I am thinking about packing which in the past has been stressful because I always buy so much stuff I have to worry about weight coming home. This time I hope to leave a suitcase. I thought about what I really need to be comfortable in India which are a few things: opportunity to have hot water, bottled water, a ceiling fan, windows to see out, earplugs and a fairly good knife. I did use my neti pot this trip so I’m glad I brought it. There is a lot for the senses to deal with here in India. In a way we naturally practice Pratyahara, the fifth limb of yoga, conscious control of the senses. There are sights, smells, the pollution, noises, tastes, things I touch that I naturally want to withdraw from that are in my experiences here. On the other side of the same coin there are things I am attracted to that serve as an equal distraction that I am drawn towards. The bronze statues, fabrics and clothes, food, art work, jewelry, more yoga classes and on and on. It is easy to get caught up in all of this and I find my attention absorbed in all these material things. It can be like a seesaw back and forth between raga and dvesa—attachment to things and aversion to others. It can keep my mind very busy and pulled outward.
This morning, two days before headed back home, I awoke well rested because I am making my own schedule. There is nothing I have to do or anywhere I have to be. This time I had no credit cards ( another story) to shop , and then no classes for instruction, internet was off for 24 hours and lots of free time. I could tell I wanted to create something to do, some activity, not just a morning of practice and then what?! This tipped my attention towards why I came to India: to slow down, read and study, and to practice on my own and to connect to the voice of my inner teacher. At the beginning of the month it was about all the classes I was taking and observing, and notes– a very full schedule. Prashant would say we are being spoon fed. What has happened is I really got what I came for. The luxury of a personal practice that I have time for, that comes from an inner knowing, a more centered and quiet feeling that I can hear and trust the wisdom from within– the truth, satya. I have read or heard that the difference between prayer and meditation is that prayer is the asking for and from meditation comes the clarity to hear the answer. Practice can be like this when I don’t give into outside pulls and callings.
Afternoon visitations to the Institute to sit quietly and reflect on Mr. Iyengar’s life, his teachings, his dynamic personhood has been a gift to sit with others who come or at times sitting alone. It has been a nice constant to go and be quiet. A different use of the Institute which has been Mr. Iyengar’s sacred ground for teaching so many students over so many years from all over the world. I am leaving a suitcase, traveling easier and lighter, less stuff and more connected to my practice and my inner teachings that have been inspired and stimulated by a great teacher and teachers he has inspired. I do feel full and grateful and ready to head home and share what my practice is teaching me. See you soon. Much love Lou