Saturday, November 14, 2009

2009 11 14. Saturday.

Had another meeting of the Communications Skills Group (CSG) this morning. Just Rachel and I. We met in her room on the 13th floor of the E building. Gorgeous view of the ocean and countryside. And no mosquitoes! I really miss living there.

When it was my turn I shared about some of the recent small annoyances that have triggered me. A few days ago one of the Indian helpers at the compost area balked at my direction to add more woodchips to the foodwaste. Very confusing and annoying. They must think woodchips are in short supply or something. I need to show them a picture of the huge mountain of woodchips at the big Amma workshop. Also I should show them a picture of the smelly ugly poorly processed piles that didn't have enough woodchips.

Now that I think about it, if you look at it from a particular angle, the woodchip mountain kind of looks like Arunanchula.

Rachel shared about some of things going on with her and we shared about how learning better communication skills will help us both better navigate ashram challenges. Turns out the biggest issue for both of us is reactivity. In difficult situations, my emotions will rise up quickly and take over and I'll react in ways that are non-skillful (to put it mildly). Internally, I try to always sense when a situation could get difficult and remind myself to respond calmly and coolly. Sometime works, often doesn't.

There was nonstop heavy rain this afternoon which made for some seriously miserable compost work. I got soaked to the skin and became cold! Brrr. Can't wait for the hot dry season to start. We got the pile finished somehow and boy, the hot chai after wards was especially wonderful!

Just got finished reading an autobiography from the ashram library called "All the Fishes Come Home to Roost" by Rachel Brown. Its about an 8 year old American girl who goes with her parents to a Meher Baba ashram in some backwater grubby Indian town. Its mostly really hilarious. But the young girl gets sent to a nearby Catholic school and the nuns are a group of seriously sadistic child haters. Ouch. One of the nuns almost kills one of the young boys at the school. Kind of frightening in some parts but mostly very funny. Recommended reading to get a taste of India. Or a taste of some wacky westerners in the middle of wacky India.

I recently listened to some very interesting interviews from the podcast series called "Insights at the Edge". In two separate interviews, the host spoke with Dr. Richard Mendius and Dr. Rick Hanson. They're a team of neuroscience researchers doing cutting edge work on the effect of meditation and mindfulness practice on the brain. Very fascinating stuff. The bottom line is that even a little bit of daily meditation practice has great benefits for the brain and mind, and this is getting clearly proven using recent brain imaging tools. Definitely worth a listen.

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