Sat Chit Ananda -> Beingness consciousness bliss
Now in the last stretch of the Yoga Teacher Training. I came to India very much feeling in line with my higher self. I mean, there is always corners to explore and growth to embrace, but overall I was feeling pretty damn blissful. What happened here was a little bit like meeting a map-maker and having him tell you that the road from point A to B goes through this town and that town that that other town, whereas you were pretty sure that you could just climb up through the woods and get there just the same. Last week I went through an oppressing feeling: Oh no, I’m not going through towns 1, 2 and 3, maybe I can’t get “there” (Sat Chit Ananda) by going through the woods.
But a couple of things happened.
1) Roast Chicken
We, the students and teachers of this yoga teacher training, had a group sharing session. You know, one of those hippy moments when we sit cross-legged in a circle and share our inner-most feelings. I would have been appalled to even admit to doing this, much less to enjoying it, just a few years ago, but as things are, this version of the Bobcat wears a Om bracelet (interesting, I wrote a “home bracelet”), a bright patchworked orange shirt with Indian designs on big sleeves, she has some dread locks starting (they’re not staying) and has been known to chant to Shiva by the banks of Mother Ganga. Where was I going … oh yeah … So, we were in a sharing circle, and I was talking about how I am having quite a mental workout trying to fit and adjust the smorgesboard of new information within the framework of what I believe to be true from my own communications with my higher Self. Half way through my sharing speech, to my great dismay, came out the following sentence: “I just don’t want the path to enlightenment to involve never having roast chicken again! (Ahimsa – non-violence, a concern for the lives we take when we eat meat is one of the important tenants, though nothing is required in yoga, forcing oneself to an action would in itself violate non-violence – quite a quandary really) and also “I don’t want the path to enlightenment to involve getting at o-dark-thirty everyday!”. I even teared a little bit. That’s how strongly I felt about that. Then I had to giggle at the passion with which I was claiming back my sleep and meat. Don’t mess with my freedom of action (also known as Rule #7: don’t tell me what to do). Everyone was supportive of course, after they properly made fun of me, as they should. The seed was planted though. I have to do “it” my way. That is the only way I am going to do anything anyway, so why fight it.
2) To every monk, there is a path
Over a year ago, when I was living in the delightful Arthur house in Minnesota and engaging in accidental ice-swimming in the Mississippi, I randomly picked up a magazine called “EnlightenNext” edited and mostly written by Andrew Cohen. He is considered an enlightened man, one of the most supportive of the idea that human consciousness is ready for the next stage and that we are currently living out the end of the dark age of man, beyond which humanity becomes awake to its true nature. It’s a cool magazine. I read articles in there about where in the brain “God” lives and how quantum physics fits in with Chinese meridians. I like the western scientific approach in it. Religion isn’t for me. Rule #7 1/2, don’t tell me what to think. Andrew Cohen happens to be here in Rishikesh, so I went to see him talk. I had to endure an hour of chanting first, because God-forbid we would do *anything* without chanting first. The talk was simple and to the point. The gist of it is that the path is the goal. To become awakened, one only needs to be awake. Be present, realize that our perception of the outside world is but a reflection of our inner state, resist nothing, etc. Nothing I didn’t already know. I had a big smile ear to ear the whole talk. Not so much because of the talk itself, but because the message of our handsome Scottish yoga teacher, “to every monk there is a path”, finally trickled down from my brain to my heart and digestion system during that talk. That’s right, yoga, as a step by step practice to reach enlightenment I am convinced works and it is most likely the most efficient way to get “there”, but actually, I’m in no hurry. All this talk of ending the circle of pain and suffering or not having to come back down as a physical entity. But, I LOVE it down here. I love my life. I love who I get to play in the world. I love the world with all its faults and flaws and inequalities and injustices. I have no suffering to escape. I have no better place to get to. And I sure hope I get to come back. How can I not smile when the truth of that thought really hit?
3) Skinny dipping as a path to awakening
Yesterday was Saturday, our day off. Scarlet and I took a motorbike to a place above Rishikesh from which a hiking path leads to many wondrous waterfalls and eventually to the top of the hills that surround the Ganga valley, from which in theory we can see the big Himalayas, with snow capped peaks and such. It was a day of pure bliss. We left the trail early on, made our own path, swam naked in crystal clear waters by green pools in the jungle, watched monkeys and birds and butterflies go about their business. We sat in the sun for hours meditating, Scarlet in cross-legged position and me staring at fish in the waterfall pond, chasing lizard, investigating rocks (metamorphic sandstone, as expected), watching leaves come down the waterfall, etc. Basically, the same thing I did in Death Valley last April, that led to the strange and not yet replicated opening of all my senses to another dimension of Life. Hiking turned into bush-whacking then into scrambling, then into class 4 climbing. When the terrain finally got too sketchy, we turned around (Satya, truth, respecting one’s limit with honesty). It was the best day ever. I felt so “me”. It then dawned on me that comes April, I get to do this EVERY DAY for 5-6 months. To every monk there is a path. I am pretty sure I found mine. Oh yeah. PCT, you are only a month and two weeks away and I cannot wait!
That’s it. I might not get to see the big Himalayas (we couldn’t see them Saturday), but it’s all good. I want to roam Rishikesh some more with my days off and get you’all presents and chill and swim in the Ganga. I’ll be back here anyway, in this life or the next.
Good night. I hope you are all well, healthy, happy and out of trouble, mostly.