Big Smiles Today, Inside and Out...All Day....aaaahhhh : )

Allahabad Travel Blog

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me in front of a very special banyan tree here at the ashram.

Well, well it’s 10:19 on March 9th and I don’t feel like I can really write what’s on my mind. I was having a great day today …about three quarters of the way through it and then a drop off again. Moody me? Whatever. From my point of view there’s a million logical reasons for one to be moody here. Here is the ashram in Allahabad by the way. Now that I’m sitting in my room…our room….Scott is starting to drift off into sleep land and I’ll do the same once I do some of this writing and get settled to bed. I decided I’m not going to morning meditation tomorrow and frankly, I’ll take it day by day to determine if I want to follow the scheduled meditation times at all. I have numerous reasons, but ultimately, I think I’ll be happier doing things a bit more on my preferred schedule and meditating without the aid of the recordings of guruji which often include alternating of instructions in Hindi and English which is a hindrance to my practice.

the place where we wash our dishes after meals.
I really don’t need any more hindrances I figure. So! I’m happy to be thinking that I’m going to get a longer sleep than usual tonight. Traffic noise is very apparent but not like it was four weeks ago which was towards the end of the Mela Festival. I’ll explain a bit of the events of my day….last evening we were told that we would be departing at 8am to head back home to the ashram which would be a couple hour drive so everyone should be packed and ready and we’d have breakfast at the ashram. Well, we didn’t leave until after 1pm and we ended up eating breakfast at the hotel we were staying at. Don’t get any visions of Holiday Inn’s…I slept on a floor in a room which held 5 of us all in a row and a rat enjoyed a rest on my pillow as well as a trip in my sleeping bag and believe it or not that had little to no effect on my day or mood or whatever. He was a cute little rat…and apparently we had something in common as we both wanted a better place to stay : ) Anyway, as far as breakfast goes….
this is amanda, she is 8, she is from canada.
.it’s made by ‘our people’…all on the floor in a makeshift kitchen which we’ve done during our whole trip. Morning breakfast was rice, dal (beans…this time with 0 flavor) and subgee…don’t know how to spell it but it means vegetables with spices….today’s was particularly hot and it was composed of potatoes and cauliflower. And we had roti…whole wheat tortillas…wheat flour and water are the only ingredients. Oh yeah and an piece of red onion. So, that’s breakfast  and most of the time we eat with our hands and by the way, dinner which is always at least 7 hours later than breakfast is always a very similar menu. And the 7 hour food gap can easily stretch to 15 hours or whatever and we’re never given any notice. Okay, so I’ve become very accustomed to all of this… I was in a very good mood this morning because I got a good sleep and I was feeling better physically, overall, and I think I was looking forward to getting back to the ashram in contrast to the sometimes grueling feeling of being on the road, particularly since I have been coping with one physical challenge after another.
a very large bee hive near our dining hall. huge ones were seen at varanasi...huuuge.
And so, it was a sunny morning and people were happy and chit chatty and seemingly going through a lot of what I was going through in terms of a better mood. But then, I think what happens is by the end of the day……another full day of schedules that have no meaning, food that is….um…..hmmm…..let’s just say that dinner was cold tonight and there was no water for us (boiled for us westerners) to put in our bottles and it’s always this case that you never really know when you’re going to eat next so lately I’ve found that I’ve been eating more than I really want to avoid the starving/frustrating feeling later and this isn’t good. Scott says I look better/healthier than I have for a long time…I don’t agree…’s probably all pretty subtle and doesn’t matter anyway…I’m fine and I’m fed and my ankle is healing up and all my bug bites and even my upper respiratory infection seems like it’s at least on the mend…I’ve had it ever since I got to India so this has really tired me out too. Two nights ago I confirmed that I have an allergy to brazil nuts as I had a really bad reaction…..another drama which had me vomiting again and again in a particularly rotten bathroom and the swelling throat etc. etc….but I recovered by the next day just in time to enjoy a severe migraine which I believe was brought on by the intensity of the allergy attack. So, um, yeah…that didn’t stop me from doing the sightseeing and traveling, it just makes everything much harder….visiting Varanasi was really neat but I really could not help but think again and again how different it would have been to be seeing it with someone else or a different group or whatever. There were nice things about doing it as we did, but I couldn’t help but to think of the alternatives as well. This Kriya Practice includes having us not to ever think in terms of comparison..never to complain…and to always think of every moment as the most high. Not to think of past or future….not to think in terms of duality… pleasure, no pain…no good, no bad. So when I say I thought of alternatives….um, that’s not in line with how I would be thinking had I been a better student. Anywho…. : ) I seriously don’t dwell on any of the challenges, rather I truly have applied all approaches as is instructed by Swami Satyam,….Guruji  to most. And my experiences, moments, insights, progress, interest, focus, etc……during this practice towards Yog (yoga, god union), elimating space between mind and body has yielded good deep progress. The physical challenges are opportunities to practice harder and so I have done so. Tiring though….inspiring, rejuvenating….but tiring too.


No internet access here tonight. And we’re out of phone minutes. So, tomorrow or sometime soon I will either walk towards some vendors or get a ride into town to fill some things on my shopping list. I started this by saying that I woke up in a good mood but by this evening it had shifted back to thoughts of weariness and wondering if I was done with this trip already….I can tell you right now that tomorrow morning will feel differently again. The sun of the morning and day does wonders for me and when I take a little bit of my life back and get cleaned up and do some laundry and just meditate in a quiet place once and a while when I want to and eat something when I’d like or what I’d like….everything is much better. Now, this is laughable to Scott maybe or some others because our 3 week spiritual tour was supposed to be about breaking habit an overcoming aversions and the things I just mentioned would be an example of how I have certain habits and won’t be happy until I get some of them satisfied. And if that’s the case, from time to time I’m quite willing to where the hat of the unenlightened yogi from Lyndhurst who wants a cup of tea sometime (I had one tonight…and not as much as I wanted, but still, it was great). There’s one mosquito in this room that I’ve seen so far. I’m  weary of the bugs sometimes too. This morning…even though the bathrooms were pretty rank, I found myself at great ease in them and particularly gave thanks for the lack of mosquitos….really now….going to the bathroom in some of these conditions is one thing but to have to deal with being bitten while going is a whole other thing that I was getting weary from. Doing the Indian squat style has been even more challenging since I sprained my ankle too.


