Friday, January 6, 2012
Excuse my absence.
I have been gone for some time. November of last year was a very busy month with a full course load which brought with it many major papers and assignments due. I also was planning my trip to India and by the time I left I didn't have time to write for the blog. I did however bring along a beautiful journal and pen to write my thoughts and now that I'm back in the comfort of my own home, I can sit back and reflect. Well, not quite.. I am back in class come Monday and practicum starts Tuesday. Which means I'm going to be a busy guy. Yoga teacher training will also be in full swing by the end of this month. So, I guess you could say the blog will be my escape, a place for sharing new ideas and reflecting. First, allow me to address my recent trip to India from which the attached picture is from. I have wanted to go for a very long time. Several years ago my best fried Josh and I were supposed to go together, a work emergency caused me to postpone my departure and ultimately cancel my trip. It was a great disappointment at the time and Josh went without me. Now, I was planning on visiting Josh and his girlfriend in their new home on Vancouver Island but I told Josh I was thinking about going to India instead with all my time off. He thought it was a great idea. He gave me a lot of advice which included picking up a copy of Lonely Planet. Now, Lonely Planet was rather helpful but I must note that it is laid out rather poorly, meriting much confusion between the mis-colored metro lines in Delhi, confusing maps and too many instances of page flipping to find things that were on the map but didn't appear to be listed with a description. Let me be clear that my motivation for going to India was to seek spiritual enlightenment and learn about a lifestyle that involves spirituality in the everyday. This was something that deeply interested me previously but now as a yogi, I was even more motivated to explore the birthplace of yoga. I had never been to a "third world nation" What I discovered though was not as much to my liking as I would have preferred however, I believe I'm a much richer person for it. Just not richer in the way I had hoped. I am left believing that the real yoga renaissance is happening right here at home.
I left India with a real and deep sense of gratefulness, when people would ask me where I was from I would tell them Canada, they would always respond with "Oh! That is a very good country." and I would politely thank them. I didn't realize until a few days into my trip that they didn't mean Canada was picturesque or beautiful, they meant it's a good place in that we have universal healthcare, equality is a priority, social welfare programs, we take care of our people. After seeing the poverty and the suffering in India, I understood. Poverty was everywhere, the standard of living is shockingly low even when staying with my friends who by all accounts are middle or at least upper middle class.
I had a hard time being confronted with the hardships everywhere, even to see the living conditions that my friends and their children live in which by Indian standards are excellent. I grit my teeth and tried to bare what was difficult. There were times when I broke down. I saw a man in the streets desperately trying to repair a tarp that was his shelter, his efforts seemed helpless but what was I to do? Stop and tell him the tarp was ripped and tattered beyond repair, what good would that have done. I continued to walk and about five steps later I found a man digging in a dumpster, he threw the carcass of a small chicken that had been cooked to a dog that sucked at the remaining meat with it's long tongue. The man found something vegetable looking that was edible for himself and he held the minimal amount of food close to his mouth as he ate. I walked on and began to tear up. A muslim man walking with one child on his shoulders and two children walking beside him down the makeshift sidewalk stopped me, he saw what I saw, he saw my reaction and smiled at me putting his hand to my heart and gave me a long look into my eyes as if to say he knew, or that he understood and felt my pain. I don't know. I really appreciated it though.
I don't ever want to forget what I saw I just want to understand it better so that I can make use of it to help more people.
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