. I'm thinking of going back North and attempting to revisit the orphanage that I was supposed to be staying at during the month of February. Well, actually I thought it was going to be a Hospital, but as this is India, the Hospital has been closed and I was placed in a orphanage with 55 children, most of them with disabilities. I was initially disappointed, because I wanted nursing experience, but I decided I'd stay and play with the children, until I fell ill and thought I had malaria...I love India...To be continued...xoxo
Thursday, February 12, 2009
After putting my belongings in my room, I made my way back to the dining hall where we were given the spiel on the Vipassana course. At 8pm that night noble silence was to begin, meaning no verbal or nonverbal communication for the next 9 days. After a long talk in both Hindi and English, we were brought to the mediation or Dhamma hall, where we were assigned a cushion to be used for the next 10 days. Because this cushion would become our home, a perfect imprint of our arses would form from the excruciating long periods of sitting. Being a old student I was placed in the front row, next to the French girl, directly in front of the assistant teacher, who sits on a raised seat and faces the students to make sure they're not sleeping or misbehaving. We sat on our cushions with closed eyes, while listening to Goenkaj chant and give meditation directions over audio cassette. After vowing not to kill, lie, harm others, participate in sexual misconduct, or take any intoxicants for the next 10 days, we were allowed to "take rest." At 9pm in complete silence, me and 15 other female students made our way back to our rooms under a smoggy star lit night. I climbed into my rock-hard bed exhausted from the days travels and fell into a deep sleep.
Day 1: I was awoken at 4am, to the sound of a gong heard over a loud speaker. I found myself spun up in my mosquito netting like a helpless insect. Within a couple of minutes a small tea bell was heard at my door. I thought I'd ignore it, I didn't have to be in the Dhamma hall until 4:30am and all I needed was to roll out of bed and slip on my shoes. But the ringing of the bell did not go away. Irritated, I finally turned on my light. Immediately the ringing subsided. Wonderful, I thought to myself, those serving the course are bell Nazis. I slowly moved to the bathroom. With puffy, grainy, red eyes, I looked at myself in the mirror and splashed some cold water on my face. Fuck, I said to myself, I had forgotten how painful it was to wake up this early. At 4:25am tired as all hell, me and 15 other students made our way back to the Dhamma hall under a smoggy star lit sky to begin our morning meditation on our bright blue cushions. With closed eyes, I sat kneeling on my blow-up-beach-ball I brought from home and began focusing my attention, on the area at the entrance of my nose. Within a minute, my mind wandered off and I was imaging leaning forward on my forearms and doing a handstand. Wait, shit, I'm supposed to be focusing my attention on the area at the entrance of the nose, I would remind myself. Again my mind would wander off to Lala land and again I'd bring my attention back to the entrance of my nose. This maddening interaction went on for two hours, until the breakfast gong rang. Me and 15 other students silently got up from our cushions and slowly walked to the dining hall. I must be crazy, I thought to myself. I'm in India and I'm spending it focusing on the area at the entrance of my nose, while kneeling on a cushion for 10 hours a day...I love Vipassana...xoxo...To be continued...
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Monday, February 9, 2009
This is why I have decided to seek some solitude from all humans, except for a Ayurvedic doctor who is trying to get my health in order. I will a have a few days to park my arse at this computer and catch up on my writing. So getting back to the train ride from Delhi to the Vipassana Meditation Center...
By the time we got to my stop, I'd had to place my backpack up above to make room for the people sitting on my lap. Local trains, I was coming to find out was where you truly experience the overpopulation of India. You are sat on, breathed on, coughed on, and farted on. Every time the train comes to a stop, people embrace themselves for a insane fight, of pushing and shoving. Just knowing that in less than five hours I would sitting and meditating in silence was comforting enough, allowing me not to care that I could barely breathe, that my head was tweaked to the left and that I had three people with bad body odor sitting in my lap. So when we got to my stop, I happily shoved and pushed my way out of the train doors. I was escorted to the "bus stop," by a puzzled Indian boy, who was unsure of my reasons for coming to this village, as it never gets foreign visitors. I sat down at the bus stop and within a couple of minutes I was completely surrounded by forty or so Indian boys and men, who found it necessary to stand and stare at me. I now fully understand how it feels to be a caged animal on display and it is rather uncomfortable. I sat there unsure what to do with myself, so I rummaged through my things, until a "Indian peace officer" came over to see what the commotion was all about. He peered over the circle of men to see me helplessly sitting in the center, too unsure of myself to do anything. He took his large stick and slammed it against the ground, yelled something in Hindi and the boys and men scrambled in every direction, instead viewing me from afar. What the fuck is wrong with these people, I thought to myself, have they no manners?
