23rd December 2014
After our usual morning class, and then practice, we’re spending an afternoon at our flat filtering water. No preparations for Christmas other than that!
But today’s work in class was on a different kind of preparation, in creating the right conditions for the practice of YOG. The journey involves leaving the mind behind and bringing the breath to the forefront. Prashant points out that we should question the term ‘mind full’, as really the mind is always there we don’t need to be anymore full of mind than we already are. The mind is also the ego determined to perform the perfect asana, but the breath offers us something else: a process, a journey of exploration. We are in desperate need of this natural gift we have been given – the breath – once the breath has gone it has gone and we are no longer alive. But it is more than that, it is an extra-ordinary instrument of perception, a vast and marvelous tool for development of awareness and for spiritual growth.
And so the day continues….
There is a shortage of Water here. Pune has expanded so quickly it has gone beyond the limits of the existing infrastructure. When we were at Balewadi stadium there were problems with the water and often we arrived in the morning to find that it wasn’t switched on. We take all that for granted. We hadn’t realised that water had to be taken there in container lorry’s as the stadium itself had been built beyond the city water supply. There is a big encampment of people near there who live under canvas with a few cows, goats, and other animals. The thought of living like that without a water supply is unimaginable. Some years ago, I contracted Bochalism, on a trip to Mexico in the month of August. and in living for a few days under material for shade on a beech, I experienced for myself, what a dangerous mix the heat of the sun and the lack of clean water is, and I came near to death. I was rescued by western medicine and by a local alcoholics anonymous organisation who took me in for several days and knew how to access a doctor.
So now I try to imagine what it is like for the people I saw near the stadium, I know that I can only imagine… and this is their daily life …… I have water to drink in easy supply and I know how I waste it. In looking out from the window of the bus very early in the morning, I see the people afresh, how very resourceful. Before I had even woken up they were up and there already, by the small fires they had lit on the ground. There were no trees there, as the area had been cleared for a new posh housing development, so they must have found the wood and paper to burn from things people had thrown away. Here the fires are burning, and the people gathered around in ‘malasana – our squatting pose’ – bare feet spread on the ground and eyes watching the heat under a pan of water. I think, about the sheer volume of work and planning this moment I saw represents.
So yesterday I was very struck by this image, how lucky we are and of the clarity of this water with the sun shining through. Geoffrey has filtered the tap water so that it can be clean drinking water for us.
These are the stairs going down from our kitchen to the floor below
It’s 2pm and we’re sitting on our roof terrace. Geoffrey has just spotted a crimson eyed bird with a green beak, looking up in India’s book of birds it’s the ‘KOEL’ a rarely seen cuckoo which lays it’s eggs in the crows nest – it’s watching from the bushes, it 2 parakeet’s have just arrived and departed from a tree that has carob shaped pods drying, the crows sounds are cawing in evidence as usual and we can here some more subtle tweeting from little birds somewhere further back in the foliage. The familiar sounds of rickshaws and motorbikes pass by below and the kites hover high above us.
Yesterday and the day before we saw a crane and it stayed all day on a branch very near us.
It’s now 3.30pm and Geoffrey has just spotted an extra-ordinary new bird we haven’t see before. It’s big with a very long tail and a disproportionally large beak with a downward curved bill surmounted by a hornlike cask – it’s called the ‘Indian Grey Hornbill’ – the nesting female horns itself into a very narrow gap in the tree trapped inside with the eggs, only to be fed by the male bird, when the chicks are ready to hatch the bird breaks open the hole to find the way out!
Geoffrey’s made friends with the family dog
Today was a very special day for me too as I went to meet and talk with Prashant. He recommended his book to me on the senses.