Return Musings

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.

2 thoughts on “Return Musings”

  1. I know the feeling of finding a sense of peace both in an environment filled with people and in an environment free of humans (mostly) but filled with the sounds of nature.

    About a year ago we traveled to South Korea to visit my wife’s mother. It was my first time in the east and I was somewhat apprehensive. However from the first few moments of setting foot in the neighborhood where we would live for a week I sensed that I belonged there, that I was at home.

    Seoul is not a small town, there are people everywhere all the time. Still for that week I never once felt out of sorts, I felt peaceful and calm and I did not get the “travel jitters” that can make us tense and fearful. I really was at peace. I loved the smells and all the colors and the fact that I couldn’t understand the language.

    When I was young I had dreams of being in a place where I knew I was “home”. That is exactly how I felt in Seoul.

    We were brought straight into the heart of the culture as we were with Umma (mother) and her friends. We were in their world. We were far outside of our comfort zone and all of us including our kids, all young adults, seemed to feel the same thing, that everything was good, we all sensed that this was place of meaning and power for us.

    A couple of months later I was camping alone in Voyageur’s National Park in far northern Minnesota. On this night it was cold, the moon was full and lit up the wilderness, it was so bright that you could walk about in camp at midnight with no other light.

    Late, late at night the wolves started to howl. Maybe they were on the next island over or maybe miles away. I couldn’t judge the distance, it didn’t matter. They started off with what you would typically think of as wolf howls but soon the howl changed to a low and mournful sound. It was beautiful. At this time of the year, mid October, the leaves were off the trees and the loons had already migrated but soon the other creatures in the wild started to respond to the call of the wolves.

    First the geese started to talk, then the beavers who had been building a house near my campsite started to chatter then the birds started. It was amazing. Spiritual in a way I can’t really describe. I felt like getting up and running around naked in the woods and howling at the same time. Instead I lay in my warm sleeping bag and just absorbed what I was experiencing.

    My point here is that we find peace whereever we are if we just allow ourselves to be. In a city of 10 million souls or in the wild where there are few or in our homes and jobs or driving down the road.

    Life is grand.


  2. Leta Waterfall

    Deborah, I enjoy your writings on India & your honesty too.
    Thank you…you are a talented writer.
    Leta W.

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