For 30 days, I am forced to be present, really present. The only thing I bring with me is three bars of Ritter Sport dark chocolate covered hazelnuts. I hold onto them until week three, when I know I am really going to need some comfort from home.
When I am there, I pay attention to the things that I often overlook at home, like the sky at at daybreak, other life forms such as lizards, monkeys, and the cranes that swoop down for an early morning feeding while we are waiting in line for the bus to the temple. I pay attention to the unusual trees, the beautiful flowers. I pay attention to the people who prepare our food and those who wash the dishes, the women who clean the rooms, and those who tend to the grounds. I pay attention to the sevaks, who give freely of their time and energy to support the work of the Divine. Of course, I pay attention to the Dasas (teachers). I also pay attention to what is coming up for me, my emotions, my mind. I have a chance to see which situations and people are triggering me. Because I am not able to distract myself with modern technology, I also get to see my internal patterns and the convoluted thinking that lay beneath those incidents.
For instance, I saw someone and felt a magnetic attraction. My experience at OU has been that when this happens, there is a past life connection. I’ve met a man from Japan, who was son eons ago in Tibet. I’ve meet three women who were my daughters in past lives. So, quite naturally, I was curious to find out what our past life connection was.
When I introduced myself and tried to strike up a conversation, this person responded with disinterest and what felt like disdain. As I walked away, I realized the person had not even asked my name. I felt rejected and dejected. From that moment on, I avoided any eye contact with the person.
This feeling stayed with me, so I realized my charge of ‘rejection’ was triggered. As I went deeper into the suffering I saw my pattern of projecting stories onto other people. I was walking around feeling miserable, feeling rejected by someone whom I didn’t even know.
Then one day, a cute little ditty popped into my head: “Some people like coffee. Some people like tea. Some people like Rosie. Some people like me.”
I started to laugh… realizing that all the rest was a story in my head.
That is the beauty of taking time apart and being in a place where you are supported energetically to get to the core of your issues. This is yet another reason why I enjoy going to India.