As the US approaches a holiday weekend, Independence Day, I often feel a personal quandary about this holiday. Since I am in India (receiving necessary therapies for ongoing post-concussion symptoms), my reflections have a different feel to them.
The great Mahatma K Gandhi was instrumental in freeing India from British colonization, which began near to 1608, according to some historians, and ended in 1947. For India to regain its independence from Britain was a profoundly meaningful act. Gandhi’s life was lost in the process, but the freedom he wished for the people of India was won.
I am awake at 2 am IST everyday. Though it’s not intentional, this does give me leisurely time for my yoga practice! Darkness surrounded my personal porch. I’ve enjoyed the early morning darkness in my yoga practice for decades. In the US, my practice time is 5 am. Here, jet lag induces an even earlier practice. I have come to see what the teachings meant about the auspiciousness of the vata window of the night, which begins at 2 am. A long time ago I learned about monks who would awaken to practice at this time. Inspired, yet unwilling, I went on to enjoy my 5 am ritual. I had to work, afterall, I said to myself in protest. I couldn’t show up drowsy for my students!
For the first 3 days, I was the only one awake. It was luscious!
On the 4th morning, the porch across the way from me was lit up and someone was sitting in meditation with a small candle flame like they’d been there for hours. It was only 2:15 am! “Who is intruding on my personal dark morning practice?!”, I asked myself. Followed by intrigue (and annoyance) that anyone else would be awake at this time at all. “How dare they get here before I did!”
Getting into the back of the taxi, my affect was dull and inward. I did not have the energy to be more congenial with the driver, nor the staff person accompanying me. My ears had been blocked since I arrived in India. I felt like I was living on a boat, walking about with an internal swaying sensation that caused me to occasionally brace myself on the nearest post in the outdoor corridor of the beautiful, tranquil and loving Ayurveda Healing Center where I had come … to heal.