I must say, I feel better just writing all of this stuff right now. Thanks folks.


I uploaded all of my photos from the camera to this laptop….over 630 of them so far…so now I can clear the memory card and have room to take many more. Thanks CJ for pointing out that I did have the proper cable for a direct upload. It was connected to the docking station (which got fried with a power surge here). A surge protector is on my shopping list unless I can borrow one from the ashram while I’m here. CJ suggested I bring one but I just didn’t want to lug one more thing. I already have too much stuff and have had to pack and unpack and lug luggage more than you could imagine.


Well, I’m laying on top of the sleeping bag which is up on a bed. I could opt to sleep on the bed but the warmth of the bag is nice and I’m getting accustomed to it….we’ll see. Guruji forbid (like, God forbid) I create a new habit while I’m here…like getting attached to sleeping in a sleeping bag!


I could list quite of few things that have been challenges or problems or frustrations etc…..but truly most of it is just that for me….not things that I really feel angry about or really negative, but it would sound like complaining which I don’t want to do. One of the things is the Hindi language…….I’m really not interested in learning Hindi well (Scott is) and I’ve found that it’s just one more thing that I feel I have to overcome….listening to what essentially is constant ‘noise’ which is Hindi, not to mention the inability to communicate. Again, under different circumstances, I don’t think it’d be as much of an issue but on the trip and when I’ve been so weary from others things, it’s just one more thing on top of it all.


Most days I’ll wonder what I think of all of this….would I do it again….would I ever recommend it to someone else…do I think it has served me well, etc. And most days I simply choose not to answer it…I’m in the thick of it and I’ll think about it later as most everyone here suggests anyway. They say it’s when you go home that you are ready to do it again. Well, I can vouch for that today because even though I was in a really good mood earlier and I’m feeling alright now, I would say that I would not choose to do this again even though in many ways it’s certainly been an experience of a lifetime…one that probably will leave me with an expanded consciousness and maybe simply a better person. Well, that’s a pretty big deal for a trip huh? But to say you’d do it again? I guess it’s like this… know those individuals who say that Cancer of the like has been the best thing that’s ever happened in their lives because of what it pushed them to face in their lives…that they never would have grown the way they have had it not been for their affliction?  Well….many attest to that perspective but if you ask them, would you want to get it or something else again……ummmm, I don’t think the answer is usually yes.  That’s what I think my feeling is about this. Today anyway. I do think I’d embark on something ‘similar’ though.


See…this is so weird….moody I guess. Earlier today I was thinking and somewhat amazed that going on another trip with this group in a couple of weeks to local villages to introduce them to Kriya Yoga might be a good thing to do and then tonight I was thinking the opposite and feeling a bit stressed about the rest of our time here and now after resting here and writing this I’m thinking about the particulars of the village trip and feeling good about it.  It might be nice depending upon which cast of characters go and/or what my attitude will be. There’s one person in our group who particularly and intentionally seeks quiet and solitude (even when among the group) and kinda does his own thing regardless of the group and I could so easily see myself doing that but in a way it just seemed that it was not what was expected by the group ….but who knows…anyway, my point is that I continually find myself looking back towards myself for answers to ‘how to be’ ‘what to do’ ‘what I want’ ‘what’s best’ for the remainder of my time here. Everyone is different. I guess I shouldn’t hesitate to push more for doing things as I’d like…..but truly…..this is a community of people and well, it’s just weird to me to think of doing as I like regardless of the whole….not that I’d do anything that would hinder them, but…argh….tough to explain.


I’m tired. Sorry I didn’t get around to telling you something about the sights and sounds in Varanasi. It’s truly a remarkable place on this planet. Truly remarkable. Don’t know if I mentioned that throughout or spiritual tour we visited key sites as were mentioned in the book, Autobiography of a Yogi. For those of you who know: Yukteshwar’s Ashram and temple and place where he lived ..we saw some of his belongings…chair, bowl, shawls. Banyan tree in Calcutta where (uh oh, I’m not positive on this one…hmm, I think I know), Yogananda’s School for boys in Ranchi, Lahiri Mahasaya’s home and where he bathed in the Ganges, room where Babaji appeared to Yukteshwar, place where Buddha was born, place where Buddha achieved enlightenment.


OKAY IT's now March 10th at 7:03 pm and I'm live at the computer. It's time for dinner and I'm happy for that. This has been my best day yet in every respect. I won't share details because this connection is touchy and comes and goes every few minutes. It was warm. I got cleaned up and it was nice to get settled here at the ashram. My meditations are nice...we are scheduled to have 5 sessions a day...we have one tonight at 11p.


Neat connections with people and locals.


Happy Birthday David Lynch. : )


Scott's good too....only minor annoyances for him I believe. Today he spent much time doing lots of laundry and was quite happy to have found one last pair of clean underwear to wear until the laundry is dried.


Until next to you all....and our adventures continue....


Big smiles from me today.....






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me in front of a very special bany…
me in front of a very special ban…
the place where we wash our dishes…
the place where we wash our dishe…
this is amanda, she is 8, she is f…
this is amanda, she is 8, she is …
a very large bee hive near our din…
a very large bee hive near our di…
photo by: royalrider