Day 132 – weekends, workends and wifi

It has been such a pleasure having the whole morning free to do morning Sadhana. It really does take at least 2 hours in the morning to do pranayama, asana and meditation. I have been sleeping in until 6.30am (I know, that hardly seems outrageous), and still have enough time to do the practices and get a little reading in. I skip the soggy hot milk and corn flakes at the guesthouse and instead just have a mango and some bananas. Sitting downstairs to be picked up, I practice breath regulation, exhaling for ten seconds and inhaling for five seconds. Since being taught this simple practice for extending the breath to four breaths per minute, there is no such thing as “waiting” in my life anymore. Now even these in-between moments have become part of my yoga practice.

At 11am I look at my phone for the time and come across this strange word, Saturday. I haven’t been aware of days of the week in a long time and it suddenly occurs to me that this is a ‘weekend’, which means no work for most people. I call Mr Prabhaker to confirm and he says that yes, I have the weekend off. I decide to go for a walk and stumble across a small café called Brewberry’s, for which I have learnt to have no expectations. When I see the WIFI sign and the near perfectly frothed Hazelnut cappuccino appears, I almost weep. Good coffee and communication may be small to some but are like water in the desert for a traveller. Jaipur kind of does feel like the desert, though. It is dusty, hot and dry and even with the clouds gathering, the rain refuses to fall.

With the rest of my day free, I wonder into a shop and spend way too much money on a fancy kaftan. I know I have been in India for long enough when $14 seems expensive… I walk half a kilometre down the road to a huge vegetarian restaurant called Dana Puni. The Russian Salad is pretty much fruit salad covered in thick white sauce with a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds on it. I don’t think India is really the place for salad eaters. My vegetable special appears with flakes of silver all over it. It is so pretty I almost don’t want to eat it!

I spend the afternoon on the yoga mat and for only the third time since finishing the Self Transformation Program at Sadhana Mandir, I try Yoga Nidra. I am at the entrance to the cave of the heart, the deepest part of the practice, when suddenly the wind picks up a heavy door downstairs and violently throws it against the frame. I feel my whole body suddenly, as though my soul has just been thrown back into it. I take some deep breaths to slowly come back out of the practice and then sit up. The sky thunders and flashes, but the rain still does not appear.

After dinner, Mr Tyagiji, the owner of the guesthouse, overhears me in a conversation about detachment vs renunciation with a student staying here, Chinmay. Sitting back in his chair, he offers some sage-like wisdom, that there is no true renunciate in this world. From the moment we are conceived, we require the act of two other parties to make this happen, then during birth, we require the help of our mother, of the nurses and doctors and family. As we grow older, we require the help of society to feed us; even the Sadhu’s must beg for alms and when we die, we rely on other people to burn the remains. So, there is no true renunciation for we always rely on other people to help us. He then goes on to suggest that detachment is difficult but it comes when we do our work with honesty and sincerity and not worry about the result. “Leave the result to God,” he says. “That is true detachment.” Almost like he knows my story, he goes on to say that marriage is not a bane, but a boon; that it is better to be a part of society and serve others in this way. He says that even a sadhu is selfish, for he sits in meditation, alone in his cave for his own enlightenment. “With the flame of one candle, you can illuminate thousands of other candles. What good is enlightenment if you do not share it with the world?”

Feeling more at home here with this kind grandfather, I make to go to bed to contemplate everything that he has said when Chinmay asks me to follow him. Reluctantly, I comply and am introduced to a small party. Meeting Rup, who is stuck in her room with a broken leg, is a pleasure and once again I realise that even though I came to India alone, once again I am surrounded by friends. Being offered cigarettes and whisky, I politely decline but eventually accept a cup of whisky. It tastes awful! I am relieved to see that at least my taste for heavy alcohol has dissipated. I allow myself the forgiveness to move on from this momentary lapse and go to bed at 10.30. How strange I must seem to this group of young Indian students- I come to India to get away from alcohol, to wear my mala and shave my head, eat spices and meditate. I guess it would be like someone coming to Australia and wearing a cork-hat and trying to wrestle crocodiles.

Reflecting on my day, I remember Mr Tyagi’s advice on detachment- do the work, leave the result to god. The world will always be there to offer me distractions from fashion to alcohol, but if I stay on the path and just practice then the rest is up to the divine. It is all about being in the now- if I am here now, then the result is just part of that uncertain future.

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