Wednesday, May 27, 2009

2009 05 27. Wednesday.

2009 05 27. Wednesday.

It was a quiet night and I slept really well. No slamming doors or crazy wind storms. To my delight I slept right through all the early morning wake up bells for Archana (yeah, I'm a good sadhak... right). I'm definitely a lazy devotee but its hard to do sadhana when I'm constantly tipping over and passing out with sleepiness. Or at least thats my excuse; I don't think Amma buys it. Perhaps one day Amma will grace me with the ability to get by on less sleep.

I was up around 4:50am, feeling refreshed and did the stotram of the 1,000 Names before the Mahay Shasura Mardini bhajan and chai. As an experiment I took the unsweetened chai to see if doing without the sugar helps. Often after I drink the regular sweetened chai I'll fly high for a while and then crash. Not a hard crash, but enough to make me a little drowsy and groggy. Maybe my system doesn't like the extra sugar. Probably smart to avoid the sugar anyway cause diabetes runs strongly in my paternal family. I've seen directly from some family members that living with diabetes is a COMPLETE hassle and pain in the butt. We'll see how long my unsweetened chai experiment lasts. Knowing my will power (or lack thereof) the smart money is on it not lasting too long.

Well, the smart money lived up to its name. My sugar free chai tapas lasted all of about 8 hours. But I have a lame excuse. I mean a good reason. I was assigned to help with cleaning the western cafe floor at 2pm. I thought it would be a pretty easy seva but it turned out to be 3.5 hours of hard work moving chairs and tables, scrubbing and and mopping the big floor and putting everything back. I was really tired when 4pm chai rolled around. At around 3:45pm, the Italian guy in charge of the seva called out "OK, chai break!". That Italian guy seemed to have enough energy for 3 people! He was a real dynamo. I was envious! We still had a lot of work to do at that time so I figured the only way I would get through it is to put some quick energy (i.e. sugar) into my system. It worked. After the chai, I felt a bit more energized and was able to (just barely) make it through to the end of the seva.

As I was sipping my chai during the chai break, the skinny dog that hangs out at the western cafe barked and ran up to some of the young Indians who were walking nearby. He did this a few times. The dog didn't bother any of the many westerners who were walking around; just the young Indians. Curious. Maybe the dog was abused by a young Indian at some point. Amma has specified definite rules not to pet or feed the dogs that hang out here, but some of the westerners can't resist giving a pet and some scraps to an obviously underfed dog. A skinny dog is a sorry sight, but if we started feeding any of the dogs, then there would quickly be dozens or more of them here, creating all kinds of problems. There are a few cats here, but they look well fed, no doubt feeding on the endless supply of rats and mice that sneak around the ashram. The last time I was here I only saw a rat once or twice so, from my perspective at least, they seem to be well under control. Gassho to the cats!

After the chai break, we got back to work cleaning the floor. At one point I was scrubbing the floor and feeling really tired, so I wasn't scrubbing with a lot of vigor. Near me was a little dark haired European boy about 9 years old also scrubbing the floor with a lot of energy and having fun. The Italian guy in charge called to me and said (while pointing to the European kid) "Hey! See how he's doing it? Scrub the floor like him!" The little European kid then turned and gave me a smirky smile. At that point I desperately wanted to clobber both of them with my broom but a.) I was too pooped to swing my broom. b.) I've already got a big pile of steaming karma so why add another fresh shovelful to the heap? and c.) they would probably misinterpret my hitting them with the broom and make a big unnecessary fuss. People can be so sensitive. Jeez. Hit them with a broom and they take it personally and make a big stink. So I just swallowed my pride (yuch!), muttered a pitiful "OK", and tried to follow the shining example of the little European snotty brat. Whoops. Meant to say "kid". I'll have to edit that out.

Most of the Amma devotees here work their tails off. Its really inspiring to see how much energy, intelligence and enthusiasm they bring to their sevas. I'm hoping some of that will rub off on me. And almost all of the people I work with are pleasant and friendly. I usually don't say much or socialize too much and they're all fine with that (maybe that's what they prefer! (smile) ). Staying here at the ashram I get a direct experience of how busy this place is. There's a lot going on here! They have a very active printing press, website maintenance team, all kinds of stores selling juices, fruit, teas, simple household items, Amma pictures, Amma music, Ayurvedic medicines, an Ayurvedic healing center, phone center, a thrift store, various big and very busy kitchens, schools, classes, gardens, trash processing (the part I know best!), an active puja and homa section, tailoring shop, plumbing maintenance center, magazine design and layout, database maintenance team (thats a big team, I know), internet room, all kinds of active construction projects, some cows, a woodwork shop, charity hospital, laundry service, PR team, etc, etc.

And on top of all that they find some time to do their spiritual practices. Easy! Just skip on sleep. They're all up at 5am or earlier except for one tall skinny devotee still snoring peacefully up in room E1011.

I took a much needed nap through my normal sadhana time of 6-7:30pm. I was really tired and I fell right asleep. I finally (with much difficulty) dragged myself out of bed for dinner and that seemed to help. After dinner, I grabbed myself a cup of hot sweet milk at the Juice Stall (8 rupees, 16 cents). I wanted to get hot milk without sugar but that was not an option. And the Indians wonder why half their population over 40 has adult diabetes. Wake up, guys. If you ever want to get rich just buy stock in an insulin company in India. Believe me, the market is growing. I often see little empty glass insulin bottles in the trash.

Then I went right to bed and quickly zonked out.

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