Rishikesh Lessons

In a few hours, I will begin a 36 hour travel extravaganza back to my house in Boise, Idaho.  During the past two years, I have spent more time on the road than in my home.   It will be nice to settle in for a bit.  Here are some random thoughts from the India portion of this never ending journey.

The passage of time only accelerates as we get older.  I can so clearly remember sitting at home and receiving an email with notification of my flights and ashram reservations.  The end of the trip seemed impossible.  When taking the first of a million steps on the Camino, the cathedral in Santiago seemed impossible.  Infants do not contemplate mortality because it exceeds any plausible time frame.  Time marches on and the time to do anything is now.  Take the leap, share the love, open your heart, expose your vulnerability, and live life.

Upon arrival, I exchanged my monthly budget of US Dollars and converted into Rupees.  One week later, Prime Minister Modi announced on TV that 500 ($7.50) and 1000 ($15.00) Rupee notes would no longer be legal tender.  My spendable currency immediately went from over $800 to less than $4.  Very few places accept credit cards and the banks were immediately closed for two days.  A very chaotic exchange process is still fumbling through the system.  I ultimately sold my notes on the black market for a taste of sanity and a steep discount.  It was certainly an equalizer of people because we were all suddenly poor.  Even though my experience was temporary, it did open my eyes to the struggles faced by so many fellow world citizens on a daily basis.

Yoga has been my best teacher.  On most days, I did 2-3 hours of practice each day.  A flexible body is only the beginning.  A flexible mind is the goal.  The purpose of inverted postures is to automatically create different perspectives.  The same is accomplished by objectively listening to those with points of view distant from your own.  There is a reason for two ears and one mouth!

From the moment we are born until the day we die, life is always in motion with relentless waves overwhelming the mind.  Controlling the physical movements in yoga allows for a connection to the moment.  We take our shoes off outside to keep the inside clean.  A perfect metaphor for a better life.  Meditation and Shavasana allow for a connection to the inner senses where true happiness resides.  Silence becomes a form of fasting for the mind.  Start a yoga practice today!

Rishikesh is a holy city and that means no beef, pork, chicken, fish, eggs, or alcohol.  Eating a healthier diet has caused my weight to drop.  I feel better, sleep better, and poop better.  My realistic goal is to make 50% of my meals healthier.

I have three pair of underwear, three pairs of socks, a few shirts, one pair of pants, one beanie, and two pair of sweats.  My room is 200 square feet.  In 2015, the average annual income in India was $1,497. After spending a month here, there is no shortage of love.   Stuff is not the source of happiness.

I have met people from ages 1-88.  Many are penniless and one was a gazillionaire.  Countries of origin include Australia, Germany, England, Slovenia, Russia, Japan, Korea, Australia, Argentina, Kenya, Canada, Mexico, Sweden, Iran, New Zealand, Italy, Austria, Belgium, Israel, and Thailand.  At the end of the day, we are all one.  I realize that there are some really evil folks on this planet, but the vast majority are really kind and compassionate.  The divisive story sold by the media is pure bullshit.  Cut the cord to your TV and spend time getting to know your neighbors.

Compassion comes natural to aid a helpless animal.  Compassion for an ailing friend of family member also flow easily.  Compassion for ourselves is rarely practiced.  This will be a new focus.