Dream Crashing On The Way to Paradise

The plan was that I would arrive a day early in Chiang Mai and check into Sripoom House. Then, I would head over to my favourite restaurant that caters to westerners like me. There, I would pig out on delicious food that I could only dream of in India.

When I went south to Gudjarat and the ashram, I did not anticipate having to eat white rice, dahl, chapatis and overcooked veggies for the next three and a half months. I did import sea weed, vitamins, minerals and Super Green powder to supplement the Indian diet. It was not enough. (I now understand how much of an oasis the Poona ashram/commune/meditation resort was. We had the safest most varied diet in India. Even fresh salads that you could eat without fear of the usual tropical third world diseases that accompany such actions.) Even with the supplements and the Yang Cheng-Fu form, my body slowly lost it’s vitality. On top of that, I ran into a new to me Indian hazard. It’s called the loudspeaker.

When I first visited India in 1976, to own even a small radio was a luxury. In the early nineties, electronic goods, though more accessible, were still something special. Now, even a small mud and wattle shack has a satellite dish on the roof. Owning a sound system is common. The Narmada River is lined with ashrams and temples that all seem to have loudspeakers stuck at odd angles from their roofs. The various priests and sadhus think nothing of playing recordings of ‘devotional music’ and chanting at any time day or night. Two o’clock in the morning, there is a burst of very loud music for fifteen minutes. Or, maybe some chanting around that time that went on for an hour. The guy in the next village believed that everyone wants to hear ‘the name of god’ from 5:30 or 6:00 every morning at a volume so high that it sounded like he was outside my window. For nine years, my time of deep sleep had been from 5:30 in the morning. This was totally disrupted. Even when he slacked off a bit and turned down the volume, my body would be in stress while the music was playing. It was often beautiful music, it just was often too loud and at the wrong time of day. There was a nine day music festival that had the ‘music’ so loud that it was literally pounding on my body. Even the Indians in the ashram had trouble with it. For some reason, I was more sensitive to it and could not ‘just accept it’ as I was advised. The result was my never establishing a good sleep pattern once my old one was broken. And, of course, my body suffered from the tension.

So, why would I stay so long in such a place? A good question. The answer is a man named Baba Puranand Bharti. From my first meeting him at the ashram when he came for a brief visit, I knew that whatever discomfort I was going to suffer, it would be worth it to spend time with him. It was. To explain to my satisfaction would mean a very long dissertation that may not even make sense in the end. To be near Baba is to have the opportunity of experiencing a very deep state of bliss. During my time in his ashram, there were events and understandings of which I am very grateful. Much was an affirmation of my life’s trajectory and much was a deepening in my trust in existence. In addition, I made some very dear new friends and got to better know some already existing friends.

So, I stayed. And, had dreams of delicious meals that I would eat in Thailand.

My departure from India was through the Ahmedebad Airport. There was a four hour drive after lunch to arrive in the prescribed time. When I wheeled my cart past the army guards into the terminal building, I found myself at the end of long serpentine queue (line in ‘merican). It eventually ended at a single baggage scanner. It took half and hour to reach the scanner belt. Along the way, I had a feeling to avail myself of the services of the plastic wrap machine for my larger piece of luggage. As I stepped around the scanning machine to retrieve said bag, the man say’s “open your bag.” Those were not the words that I wanted to hear. I said, “what does she want to see?” (there was a woman in the driver’s seat.) He says again, “you have to open your bag.” I say in an exasperated tone, “what does she want to see?” To my amazement, the woman in the driver’s seat waves me through! So much for security.

I will skip the interminable waiting in the check-in queue and, then, the hour and a quarter late departure that I am sure was because of the inadequate number of check-in queues. Between the check-in and my gate, I bought a veggie burger. I had him microwave it to kill any life that might be lurking in it. Just filler for this hungry traveller.

There was a transit in Mumbai (Bombay) to a flight to Bangkok and, then, a short flight to Chiang Mai. I nibbled on three planes and in three airports. I slept maybe two hours. I got dropped at my guest house so tired that I was afraid I might not get as many meals in at my favourite restaurant as I was hoping.

I lay down on my bed waiting for sleep. Within the hour I was writhing in agony gulping in breaths. Then… Well I won’t go into the details of the experience of food poisoning. At some point during the day I had enough energy to yell out for help. No one heard me. When I eventually was able to make it to my room door, it was late at night. No one heard me. Some time in the early morning, I woke to find that I was over the hump and feeling better (very relative term here!).

In the morning, I extended my stay by four hours and paid extra for the damage. At two in the afternoon, I got a ride in a red truck out to Baan Hom Sumanphrai School of Thai Massage and Herbal Medicine. I arrived into the hands of the two most wonderful people. I was not a pretty sight.

