Friday, March 15, 2013

on being quiet

One of the signs in the ladies' locker room...

I've missed this blog. I've missed writing about Mysore and my experiences here. I'd meant to keep it up for this season, but somehow my attention slipped. With only a week to go before the shala closes, I feel overwhelmed by all the things I wanted to share but haven't.

Over the last two trips, this blog, which I started to keep friends and family back home abreast with my India adventures, was also a way of processing practice here in Mysore. It helped me understand what I was going through, it put the alchemy of being here into words.

In many ways, I've been busier than in previous years--if that's even possible! And writing has not been as big a priority as simply being.

In truth, most of the last 11 weeks (I can barely believe that's how long I've been here now!) have been utterly indescribable. For example: how does one properly relate how practice just peels and peels away different layers of self, leaving one so raw sometimes, so delicate? Or the sound of 65-some-odd people breathing, moving into different shapes, many quietly subtly working through their own stories, creating this awesome group energy? Or how we might have these moments outside of the shala, where we share just the most sublime experiences with people we might have nothing in common with other than the practice, and just feel so much love and camaraderie?

In other ways, my silence has also been self-imposed. In trying to conserve energy, I've been more insular, more protective when it comes to putting myself out there. Assisting through February, I wanted to focus my efforts. I was wary of too much noise, afraid of the unnecessary details one hears at the coco stand or around the cafe breakfast tables. I didn't want to overhear how this assistant was good or, worse yet, how this one was not so--I didn't want to invite any of that into the experience. So I myself have been very very quiet.

When it comes to practice, as with life, there is no one way, no template for "getting things right." Each Msyore adventure will be whatever beast it needs to be. Sometimes it's good to be in the thick of it. Other times, going solo is necessary. Now, as I come out of the solitary confinement of my own making, I realize that my need for quiet has also been a reflection of my own fears. And that by blocking out the possibility of absorbing any negative vibrations, I may have been isolating myself from the positive as well. Still, I respect that whatever process comes naturally is how it needs to be.

Now: one week to go. How did that happen? How did eleven weeks pass so swiftly?  How do I even go about putting the experience into words?

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