Monday, May 25, 2009

2009 05 25. Monday.

2009 05 25. Monday.

It was really windy and stormy all night so I didn't sleep too well. Got up around 5:50am. They serve chai at 6! Uh-oh! I had to decide real quick if I wanted to try and make it for chai. Yes! I'll try. I got dressed real quick and zipped down there in time. Yay! If I had the same passion for sadhana as I do for my morning chai I would have been enlightened a long time ago. Maybe my name should be Chai Das. After my chai buzz got up a good head of steam I settled in for some nice sadhana till breakfast. Sweet. Meditating and chanting while the world slipped away.

After we got the days garbage all sorted, we took the non-recyclable items (the burnable items) over to the outdoor furnace next to the backwaters. Yuch! What a nasty job. We had to throw the trash into the furnace which was emitting clouds of black ash (Hey Mom or Dad, please just skip this section; trust me). Considering what we burn, its probably pretty toxic stuff! As we were pulling the cart to the furnace Adam shared with me his worry about coming anywhere near the furnace. I responded with something like "I feel that Amma's grace will be protecting us." After seeing the furnace and what gets burned inside there, I sure hope I'm right! I may be silly and naive, but I really believe that Amma will protect us from things like this as long as we follow Her guidance, trust Her, and act with discernment. So I wasn't too worried working near the furnace. With that being said, I definitely did not stay near there one second longer than was needed.

At lunch today a western man sat across from me which was kind of unusual as usually its mostly Indians who eat on this side of the hall. I've seen this man around and for some reason he gave me the impression of being a Zen practitioner. Maybe he just looks like some Zen teacher I've seen in the past. In any case while he ate his meal, he seemed to give off this nervous or agitated energy. Who knows what's really going on with him but its interesting to see how my mind constantly makes up all kinds of stories about people I see but don't know. Usually my stories bear no resemblance to reality, but at least they keep me entertained. (I'm easily entertained.)

I went to the Dhanalakshmi Bank branch here at the ashram. On a whim I brought my old bank account book from when I was here back in 2006. Much to my surprise, they said the account was still good and and I could deposit my rupees no problem, Yay! That was easy. At this branch at least, all the transactions are done manually on paper. I would hate to be the bookkeeper for that bank. My old balance even collected some interest while I was away. 72 rupees! Wow. Its party time! The chai is on me.

At the 4pm chai everyone was lined up neatly in one line, waiting patiently and serenely. Then one of the yellow robed swamis came by and called out "OK, everyone! Make two lines!" Upon hearing this everyone quickly made a big jammed disorganized jostling crowd around the chai bucket, holding out their arms, elbowing each other and shaking their cups like starved baby chicks begging for regurgitated worms. The swami strolled away, pleased with his skill at crowd control.

Thanks, buddy.

On the way back at the elevator landing on the 10th floor were two European girls about 6 years old playing with some toys on a spread out sari. Cute! I waved to them and gave them my best friendly "Hello!" but they just gave me a blank look that only a kid can give as if to say "Wow, we thought adults were clueless dweebs but this guy makes us realize we vastly underestimated". Devastating. Well, let me tell you kid, better people than you have tried to crush my ego and all have failed. You see, its kind of like squeezing a water balloon; press down on one side and, well, you get the picture. Amma, however, is sharpening Her pin and looking at me with a scary smile and a fear inducing gleam in Her lotus eyes. Uh-oh... Without my ego this blog may get pretty boring.


One of the Indian ladies who lives on this floor was leaning on the wall outside her room and looking at the kids with a big sweet smile. The kids seem to really love it here. From what I've seen, it seems that Amma makes a point of setting up the rules and facilities so kids and their parents will have a good time. Any guru that loves kids as much as Amma is definitely OK in my book.

OK, enough typing, my chai buzz in starting to kick in nicely and that means only one thing. You guessed it... Time for afternoon sadhana! See you soon. Don't wait up. And don't believe my neighbors who said they heard snoring from my room.

The E building where I'm living now is very close to the Juice Stall. Every evening after dinner there's usually a diverse crowd there. Indian boys from the nearby school gathered in clumps and trying to look cool. Indian female students also in small groups giggling just like girls from anywhere in the world. I very rarely see much mixing between the male and female students. Gender segregation is still prevalent in many parts of Indian society. No worse or better than the western ways, just different. There are dark skinned workers of all ages from Kerala and Tamil Nadu dressed in more raggedy clothes talking quietly or just looking off into space. There's constant construction going on here at the ashram and Amma brings in a small army of poor workers to get new structures built. Amma gives them a safe place to sleep and three all-you-can-eat meals a day. I'm guessing She also pays them a wage. Westerners (mostly younger) stand around talking earnestly about their spiritual adventures, trading travel tips, swapping funny travel stories and planning the next phase of their Indian pilgrimage/vacation. They're enjoying the cheap prices for the delicious shakes and juices from the Stall (an extra 10 rupees for "Boost", whatever the heck that is). In the background the waves are pounding and some local temple is blaring out devotional songs; their piety amply demonstrated by the loud volume. The crickets and frogs join in the fun, sounding out their secret simple language of predator, prey and mates. All of it blends together pretty well. The rain has stopped, letting the heavy clouds and perhaps a few stars enjoy the scene.

No comments: