Tuesday, October 27, 2009

2009 10 27. Tuesday.

This morning during my chanting, my mind got hooked on visualizing Amma playfully scolding me while I was getting darshan. In my mind's eye I could see Amma pulling my ears, twisting my nose and hitting me on the head while all the time playfully teasing me about my big ego and all my vasanas. It was fun. I keep hoping that Amma will scold me like this at one of my actual darshans, but my imaginary Amma scoldings feel pretty good.

Went to the ashram medical center this morning to check on a patch of dry flaky skin I've had for a while. Much to my surprise the 2 Indian doctors on duty were totally available! Neither was seeing any patients and no one was waiting in line. Wow. That's unusual. Usually there's a long line of people to see them. I walked into the room, perhaps interrupting their conversation about overly-sensitive whiny hypochondriac westerners. (smile, just teasing). The Indian doctors I've seen for the most part have been great. The only annoying thing about Indian doctors is sometimes when I ask them a question, I'll get nothing more than a head waggle that is totally meaningless to me. I sometimes have to work hard to pull an answer out. The doctor looked at my patch of dry skin and said to come by tomorrow when the skin specialist will be here. I asked him what the skin problem could be. In response I got a head waggle. OK, I know when I'm beat. I cut my losses, gave him a smile and a cheerful "Namah Shivaya" and headed out.

After seeing the doctor I took an auto-rickshaw to the big Amma workshop across the backwaters. I went up to the rickshaw driver and asked how much to go there. He said '30 rupees'. I said 'fine' and hopped in. One the way there I enjoyed looking at the big pictures of Amma he had in the back of his rickshaw. When we got there the driver pulled out 10 rupees and handed it to me. I was confused and asked him why. He didn't know much English and just waved the 10 rupee note closer to me. I shrugged and took it. Have no idea why he did that. The driver tipped me! Pretty funny. Just another one of those Indian mysteries. 10 rupees is 2 cups of chai so I'm happy.

Before lunch we had the second meeting of the Communications Skills group with Rachel, Nicolas and I. It went well. All in all our meetings are (so far) very similar to many many meetings like this I attended in the Washington DC area. We met from 11am to 1pm. The first part of the meeting we debriefed on how the first meeting went. The consensus was it went well. Then we had a roundtable discussion about what emotional safety means to us. Emotional safety is a core feeling we want to create at our meetings. We agreed that emotional safety is based on confidentiality of what we share at the meetings and on good listening skills. When we sense someone is able to listen with attentiveness, empathy and without judgment, then we feel safe. Then we each got a chance to do an extended check-in, sharing whatever we wanted to share and then requesting feedback and reflection as desired. During my check-in I shared about how I was in a pretty peaceful place the past few days. Things are kind of quiet inside and outside. I get triggered here and there by small things but no big triggers happening recently.

They're now starting work on replacing the roof in the big hall, and its a big job. The big hall is like an aircraft hanger. They've already removed part of the roof and sure enough, there's been rain. Yuch. What a mess. Apparently they hired a contractor to do the work and they've brought in about 50 or so workers. Definitely dangerous work! Most of the work is done up in the steel rafters about 50 feet above the stone floor. Good to see most of the workers wearing support harnesses with with big ropes. Hope they use them. May Amma's grace keep them all alert and safe.

The ashram is now going thru a "let's all learn Sanskrit" phase, apparently at Amma's request. Many of the Indians and westerners are now taking Sanskrit classes. At the after compost work chai and snack break today one of the yellows taught me how to say "My name is Advait." In Sanskrit, it goes "Mama namah Advaitah." Or something like that. The yellow then asked me to try to say it. I replied "Mama namah Chai-ananda." He laughed. "Chai-ananda" means "the Bliss of Chai." Its very, very common in India for Hindu monks and nuns to have the name "(something)-ananda"; or "the Bliss of (something)".

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