Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The mental side of muscle cramps?

Ok.  So I've attached a picture of the squat toilet.  I think it's more commonly known as an Indian toilet.  I've often wondered why a culture so concerned with their bowls didn't develop a more comfortable way of doing things.  I guess it makes certain things easier?  Oh well.  As I stated previously, necessity is a great teacher, and I'm pretty much a pro at this point (I even figured out how to aim!).

So as you can see, my bathroom is only a few feet wide.  Luckily, there is hot water and a shower.  Unfortunately, the hot water only lasts about 2 minutes coming out of the shower head.  Since I need a few more minutes to actually wash everything off, I've resorted to filling up a bucket with the hot water available, and working things out from there.  It's not a bad way to go, but I admit that my scalp misses having water pressure and the rest of me wouldn't mind a 10 min shower now and then.

So week two.  I'm going to have to label this, my adjustment week, and kind of a rough one at that.  It started off great.  For one, I got to participate in the Indian version of  bachelor party.  It was a huge!  One thing I'd like to instigate in the states.  Rather than being some pathetic excuse for misbehavior, it was a huge party with food, dancing, and ceremony to boot.  It started off with a parade that collected the dancing guests as it meandered through the streets of Rishikesh.  By the time we reached the main tent of the party, there must have been 500 people there.  The DJ was quite good, the food was amazing, and the guys were a riot.  The only odd thing was how somber all of the women were until the bride made her big appearance.  Oh well, I guess it was the guys night to celebrate.  I did meet two wonderful girls that night.  Thipa (I should learn to spell that...), and Clara.  Thipa is from India and Clara is from Columbia.  Both are very cool girls, and I felt a kinship spark with both of them that night.  Thipa is on the left and Clara on the right.

Unfortunately, the rest of the week didn't go so smoothly.  My right hip started giving me problems on Tuesday (chronic issue, not a big surprise), Wednesday morning, my left shoulder cramped up while getting into a pose and made it all but impossible to fully practice.  Wednesday and Thursday night, I could not sleep at all because of said shoulder, and by Friday, I fell apart and started bawling in the middle of our evening asanas.  I think Roshan either saw or heard of me struggling, because he approached me Saturday and tried to offer some advice.  Funny thing, logical advice has rarely ever worked for me, and this time was no different.

Those who know me well are very familiar with this quirk.  Don't get me wrong, academically, it's easier for me to learn things in a logical order, and when dealing with logical people, I definitely communicate with logic.  But when it comes to my own life, I almost always intuitively solve problems, (meaning I look for a solution that feels right) and then use logic to fill in the structural gaps of that feeling.  I've found that to be a very effective way of solidifying my decisions and actually helps with communicating them to others. Unfortunately, that tends to give people unfamiliar with me the impression that I'm all logic and receptive to those kinds of solutions.  Woops.

So Roshan gives me some advice about letting go and not trying, but that doesn't feel right.  So, I thank him for his concern, and went back to trying to figure out what I was feeling and why my gut was ill at ease (not just in the digestive capacity).  By Saturday night, I had pretty much concluded that there was a whole lot going on, and that this feeling was going to require more than just a shift in perspective.

For one, haha I miss going to church.  That is a strange thing for me to come to terms with.  I wish I had appreciated it more when it was available, but I do miss taking the sacrament, having a Sunday school lesson, and especially going to the temple.  Part of that is because I'm swimming in some more murky waters as our philosophy class continues.  Don't get me wrong, there are still TONS of similarities and I'm still gaining a better perspective of the gospel the more I learn.  One that comes to mind are the 9 distractions that make the path of yoga more difficult.  Every single one is solved by well-established and essential part of the gospel.  Anyway, I think I'm starting to miss the consistency and simplicity of church doctrine, because there is no consistency in much of what we are discussing.  You can tell much of what is being taught is Roshans interpretation of yoga (Hinduism).  Not that that's bad, but there are definitely holes that I'm picking up on, and when I ask questions to fill in those gaps, I rarely get answers. 

Just to give you an idea, this is usually how it goes.  Roshan teaches a 'universal truth.'  I think of some exception (can't help it, it's what my brain does), and ask how that fits in with the universal truth.  It's not that I am intentionally challenging his teaching, but I do want to understand how these things fit in with this belief system.  I already know where most of them fit in with mine, so I'm trying to figure out how others deal with it.  For instance, sociopaths seem to have little place in the world of yoga.  I've had to bring them up a couple times and my question never gets a direct answer.  Oh well.

So besides church and the ambiguous answers, there is something else that keeps gnawing at me.  I was discussing particle physics vs quantum theory with a couple of girls tonight and I realized something...of everything being taught, there is one thing missing completely....that God has a body.  I'm thinking this is probably unique to our faith, but Roshan did mention that there are hindu doctrines mentioning that the gods having a desire to have a body, but nobody seemed able to grasp the option of Him actually having one already.  What's funny to me, is I see absolutely no reason He can't. 

As I mentioned, I was discussing quantum theory with a few girls after dinner (yeah, I'm loving this place), and I realized, if God truly understands the laws of the universe and knows exactly how to manipulate and interpret the subtle energies that exist in every molecule and wavelength, then literally (not symbolically or figuratively), He can be omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent (just like the 'consciousness' so often mentioned in class) while still existing in material form.  He would know that across the universe, someone was having a hard day, because he knows, feels, and understands the energy being emitted from that event.  The glory of God is light right?  Just think about it.  He wouldn't be subject to time, age, the need for food, or anything because He is completely connected to the interface that surrounds but escapes us all.  I'm wondering actually, if this is what a resurrected body really makes us capable of - that kind of comprehension.  But again, I fear I've dived too deep...

So after having this epiphany, I suddenly felt much lighter, and funny enough - my shoulder started to feel better.  I think this tidbit was a big part of the stress I was experiencing.  Because I knew it had place, but couldn't explain how.  And that combined with the physical injuries that kept me from sleeping just made everything that much worse.  But a bit of light has shone through those murky waters.  This next week, I hope to better understand the role and need for the atonement - hopefully with no associating muscle cramps.  It could be tough because this is a subject I'm still not too familiar with in gospel terminology let alone yoga terminology being translated from Sanskrit by a man who doesn't think it exists.  I saw a hint of something in the 9 obstacles.  There was mentioned the problem of digression (need for a redeemer?) as well as the need for progression (enabling power perhaps?), but I think we'll be getting into that more this week.  Until then, any other insights are more than welcomed. 

Just to leave things on a lighter note, Saturday we did some breathing exercises by the river.  Of course a large group of western women always attracts a male crowd, but once again, my blonde hair, blue eyes, and awesomely pasty skin basically makes me a celebrity.  Several guys asked if they could get a picture taken with me.  This isn't the first time this sort of thing has happened since I arrived in Rishikesh, (in fact, I'm pretty sure I saw 5-6 videos being taken of me while dancing in that parade), but usually they keep their distance.  So it took me off guard for a bit, and since Clara was with me when they asked, she told them it would cost them 20 rupees for each picture.  To this one of the guys responded "I'll pay 200 if you want me to."  Just for a picture?  Wow.  Long story short, I took the pictures (not their money), and even put my arm around um.  I figure it's an easy way to make someones day.  It's just sooooooo weird to me that that can make someone's day!


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