Time, as we know it . . .
All the days have begun to blend together. I rarely ever know what time it is or what day of the week it is. Most days are like those that have proceeded it and those to come. I have surrendered to the process. In the States I found myself filling in each fraction of a second with some task.
I often thought that I was aiming to make good use of my time. Time, as we know it, is fleeting and I never wanted to find myself lying immobile with my breath escaping, wishing I had done so much more with my life, so I plan and plan.
Here, however, I have begun to really get to know space. Space regarding time taken to be, versus to do. I have intellectualized this concept my whole life and have met much resistance internally when attempting to practice it. In a country where everything feels congested and confined, it's interesting perhaps by contrast, to begin to feel a sense of space.
One of our teachers told this story: A man from a village approached a wise man asking for advice. "My whole family lives together, there are 8 of us, living in one room, under one roof. We are crowded and irritable, everyone is shouting and fighting, what can we do?" The wise man asked "Do you have chickens?" The villager replied "Yes". "Bring your chickens into the house," instructed the wise man. A few days later the villager came to see the wise man again saying, "Wise man, I have done what you said. I brought the chickens into my house, it has become worse! Everyone is crowded and upset." The wise man asked "Do you have cows?" "Yes, we have a few cows," replied the villager. "Bring them into your house," instructed the wise man. Confused but obedient, the villager, with great hope, went home and brought the cows into the house. It was chaotic, family members shouting and fighting, cows laying everywhere and chickens clucking loudly.
The poor villager was extremely distraught. The next day he rushed to the wise man explaining the escalating tension. The wise man told him what to do next. The villager hurried home, removed the cows, removed the chickens, and sighed in relief. The whole room felt so much larger and spacious. The family felt like it could spread out and began to appreciate the space that they had.
The size of the room hadn't changed, but their attitudes changed. This is what is happening here for me, regarding space. My mind feels as if it is losing clutter.
The studies for the second and third week were continuations of course into the depth of yoga. Much of the material is familiar to me, so I'm able to view it more objectively. The foundation is there, so I can compare the views and wording of the East with those of the West.
We started our testing the third week, 'Public Speaking'. Here we were to take a topic, stand before the class and express it clearly for a specified amount of time. We were tested on our ability to be aware of time, our engagement with the class, eye contact with everyone, the volume of our speech, the cadence of our sentences, habits with words like 'uhh' or 'ok' etc, the manner in which we held our bodies and how interesting we were able to make our topics. Feedback was given by teachers and classmates so that the individual could improve hereafter.
The class began the formation of our 'Lesson Plans', another area that we will be tested in. We have to create a 10 minute lesson, including topic, intention, motivation, content, matter, material, evaluation and assignment. The idea is that each of us will teach a 10 minute portion of yoga class in a public school, geared toward 12-13 year olds. The topic is either one asana (posture) or one concept. The teacher must be able to apply all the 'Public Speaking' fundamentals to the 'Lesson Plan' presentation as well.
Those of us who participated in the 21 Day Better Living Course received our course completion certificates from Hansaji.
The noise of the aircraft ripping through the atmosphere has become just another sound these days, not more disturbing than the horns, birds, or shouting children. I still find breathing to be labored. The burnings, exhaust and general pollution has had a marked effect on my respiration. Pranayamic (breath control) exercises have become almost difficult. I find myself rushing when I run errands outside of the institute because it's even more polluted of course on the streets. It feels like standing in a garage after two diesel trucks have been running for an hour, combined with high altitude and below zero air. The weather has remained a steady, dry 70-85 degrees, no visible clouds in sight or signs of rain.
I have been in India now for about three and a half weeks, with two and a half more remaining. One of the questions I'm often asked is "What do you think of India?" I always find myself speechless.