Souvenirs from India
So many come to India to find answers to life's persistent questions.
Who am I? What is my purpose in life? How to find happiness?
We look into the wisdom of the Vedas.
We try the yogic practices.
We cleanse with Ayurvedic panchakarmas.
We quiet our minds with meditation and energize our beings with chanting and mudras.
Is it helping us in our quest?
The fundamental realities of our stay in India can be quite overwhelmingly intense.
We try to make sense of our chaotic life in the midst of an embodiment of chaos in Indian cities and streets.
We practice pranayamas in one of the most polluted air on the planet.
We do our cleanses buried in dirt.
We crave purity in places overflowing with trash.
We try to meditate surrounded by the cacophony of human noise.
Maybe, subconsciously we realize the value that facing challenges brings to our self-development?
Perhaps our belief in the magic of the place that is supposed to be the very source of spirituality and enlightenment helps us ignore the mundane and the unimportant.
The fact is that to be able to live in India we have to lower our standards and our expectations a lot. One could say we need to let go. If we don't, our stay could become pure misery while constantly struggling with the low levels of hygiene, high levels of pollution and the cultural differences in understanding the concepts of time, appointments and responsibilities.
For me, this is a number one benefit of my stay in India. I had to learn how to let go. If I didn't I would have gone mad. Quite effective motivation to do the latter.
The second reason I enjoy my stay here is an opportunity to learn how one can live and appreciate living in very different, sometimes very difficult circumstances. Observing people living and raising their families on the streets and yet being able to cultivate contentment and everyday joy is indeed very inspiring to me.
There is a lot of gentleness on the street. It manifests itself in the behavior of cows, dogs, and humans. It is not a rare sight to see a poor beggar sharing his meal with the monkey or a cow.
Every day I get a joyful greeting from a street merchant I've never bought from.
There are many smiles exchanged with strangers as I walk around.
What I would like to take back home is not a better way to do a handstand, a powerful mantra or a new meditation technique but a way to find patience in my heart, beauty in my family, friends and acquaintances and kindness in my actions towards others that will stay with me regardless of where I happen to be.