Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Digging in the dirt

Karma yoga....

If I remember correctly from the description of the program of the weekend, it said something about doing light tasks like helping in the kitchen. I thought that we might learn how to cook Ayervedic food by preparing our own meals.... unfortunately, I was wrong. The only thing we were allowed to do in the kitchen, was the dishes...

After our breakfast, we went into the central room where we did the breathing exercises in the morning. Swami Mario gave us the introduction to karma yoga, or "yoga of selfless service".
Basicly it means you do thing for others or a community without expecting something in return. He told us how he had worked for days in the summer to help build one of the buildings of the ashram and how good he felt doing that.

Since there was 10 of us, he had decided to let us do karma yoga in smaller groups. My wife was put together with 2 other women. They had to vacuum the ashram. Another group of women was told to clean the toilets and showers. As for me, I was put in a group with the other guy and his wife.... and we had to work in the garden. The 'monks' had the idea to move part of the garden to another spot - so we had to remove the fence that was around that part, dig out all the plants they wanted to keep and then spade the entire area so it would look clean. And we were asked to do this mindfully.

I was lost for words (and then again I wasn't). So we had to do all the unpleasant taks in the ashram, while the 'monks' would walk around "peacefully" and basically do nothing? Without even having had a first decent exercise in how you should do these kind of things mindfully?

The grass and weed in the garden was so high, I could hardly see the plants that we were supposed to move, let alone the fence we were supposed to remove. I was really annoyed but glad to see that my 2 team members shared the same feeling. We started venting our frustrations and were aligned as a group - this was unbelievable.

I'm sure swami Mario noticed my frustration when he asked if everything was OK. I told him that we would need some tools like a hand mower before we could even start the karma yoga. He asked me to go with him to the shed in the back to look for the tools I needed. I sensed that he just wanted to seperate me from the team... and I was right.

"How do you like it so far" he asked while walking to the shed - "I don't, not at all" was my spontaneous reply. So in the shed, instead of looking for tools, we had a long discussion - on how the program he communicated was unclear and how the rest of the group was sharing my feelings and were not getting what they had expected (but did not speak up for some reason). It was a good discussion and he insisted on ending it with a hug.... ok, what-ever.

My wife had finished her tasks and called me on my way back to the garden. She wanted to have a private discussion with me. I had promised her to behave, guess I just had crossed the line by going into discussion with 'swami' instead of doing the karma yoga.
"If things continue here like they have done so far", she said, "I want to leave this evening and not stay for the Sunday".....
I was soooo happy - she had had a similar discussion with swami Mario and now we were both on the same page.... this type of karma yoga and the aarti babaji - not our cup of tea.

Time for Ayurvedic lunch....

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