Saturday, March 3, 2012

Pure love. It's like heroin, but better.

Phew...I can't believe I just finished the 4th week here.  That one flew by.  We started off the week by visiting a cave by the Ganga that is famous for the guru's that have lived in it over the years.  It is a interesting place (dark, dank, and smelly, but interesting). I still don't understand why one must hole themselves up in a cave to achieve enlightenment.  But the beach by the Ganga was beautiful.  This is a view from the cave meant for the guru's wife. 

That is one thing I also have a difficult time with.  Roshan has mentioned we will get into it, but I'm really struggling to figure out the role of women in hindu society.  I'm wondering if the wives of these guru's achieve enlightenment or if it's even a priority for them.  Do women just get it without going through all of these rituals and sacrifices?  I don't know, but I'm sure curious to find out.

So to catch everybody up, my physical health is still waning, but spiritually, I couldn't be happier.  In the first week of classes, we learned about a concept that basically says "you are not your body."  We talked about pain and how your body may perceive pain, but you don't have to.  Admittedly, this was one of those things I wrote down with a good amount of skepticism.  Thinking back on it...I'm wondering if that's why all of the injuries started happening.  Well, I'm happy to report - I get it.

After the last post, things kept getting worse.  Not only was my shoulders, hips, and hamstrings completely locked up, but I was nauseated after every meal, PMSing, and unable to sleep at all.  By Tuesday, I hit my breaking point.  We were in class, I was completely miserable, but still trying to do what I could.  It was blazing hot and there was no air movement in the room thanks to a Polish couple who preferred it that way.

Trying to compromise, I talked with them and asked them to at least turn on the fans.  "No no no no, but you can open the window next to you."  Ok, so I did.  15 mins later, the guy moves over by me (fight with the girlfriend?...I don't really know why), and then begs for me to shut my window.  I oblige, attempt to work through the nausea and the heat, but decide its too much, so I move to his old spot to open a window.  I hang my head outside for a bit to try and breathe through the nausea, and it seems to help.  Unfortunately, immediately after I pull my head in, this guys girlfriend comes over, shuts the window and says "It's too cold." (It was probably 85 degrees in that room).  The moment she does this I have this overwhelming urge to deck her, but since violence is not really my thing, this just causes my whole body to tense up.  That tension just lead to more pressure on a nauseated gut, which turned into me feeling like I was going to vomit right there - so I ran out of the room as fast as I could.

Halfway down the stairway Deepa caught me and asked me what's wrong.  I fell apart.  Just a blubbering mess of rage, pain, complaints, and frustration.  I was sick, I was tired, I was hormonal, and I was sore...and for the first time since I've arrived, I just wanted be done with yoga.  Deepa tried to be positive and helpful, but I wasn't really having it.  I knew she was right, but I was past caring about right.  I just wanted relief.  So that night I drugged myself with some Unisom, and for the first time in almost two weeks, I slept through the night, (and into the next morning).

It has always been funny to me just how much sleeps helps me process things.  The next morning I felt like a different person.  My body still ached and my stomach still seemed irritated, but none of that bothered me.  I knew I was going to get past it.  I knew it was a state of being I could observe and learn from instead of just suffering through it.  I accepted the pain, I felt optimistic about my progress, and I felt overwhelmingly calm about everything.  And since then, I've started receiving tons of love and help from everyone.  One girl is a physical therapist and gave me some exercises and stretches to do.  Another gave me some tips on my technique.  But the one that takes the cake is this girl below....Ari. 

She is a masseuse for an exclusive resort in the Seychelles islands.  This girl has worked on anyone who is anyone, from Brad Pitt to Prince William and his wife, and now she's been working on me every morning.  But in spite of her high-end work, she is incredibly kind, humble, sweet, and funny.  I absolutely adore her, and she does wonders to some of the knots in my hips/thighs.  It's incredibly painful - but helpful.  And that combined with all the other help I've been getting has really helped me to feel an overwhelming sense of love toward everybody and everything.

So with my renewed optimism, I decided to walk into town on Wednesday with Clara and somehow ended up in a Palm Reader/Astrologists store.  She had wanted to go to him for a while, but while waiting for him to finish up with another client, got scared and asked me to go instead.  I was surprised by her sudden reluctance, and I didn't really feel a need to get a reading, but told her if she wanted me to I would.  I even told her she could stay and listen if she wanted, but she said she'd feel uncomfortable listening to something so personal.  With that she took off, and it was me and BP Uniyal - an 'ex-scientist' who decided to enter the world of Astrological signs and palm readings.  He had me fill out a paper that had my birth date, place, and time, name, and current occupation.  With that he grabbed my palm and started telling me all about my life.  Some things were very general, some specific, but my overall impression of the experience was one of interesting and perhaps humorous coincidence.  Minus the dates and some other specifics (like # of children), he didn't tell me anything that wasn't already in my patriarchal blessing.  Funny right?