One guy remained sitting next to me, as he too was waiting for the bus to Sohne. I stopped acting busy and asked him when the bus would come. I was not surprised when he informed that there is no bus schedule and that the bus should be coming within the next couple of hours. Awesome. I sighed and sat cross legged and closed my eyes and started observing my respiration's, while waiting for a bus that no one was sure would even arrive....I love India...To be continued...xoxo
Saturday, January 3, 2009
Except for my pastie pale white skin and my prominent Roman nose, I could be mistaken for a Indian. I can be seen carrying a load of dirty mediation cushion covers on top of my head, with a belly the size of 5 month pregnant lady. Yes, I eat too much rice and chapatis (small circular flat bread) and only sit and meditate. Good thing I'm beginning to understand the truth of impermanence, otherwise, I would have a difficult time coming to terms that I've gained weight in India, instead of losing weight. I'm on a search for a tape worm. I guess Holy water, does not come equipped with worms, as I had thought. Getting back to Delhi...
After my short nap in my $6 crap hotel, I had to walk through the madness of the main bazaar and make my way to the train station. I got to the train station and stood in one of the million different lines. Men were cutting right in front of me. As I stood there about to go into a tangent, I realized that I was in the wrong line. Males and females are segregated. That's right I thought, this is India. I made my way to the line that read "LADIES." I purchased my local train ticket and was told to go to another line to find out which platform the train would be arriving on. This simple task ended up requiring going up and down flights of stairs, talking to numerous rude, unfriendly people, until I was finally told to go platform 4 or 5. Interesting I thought, no one was sure where or when the train would be arriving. I ended up waiting at platform 5 for an hour or so finally asking a newspaper seller if he knew which train would be going to Ballagarph. He shook his head "no." I finally sat down, without a trace of anger, realizing I had once no control over the situation, therefore, it would do me no good getting upset. At that moment the newspaper guy pointed at a train arriving on platform 2 and told me that was my train. Kind thanks were given and I sprinted up the stairs and down to the other platform, just in time, as the train barely came to complete stop before taking off again. The train was incredibly crowded and everyone stared at me as I jumped through the door. I was the only foreigner. Two very nice school aged boys offered me their seat. Perspiring buckets, I thanked them kindly and sat down with my huge backpack sitting on my lap, blocking the view of the million dark eyes staring directly at me. Madness I thought. How does anything get done in this country..I love India...xoxo...to be continued...
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
After stopping 20 times at Indian rest stops, the bus arrived in Delhi at 5am. With a severe headache and sore throat, I pondered what I should next. Knowing that after stepping one foot off the bus, I would be attacked by touts and savages, I grabbed onto the Westerner I saw nearly get run over by the large black cow. His name was Paul and he was from the U.K. We also met a Austrian hotel owner named Wolf. We decided to share a auto rickshaw to Paharganj or otherwise known as the biggest shit hole in Delhi, where we could find a cheap crack hotel to rest our heads. I was going to take a train later on the same day to a Vipassana Mediation center outside of Delhi, but did not want to sit and get hassled at the train station for hours on end. I was already feeling extremely cranky and on the verge of shouting profanity at people, so I was willing to pay $6 for a 5 hour stay in a crap hotel. We got to Paharganj, while it was still dark out and walked down the feces covered streets of the Main Bazaar, trying to locate a cheap hotel. After stepping in a few pile of shit, we found a windowless hotel and I bid my two friends farewells. Before retreating to my room, Wolf offered me work as a Yoga instructor at his beach bungalow Hotel in Goa. Only problem is, I don't know how to teach yoga. While lying on my firm mattress, my mind began scheming. Maybe I could pull this yoga teaching thing off. We could perform the one yoga position I know well. I could tell my students, "Downward dog all hour folks..." ...I love India...to be continued...xoxo