I am back from India now, and I feel like I should write about my trip; trouble is, I can’t even find words to tell myself about it. This was my sixth trip to India, and although my idealism regarding India has lessened with each journey, my love for her has increasingly deepened. I, who have a strong preference for solace, silence, and comfort, find little of these private joys in India, yet she captivates me with her colors, her odors, her energy, her eyes, and her promise.
Perhaps it is because I can visit her poverty and not have to live in it day after grueling day. Perhaps it is because I don’t have to feel the weight of her corruption. Perhaps it is because I believe (my dad would have it no other way) that you can pick yourself up from any hardship to succeed at your deepest longing that I am shielded from her caste system’s life sentence. For all these reasons I can experience the best India has to offer and remain her devoted admirer.
I could tell you about the afternoon the heat got to me, and, instead of doing my practice, I paid a taxi to take me to the Radison and swim luxuriously in their outdoor pool (followed by a REAL shower). I could tell you about the two times my cravings won over my discipline and I went into town to eat a cheese omelet (eggs do not make the list for serious yogis). I could tell you that I found myself meeting my preferences and judgmental thinking on a regular basis.
But I could also tell you that I love to breathe the air in India. It somehow feels ancient and sacred and connects me to that which is ancient and sacred in me. I feel alive, holy, in touch with the pulse and rhythm of living. Wonder comes easily; so does laughter. Something is stirred awake in me. More than anyplace in the world, I can find silence in the midst of noise and center in the midst of chaos.
I know India does not do this for everyone. But I also know that we all have places near or far that do touch us like India touches me. These are places that both open and fill us; places that instantly speak volumes to our heart and soul, leaving our minds trailing behind; places that give us an intense satisfaction and gratitude that we are alive. And I know that we should all put ourselves in these places as often as possible.