This is from April 7, 2011-
It’s been almost a week since I arrived at the Aurovalley ashram. Just when I was settling into a comfortable schedule here, a group of about 15 people (plus two small children) came in the afternoon and took over the yoga hall. It appears that they’re here on a retreat for the next 10 days. Since I’m keeping silent most of the times and trying not to speak unnecessarily, I didn’t ask any questions. I only observed that they were all English speakers (mostly North American), wore all white, and about half of them wrap their heads- my guess is that they are Sikh. A few thoughts went through me in succession. I was a bit agitated that my afternoon asana practice was disrupted and I wanted to blame this group of people. I wondered whether their being here, which has more or less doubled the amount of people at the ashram, will further cause my tranquil state to be changed. I then thought, what kind of ashram rents out space for retreats? I immediately judged: sad how mine works like that.
I did my afternoon practice in my room and reflected on what transpired. I had become attached to my routine and the luxury of silence this ashram provided for me that I felt as if this group of people had invaded MY space. How funny and how ignorant of me. I’m over it now. They are obviously serious about deepening their yoga practice and while they can be a bit noisy (not judging, just an observation), they’ve brought with them a different kind of energy to the ashram. And since the asana classes here have been just disjointed series of stretching exercises (again, no judgment), it’s given me a chance to work on my own practice.
My daily schedule looks like this-
5:00 Wake up and do my morning practice; some days it happens
6:00 Group meditation
7:00 Asana and pranayama class or I do my own practice
9:00 Karma yoga: I sweep and rake leaves
10:00 Read, write, or study
11:30 Satsang: Q&A with the resident swami
13:00 Lunch then more reading, writing, studying
16:00 Asana and pranayama class or I do my own practice
18:00 Group meditation and kirtan
20:00 Movie, collective reading, etc: I do my evening meditative practice
21:30 Lights out (for me)
There is a library with all of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother’s books, and I started to read “The Life Divine” by Sri Aurobindo. I’m also re-reading my notes from KYM and typing them up; so much to think about and reflect there. But I’ve been doing some fun reading for a change as well- a little F. Scott Fitzgerald (This Side of Paradise) but mostly Jane Austen (Mansfield Park, Northanger Abbey, and currently reading Persuasion). Maybe I’ll read one of my brother’s sci-fi books or Mark Twain next (this Kindle used to belong to my brother and has on it all of the books he downloaded). My annual reading of Pride and Prejudice will take place during the long flight from India to Korea in a few weeks. Some afternoons I feel like my brain is on its own BBC movies/PBS Masterpiece Theater- I play the theme music from the BBC production of Pride and Prejudice in my head as I imagine these characters come to life. My only small complaint is the tea here, which comes tooth-achingly sweet and as weak as water. Some proper milk tea and biscuits would complete this otherwise perfect little routine I have set up for myself…
Enough on things I do not have, back to Captain Wentworth and Miss Anne Elliot. I’m about to get to my favorite part where Miss Elliot reads Captain Wentworth’s letter!