Sunday, May 24, 2009

2009 05 24 Sunday.

2009 05 24 Sunday.

I set my watch for 5:30am but was wide awake around 4:50am so I got up in the darkness and did the 108 Names of Amma and then some silent meditation. Then I went to the big hall in time for the usual singing of the Mahay Shasura Mardini song which usually begins around 5:45am. Then we all had our 6am cup of chai. Delicious!

While waiting for the elevator, I had another nice talk with Ramesh. He's been here a long time and has had lots of talks with Amma. I asked him about the best approach to asking Amma a question. Should we just hold the question in our minds? Or is it better if we actively try to get an answer directly from Amma? Ramesh said that its better to ask Amma directly if we can. Amma says that we're all Her children and its OK and natural for children to pester their mother with questions. Amma says its the same for us as Her devotees. Ramesh said that Amma will sometimes pretend to be frustrated with our questions, but that's just Her way of testing our faith, and she does that only when were ready for the test. Ramesh said that if we have an important question and don't have access to Amma, we can write our question down and then do the 108 Names followed by the 1,000 Names (verse or stotram). Ramesh said that Amma will often respond in a dream or some other way. Ramesh used to work very hard at his teaching job at Amma's University, but Amma told him to take a sadhana sabbatical. Cool.

If I'm smart, I'll use Ramesh as one of my main role models for being a good Amma devotee and sadhak. He seems to really embodies the gentleness, discipline and discerning mind that Amma wants us to cultivate.

I came back to my room and did some chanting, IAM, bhajans and meditation till 9am breakfast (feels really wonderful to have time for extended sadhana sessions). After breakfast I reported for seva (volunteer work) at 10am at the recycling center. The work consists of going through bins of stinking trash and sorting everything in great detail. They separate good paper, string, glass, metal, hard plastics, compostable items, wood, resellable items, etc, etc.

After all the sorting was done we had some extra seva to take all the old wood and coconut shells over to the kitchen for burning. The old coconut shells had been sitting in a big pile for a long time and they were just starting to rot. Yuch! Pretty nasty work lifting them out of the bug infested muck and tossing them into the bins. Then we put all the bins on an old rickety cart and pulled them over to the main kitchen burner which is a pretty big cast iron furnace. Whoever is in charge of that furnace has (in my opinion) the worst seva job in the whole ashram. The burner was off when we deposited all the old coconut shells and old wood, but it was still hot from cooking breakfast hours earlier. My already sweaty body started to sweat in overdrive. It was pure bliss to finally get back to my room and take a nice cool shower. I also filled a bucket with some water, some detergent and my sweaty grimy clothes. Doing laundry by hand here is pretty much a never ending job.

The Amma organization makes their own line of laundry detergent as well as lots and lots of other things. If this keeps up Amma will soon be the Proctor an Gamble of India. All profits to charity.

At the garbage recycling area I swiped a big plastic jar with a tight lid. You have to have one of these to hold any trash that the ants might like. The ashram rooms have lots of these little small fast ants that get into anything edible. They're manageable as long as you make very sure not to leave any edibles around. When I was here last time a new roommate came in and forgot that he had an open candy bar in his bag. Can you say "big mistake!"? When he came back a few hours later his bag was filled with thousands of ants! It was a real mess and he learned quick. Occasionally I'll see one crawling around on my laptop screen. I think they may be interested in my blog.

Hey! Little ant on my guys sure are cute! (Maybe if they see I wrote something nice about them, they'll stay out of my stuff.)

Then it was off to 1pm lunch. They served some kind of hot spicy vinegar yogurt sauce. Wow! It was strong. Tasted like pure strong vinegar. Yuch! I take back all those nice things I said about the Indian food here at the ashram. Be interesting to know what spices they use in it. Back at my room I had the last piece of dark chocolate that Vera had given me at the train station. Yum! Especially after forcing down that horrid yogurt vinegar sauce (I even went back for a second helping. Someone get me a counselor, I need help.).

For some reason I'm really pooped. My legs have almost no energy. I'll have to squeeze in a little afternoon rest. I think some residual jet lag has crash landed on my brain. I'm wiped. Off to bed. I may even sleep thru the afternoon chai. That's serious.

This is definitely the wet season. Its been raining on and off all day. Right now its coming down in buckets. Does cover central Kerela?

I went to Ram's Bazaar, a little second hand shop here at the ashram. I needed to get some old pants I could use for the dirty work of handling the garbage at my seva assignment. The shop was pretty crowded and I could feel my impatience start to rise. As if I'm in some kind of hurry here at the ashram. I get impatient so easily! I'm definitely in need of some Amma's grace to work that vasana out of my system.

Had a nice talk with a young American guy named Adam while we were waiting for dinner. He was telling me about this wonderful energy healing session he had earlier in the day with one of the people (Kaivalya) authorized by Amma. He said that during the healing he could see Amma working on him, standing nearby and holding his head. Afterwards he described feeling immersed in a deep feeling of oneness and peace with himself and the world. He invited me to join him and his friends at the Western Cafe, but I declined, preferring to eat without conversation. During dinner I practiced memorizing a few more verses from the Hanuman Chalisa. It definitely feels good to have time to enjoy quiet meals by myself. I had a light dinner; not too much appetite. Maybe the local microbes are getting settled into my gut and making friends with the ones already there. Party hearty guys!

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