Speaking to Father George over a cup of chai I learnt that the Tamil language predates Sanskrit. I had no idea, and now understand why the Tamils insist on speaking Tamil and have no desire to speak Hindi.
One of the not-so-silent Americans heard me speak in the bookshop and said “Wow, you’re English! Whereabouts are you from?” It never ceases to amaze me that Americans are so fascinated with the English. I experienced the same when I lived in New Mexico. To be honest I don’t find Brits more or less interesting than anyone else. I replied that I was born in Iceland of Scottish parentage, have lived in various countries and am currently based in South Africa, so don’t feel that I am from anywhere in particular. I’m not sure that’s what he was expecting to hear, but it’s how I see things and I’m glad that I do. In the past I often heard people talk about roots being so important, and for years I worried that as mine were non-specific I was missing out on something fundamental to human existence. These days I see that it’s one less identification to let go of. Wicked. Now I’ve only got several million other identifications to liberate myself from.
Last night’s meditation was, for wont of a better word, “deep” for me. I sat for around 2 hours without moving a muscle. Unusually this was not an act of will power. There was no effort at all. There was the customary back pain, leg numbness and biting mosquitoes but I didn’t react, instead asking myself if I was those things, before directly experiencing that I was not. I was an observer to the pain which only existed in the body, not in the witness. I was not identified with the pain. I didn’t want to get up from the meditation. I felt like I could sit all night.
Today I noticed likes and dislikes arising in me. Someone had sat in my usual meditation spot this afternoon. I like my meditation spot, and didn’t like it being taken ;) I like Brother Martin’s talks, but dislike the prayers and masses - I find them painful to sit through. As I sat with these thoughts, I reminded myself to let go again. It makes no difference where I sit – it is as it is. Whilst I enjoy Brother Martin’s talks and find them inspiring, I can use the prayers and masses as tools to develop patience. Likes and dislikes provide ample opportunity to investigate and understand the sameness in and around all of it.
Last night as Nix and I walked in the ashram grounds after dinner it occurred to me that the fierce look Amma shot me during the second hug was meant to give me a kick up the arse and encourage me to stop wasting time. I feel that I’ve stepped up to another level in spiritual practice since then. Nix feels the same both for me and herself. Life and my experiences within it are making a lot more sense, and I feel very thankful. I’d like to remember this acceptance, understanding and gratitude on a more regular basis, and for this remembrance to remain unchanged by life events.
I am happy to be here. We could not be in a better place. Thank you India, and thank you Shantivanam.