Now that might seem disturbing to some, but I just found great humor in it.  Because of my astrologically inclined sisters, I've had enough education in the stuff to recognize there is some truth in it, just not perfect truth.  And perhaps there is a pure form of astrology somewhere, but I'm pretty positive the stuff here has been mingled with the philosophies of men to such a degree as to undermine its potential integrity.  And besides that, predicting the future doesn't do me any favors.  It just makes me anxious, impatient, and unhappy - and I think that's where the danger of astrology lies.  It's not 100%, and it's not inspired.  If people let the stars dictate their choices, than they never get in tune with their own revelatory capacities, and they remain dependent on something external that is fallible and offers no real peace.      

Therefore, I kind of look at it this way - why would I want tainted water that requires a filter, if I have access to pure water?  Why would I put weight in the word of a man who needs charts, maps, and physical characteristics to calculate my path when I have the words spoken by a patriarch needing nothing more than his priesthood authority and the Spirit.  And in my case, he really had nothing more.  You see, my patriarch didn't know who I was before giving me the blessing.  Only that my name was Cherie and I was a Chemistry major at BYU-Idaho.  That was 6 years ago, and since then, experience has definitely helped me gain a solid testimony of that blessing.  So though it was nice to have a second witness of the path that has already been revealed to me, I'll still be relying on my blessing when looking for any further direction.

So anyway, Clara came back after and asked how everything went.  I told her about the my blessing and the similarity between the two.  It actually turned into a good missionary opportunity because I got to tell her I was Mormon and explain what patriarchal blessings were.  I also told her to not be freaked out by the palm reading.  I tried to explain that it's only dangerous if you trust it over your own personal revelation.  I mentioned that there are many methods of choice, but the best one is to always choose by what feels peaceful, clear, and right, because she will know what's right for her better than a palm reader/astrologist (or anybody else who might try to tell you what to do for that matter).  This is something I believe very deeply.  Even when it comes to priesthood revelation, I feel very strongly that each of us must make sure that revelation resonates clearly within us for a few reasons.

1.) Because those who hold the priesthood are still men and therefore possibly fallible in reception AND communication.  Perhaps they understood their impression wrong, perhaps they just didn't understand how to communicate it.  Either way, you have access to the Spirit of confirmation, and it is our, it's our responsibility to use it.  Which brings me to my next reason.

2.) We need to take responsibility for our actions, and blind obedience always undermines our ability to choose.  If we do not confirm that the revelation given was also received by us internally, (and therefore our choice) then as humans, we are prone to blame others and lose faith when things do not work out as predicted.  Once we do this we've clouded our relationship with the Spirit and made it more difficult to understand an already difficult situation.

3.) Last, but definitely not least, we need to practice our own communication with the Spirit.  Just like speaking any language, if you don't practice, you won't learn.  Priesthood direction can give us the opportunity to check in with the Spirit with a simple "yes" or "no."  As we practice that simple language, we become more adept at interpreting the more intricate impressions.  This is vital to our individual spiritual development and essential to the creation of any Zion-like community.

Tangent...sorry...back to Rishikesh.

The day after the reading I went with shopping with some friends, and in the process, visited a guru for some pain relief.  Since I'm out of range for a priesthood blessing, I figured this was the next best thing.  I hoped this guy was one of those with the gift of healing cuz I sure needed it.  He sat me down, moved his hands over the areas that were hurting and recited some mantras in the process.  I definitely felt him moving some of the energy around, and initially, there was some relief.  But within a few minutes it returned.  Bummer.  The girls told me I might have to go back a few times.  We'll see if I feel inclined to do so.

On the way back, Clara and I decided to grab a cab.  I should first explain that cabs in Rishikesh are more like buses in the form of a jeep.   They pick up people along the main road and drop them where they wish along that road.  So we flag one down, and it's already full of women.  The driver says "no, one in front, one in back."  So Clara jumps in the back and I move around to the front passenger side where there are already two women in that front seat.  They kindly move over for me, but it only leaves about 6 inches for me to fit.  As I'm trying to navigate my way into the spot, the driver takes off.  So here I am, butt hanging out the side of a jeep, hanging on for dear life to these ladies I've never met.  I know I should have been at least a little frightened, but all I could do was laugh at the ridiculousness of the situation.

To make matters just a little more ridiculous, Clara was in the back taking pictures of my state, the women in the middle row were trying to get pictures taken with me, and the older women I had my arm around were busy hugging me, kissing me, and asking me if I was happy.  It was one of single most bizarre and beautiful moments of my life.  When we got to our spot, all of the ladies in the vehicle jumped out and asked for a picture with us.  We were swarmed as everybody tried to get in contact with us for this picture.  My neck, shoulders, arms, and waist were all covered in hands, and after the picture I was swarmed with hugs and thank yous.  I've never received that much affection from strangers in my life, let alone all at once from so many women.  Clara and I walked away just dazed.  As the last woman walked away Clara looks at me, laughs, and says "Sometimes, India just happens to you."  Nuff said.

1 comment:

  1. I love what you said about the Priesthood, the Spirit and personal revelation...So true.
    But most importantly, as hard as I'm sure it is for you sometimes, I'm so thankful for the Lord's angels that are everywhere. :) I hope you start feeling much better physically, to go along with your spiritual well-being. :) We pray for you always.
    Love you, gorgeous! You're so strong!