Sunday, December 18, 2011

Mysore musings

Sitting up this morning waiting to head off to the shala before the dreaded weekly led intermediate class leaves time ticking by at a painfully slow rate.  I have been thinking about how selective memory can be, and there are so many little things about being in India, or even in Asia, that had slipped back into the recesses of my mind, when I thought they would be stamped indelibly on my memory.  The first day back in town I watched how the shopkeepers are so careful to use only their right hand as they pass you whatever change you might be receiving, and your purchase, and I realised how quickly I had fallen out of that habit.  When I lived in Indo it was the same story... right hand for eating, greeting people, exchanging money etc, left hand is for all things 'dirty'.  Essentially it is the poo hand, when you are using the bucket of water system in the toilet as opposed to the roll of tissue system.  Enough about poo hands though, I just couldn't believe how easily I slipped out of the habit, and then immediately back into it as soon as I saw it happening.  Other things like being asked my 'good name', (as opposed to the bad one??) having a handful of lollies presented in lieu of a few rupees change, or the Hari Krishna parade that passes through Gokulam at about 5:30AM on Sunday mornings had also evaporated from my memory, but upon re-experiencing them, it is like the most normal thing in the world.  Watching Sarah see them for the first time is pretty fun though; the excitement and wonder are apparent on her face and even when we encounter something less pleasant, like the beggar with the deformed cow that was following us down the road yesterday, she keeps cool and carries on like it is nothing out of the ordinary.  As for this guided intermediate class, I had also forgotten how tortuous it is over the course of the year, but was certainly reminded the last two Sundays, and will be reminded again this morning.  The hard postures are held for what feels like years while the more comfortable ones come and go in a flash, and just when you think, ahhh thank goodness, closing postures, you realise he intends to hold those for ages as well.  It is a physical challenge to be sure, but the mental focus and discipline are perhaps even more difficult. 
Much learning is there (head wobble).   

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