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Morning Salutation

Hi Friends,

Each morning here finds me at some point out in front of the trailer doing my morning workout. I used to do this in the small street that passes by. Residential streets in Japan really are small. In order for two small cars to pass, one has to pull over and come to a complete stop. My little street is used by some people as a short cut and therefore receives more traffic than would be normally generated by the neighbourhood.

The result of the above was that my tai chi and bagua forms would be interrupted at various times by an approaching car. I would notice the impending occurrence and maintaining my state as best I could step to the side of the street. Then, as the cars would pass, I would make a small bow to the drivers. Some would be surprised the first time this happened, however, almost all would bow back. If it was a repeat performance, their bow would be a genuine greeting. This would also occur with people out for a stroll with their dogs or kids going to school.

There is a lot of bowing in Japan. In the supermarket, the cashier will make a formal bow after giving you your change. There is the temptation by foreigners to write off such bows as just form and no substance. What I have found in such situations is that when I return the bow with sincerity, then, the substance of the bow is in existence and we both feel it. A bow can be a very beautiful gesture.

There is a child and mother who wait at the t-junction just close by each weekday morning for a brightly coloured kindergarten school bus. The bus has a woman driving and another woman who attends to the children. The attendant gets off the bus and approaching the mother and child, greets them and escorts the child back onto the bus. As they drive by me the driver gives a little bow and the attendant waves while encouraging the children to wave as well. What a big smile stretches my face as I wave back.

A few weeks ago, I cleared a section of the area that my trailer shares. It’s is full of large gravel set down to hold car parking. I began to practice my forms without the interruptions. It is such a pleasure to be able to move smoothly through my forms. Yet, I do miss the morning ritual of making way. I still get to wave to the kindergarten crew and say hello to the occasional person and dog who pass by. As a part of my exercise, I take a walk up the nearby street past houses where I encounter other walkers and sometimes someone out in his or her garden. I have even had short conversations at times. (Very short due to my limited vocabulary.)

Then, there have been a few mornings when I am walking along and see a person approaching slowly. The person’s head is down, there is a slight hunch of the shoulders and almost a shuffle in the walk. When I get close, I say my ‘good morning’ and suddenly a face pops up surprised and a shining smile appears immediately followed by an enthusiastic ‘good morning’. Yeh, what a good morning.

Ohayo Gozaimusu, Kundan

The Vihara Adventure

I have just been confirmed as member number ten of a group that is organising to purchase what is now being used as a Tibetan Buddhist retreat centre in Kyogle, NSW, Australia. We intend to finalise purchase in May of 2012. This is a very exciting new adventure. I’ve been searching for years for such a community to join and when I read the proposal, I knew immediately that this was for me. I’ll post more info as it progresses.

“Mindsight” Lecture by Dr Daniel Siegil

Below is a link to a Google Lecture by Dr Daniel Siegil. I feel that this video is extremely interesting and useful in understanding the functioning of the brain and mind. Dr Siegil is a child psychologist and neuroscientist. He explains in a very easy to follow way the functions and inter-relations of the different parts of the brain and how to stimulate those parts that are most identified with mental health. I hope that you can find the time to watch the video and maybe let me know what you think.

At the end of the lecture, there is Q & A. The one question the I felt he was unable to answer satisfactorily was how the brain and mind can be considered as different entities. My own feeling is that it is because he doesn’t fully understand himself. Also, his depth of understanding of meditation techniques is very limited. Having said this, I am very happy to see someone with his credentials moving people towards meditation practice. If people start to practice for “mental health” reasons, they just may go beyond to discover that which is beyond the individual mind.

Consciousness and Therapy

I have heard this kind of statement twice lately: “Sanyassins have been so busy ‘improving themselves’ that they have missed the point” or something similar. It’s funny that Osho promoted therapies and, yet, I clearly remember him talking about how refining one’s character is not going to bring you awareness. This is one of those connudrums of the masters. My own take on it is reflected in something that I remember Osho say during a discourse, “This is just to distract you while the real work happens”. To me, the therapy should be understood as something that you do while you continue your search for real knowledge. It keeps you out of trouble, maybe. In any case, it may make life easier for you til you understand the cosmic joke. Sure, many, if not most therapists do not understand that they are just shining the ego. That there is a level beyond it all that makes the therapy unneccessary. Til’ then…

A Particular Perspective of the Infinite

Hi Friends:

As this blog is called Rambling with Kundan, that’s what I am going to do. Here’s a basic one for ya:

Sitting in a meditative state; that is just watching and letting go and being aware and letting the thoughts do their thing. This often happens for me at three in the morning. A very still time. So, when this is happening it is so delicious, so fresh. Sure, I get caught by passing thoughts and have to come back to just being. What I want to talk of is that while experiencing consciousness, I realise that there are no borders to consciousness. So, if there are no borders, then, there is no ‘my consciousness’ or ‘your consciousness’; there is only consciousness.

So, what about this experiencer of consciousness. Well, I put it as being a point in consciousness or like a node. A particular perspective of the infinite, this experiencer.