Day 143- grocery wars

I am down the coast at my brother’s house minding his kids with my mum and I am in the mood to cook quinoa and roasted vegetables… My mother takes me into the local bulk buy discount super market. I am almost in tears as I leave. Everything is in a package or frozen! The fruit and veg section was tiny- they didn’t even have sweet potato! And all the veggies had plastic wrapping! I am so horrified and shaken up. As I almost cry, driving home with the kids asking when we will get home, the familiar orange sign of BWS (Beer Wine and Spirits) comes into my peripheral vision. This is my shadow saying, “this is too hard, just give in, become part of the consumeristic culture and just have wine and toast for dinner…” I don’t listen. I physically swipe my forehead, deleting that old samskara (habit) from my mind. I stay strong and cook lentil and roast vegetable pie instead. It is hard trying to be in this world and yet not be affected. I was so angry at the supermarket. Why do people buy crap to put in their bodies? Why does the food industry fill us with crap? Why so much plastic!? Where are the fruit markets lining the streets? You know you don’t belong in this shiny progressive brave new world when, in all its chaos, India makes more sense.

Then I receive an email from one of my friends from the STP course in India; she is an angelic singer and always finds beautiful songs in Hindi describing the principles of yoga. This song perfectly describes my present state and has come just in time as a beautiful reminder that this is reality- this is the struggle we must all face. It would be easy to retreat to a cave and meditate but then, I wouldn’t be learning what I came here to learn. I entered this lifetime, as a woman born in Sydney, for a reason and I must learn to be in this world. Wherever I am, I must find the guru within and learn the lesson I am being shown. These experiences are actually part of the path to enlightenment, not obstructions. There is no need to cry. Just observe, find the truth and always remember the way home is to turn within.

Below the song is translated:

All my wishes and desires are visibly written on my face/forehead.
What can I ask you, really? You yourself understand
Oh Master, Protector

There are only splits, pains in my fate, oh Master/Guru
Set my fate right, dear Guru
At your doorstep, I bow my head and thus, ‘I’ extinguish and am born again. Set my fate right, dear Guru

Whoever came to your doorstep, came with the intent of letting go
They came staggering inside filled with drunkenness of worldly attachments.
They came with a thirst which was unquenched outside, you filled him up completely, fully.
They were seen drenched in Light and thus, rescued.

Chorus: There are only splits, pains in my fate, oh Guru
Set my fate right, dear Guru

There was a fragrance leading me
I lost myself in its search, in the maaya of silken delusion and despite it, I kept yearning for it.
When I started on Your path, then Truth revealed itself to me.
I held within me that fragrance all along, You introduced me to this fragrance.

Of course, I knew only how to be shattered, unfocused and splintered.
I had not learnt to follow the one reason with obedience and surrender
Let me be in Worship/Meditation, Now, I won’t go anywhere else
Don’t turn me away this time. If you do, I won’t be able to pick/gather myself from pieces.

Day 141- a bumpy landing

I’m so excited to be home, I almost run through customs. When I race to hug my mum she has tears in her eyes but suddenly four months dissolves into moments and it is like I’ve never been away.

My first stop is my favourite cafe for a soy mocha and raisin toast. It is a sunny autumn morning and the ocean is a rich blue surrounded by the sandstone cliffs of Malabar. I had forgotten how beautiful it is to be beside the ocean. Coffee tastes amazing- if there is one thing that Australians have mastered is the espresso machine. Toby’s Estate coffee beans have me in sensorial bliss. But the highlight of home is the shower. I’ve been showering out of a bucket for longer than I can remember and the luxury of running hot water was a rarity I learnt not to expect but I am now more aware of how much water a shower wastes. Actually it’s just under 10 litres per minute. So even with my four minute sand timer that I use religiously I am still spending 40 litres of water. In India I could shower with half a bucketful, maybe 10 litres total. I get out and look at my array of skin care. I have a bit of an addiction when it comes to skin products and airport shopping has attacked my credit card. I carefully apply toners and eye creams and lotions and all the other recommended products I would have read about in Vogue. Have I already become a slave to marketing? Is the consumer culture already brain washing me again? I just spent two months washing my hair with a bar of soap. It worked fine before… One outrageously expensive new haircut later and I guess my membership to the consumerist slave movement has been confirmed. Why is it considered impolite to tell a customer how much foils cost until after its all done? I know it can be awkward to make the assumption that I can’t afford it but right now I actually can’t!

Due to the 4 and a half hour time jump I missed out on sleep so I feel hungover even though I didn’t drink on the plane. I wonder around the shopping centre with my friend and mum and in my dazed state I forget what I’m looking for and end up going home with a new jacket. I feel annoyed and disappointed with myself for spending money needlessly. It isn’t that I don’t like my hair or my jacket. It’s just knowing how far that money could go in India… How many lunches it could buy for street children, how many beds for a child in need. With all the money I spent today I could send a girl from Ladli to college for a year
Dinner is my favourite- mum’s vegetable soup. I stop to pray before eating, something I’ve been doing since the Gedong Gandhi ashram in Bali. For the first time today, I feel connected to the higher self. Coming home has been a shock, I almost felt lost and a little homesick surrounded by this consumer culture, but this is all it takes to come back to self, back to true home. I don’t need to be in India, I don’t need to be anywhere on the outside. I just need to turn inwards and in stillness and silence find the cave of the heart where the holy river of life flows and the internal fire crackles and burns.

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