Delhi

**Again with the picture uploading…

Looking down at the traffic flow at night on the streets of Delhi as we ascend in an airplane, I noticed immediately the gross difference between the flow of it here vs. anywhere else I have seen or experienced just due to the sheer volume. From the plane, it looks like starry liquid slowly slipping through the highway bottlenecks, smoothly with no stops or starts. But as I watch, instantly the very recent memory of the constant din of HONK, the pollution and the mode of driving by feeling with many drivers often not using their faculties such as their eyes or the part of the mind that directs physical action creeps in and sends my ethereal experience of it from far above crashing down.

I think yoga must be natural and easy for people that drive in this way. For me, there is so much thinking that happens, that I have to turn off just to get through the Ashtanga sequence. It’s funny the minute I start thinking too much, is the minute my poses fall apart or I may be incapable of doing the pose at all. I have to be plugged into the spiritual connection of feeling and the present that we all share. I don’t think anyone driving in Delhi mentally prepares before doing so; to drive is a natural act if from which awoken to the physical experience of it many more accidents would happen. To be able to capture or direct this energy is the work of those who are spiritually engaged. I have seen glimmers of this awareness in myself. I have no idea of what to do or how to turn the awareness into something practical but I am hoping to illuminate that aspect while I am here…or at least get a start.

When Amy and I were in Jaipur, Manu (our driver) took us to a gem store with only tourists shopping. That was a red flag for me and I immediately turned around, “I am going to rule this place out as a no thank you spot”. Manu encouraged me to just have a look. I looked, disappointed with what I saw. Then a man came out of a small office with one way windows as the walls. He was quick and busy and looked like a kind, helpful man. I still had my skeptical blinders up but I knew I wanted to talk with this man. I went into the office with him where he spent five minutes telling me things I already knew about myself but kind of a proof that he knew me somehow, just by looking at me.

For just shy of $300 (which is a LOT of money in the local currency), he said he would be able to help me, part of which involved creating a pendant that I would wear and also a personal mantra for me to chant. He also said that profits from his work as a medium went to a local organization in support of female education. I decided to pay to play. This was fascinating to me if nothing else. The next day, we came back and I received my purified stone set in three metals and the mantra along with instructions on their use (these things should be kept secret to protect their power). I also received his e-mail to reach out with any follow up.

I hit an emotional and spiritual pitfall during my few days alone in Delhi. In combination with having a small case of “Delhi belly”, my body felt exhausted and I was unable to motivate myself to do yoga or spiritual practice one day. I retreated into my rented room and myself and couldn’t figure out why I was feeling inexplicably down. How could this happen with my yoga and spiritual practices?! I don’t know so I resorted to some R&R with some old habits.

I tried Zomato (successful!) and ordered some Thai food which was pretty good, overly salty. I watched Role Models (a movie I love but have seen many times so that I could do other things at the same time such as writing post cards and making travel plans). These are my default tactics to just chill out when I am in a down place. I am trying to change those old habits and have largely been successful but when I am unable to practice yoga I reach for other methods of coping.

Something that night in Delhi told me to reach out. I composed an e-mail telling of my recent down feelings and attempting to clarify some things. After I sent the e-mail, I felt better. Another thing happened that I found interesting. I started having an intense feeling that I should write down positive practices and thoughts along with negative aspects of my disposition/things I should leave behind. I was to then tear them into individual pieces and keep the positive ones safely and burn the negative ones to be left behind. I had a hard time burning the negative ones and I realized that I cling to these things as a part of my identity and my ego keeps them around. It was as though someone was guiding me to this conclusion as I was going through the actions of this process. I didn’t want to do it but I felt compelled to do it from something external.

I began today with a new sense of conviction. It was another day that I found challenging to get on the mat. My practice was not at it’s peak but I made it through accepting that not every day is going to be the best day or a day of improvement in the practice itself. The papers I burned became things I would no longer do going forward. And I am left with a certainty that the medium at the gem store (name withheld) had somehow communicated to me…through me. What a wild experience. I have the feeling that this relationship is going to be a good one and one that is helpful to my spiritual growth. I am reading a book right now called Light on the Guru and Disciple Relationship. From what I have extracted so far, faith in the Guru with full trust are necessary components of the relationship. The path is rigorous and potentially dangerous but the energy directed in new and positive ways is beautiful just like looking down at cascading light through the streets of Delhi in the dark.

Radical Larder