"In my opinion, you need to regenerate and replenish
yourself, and a good way to accomplish that is to let your mind
go blissfully blank. At least consider it, please. Give yourself
permission to space out about the intricacies. Steep yourself in
the primordial ooze where everything is everything."
That is the second half of my weekly horoscope according to the incomparable Rob Brezsny of Free Will Astrology.
I would like to address this next thought to Mr. Brezsny personally, "Sure, Rob, Sure. I'd love to do that, but I'm in India. Thank. You. Very. Much."
My mind will not still itself for more than an hour at a time. Sleep only comes in chunks of 4 or 5 hours at the most. Like my sense of peace. Sporadic moment of peace, sporadic moments of sleep. The rest of the time there is nothing but the noise in my head and the noise outside: car horns and men hounding me, which is really bad in this part of India because of all the tourists that are turning Kerala into the new Goa.
Many Keralan men have come to think of tourist gals as, "bad women" because many drink and smoke and have sex with whoever they want to. I hate to say it, but those "bad women" are making it hard for us "good" ones, the ones who did not come to India to get laid, not that I think most of those so called "bad women" really did either.
When I was preparing to come to India I said that I wanted a shift in perspective. Well, sure enough, I'm getting it. I can now relate to how dark skinned middle eastern men must feel when they travel and get scared looks from other passengers at the airport who are secretly wondering if there is some terrorist plot underway. Racial profiling sucks. When I walk down the street in Fort Cochin I get either lusty looks from every other man, or sneered at by every other woman because I am walking alone with my pale white skin so, obviously, I'm a slut.
Ok. Ok. I'm probably blowing things out of proportion. It's just been a hard day. I decided to spend almost two weeks in Fort Cochin so that I could just settle in and relax and get my grounding. But Leelu and Roy, who are gems, are having to shuffle me around from room to room and, now, to a completely different hotel for one night because of previous Internet bookings. They are treating me like royalty in every other respect. Roy is even giving me free lessons in Malayalam, the Keralan language. But "settled" I am not. I haven't even been able to unpack.
Furthermore, I can't sleep. Add to that, I'm still sick. Top that off with almost constant sexual harassment every time I leave the building and I JUST WANT TO GO HOME.
Oh, my God...what a baby....
That's not even the first cry I've had today.
I went to dinner with this gorgeous older woman, Sally, who is also traveling by herself. She's from California. She's a Zen Buddhist and she obviously knows why she came to India. I was telling her that I really don't know, at the moment, why I came to India. I'm lost. Restless. Untethered.
"Maybe I should start doing yoga," I said.
"Or, just get quiet. Do you meditate?"
It was like she had read my mind. Probably not hard to, since it has been so very very loud in there.
After my cry, which I cut short out of fear that I would never stop if I let completely loose, I had a tiny thought which had slowly been elbowing out all the other bully voices in my head. The little seedling idea was this: what if the reason India is the land of meditation, yoga, chanting is because if at least half the people who were here didn't work really really hard to balance out their minds with meditation or yoga or chanting then the entire population would just spontaneously combust from the intensity of the noise inside and outside their heads?
Certain friends and family have been trying to get me to meditate for years. I do meditate, in my own way. I go out into nature, be it the forest or the water's edge and sit still and listen.
Today I went out to the seawall to watch my first Indian sunset, thinking that the water and sky would calm me and I could just breathe for a while, readjust my sensitivity meter which was idling at VERY HIGH.
Remember when I told you Wednesday was Republic Day? That's today. It's a national holiday. The sea wall was awash in people. I was in the wrong place to find peace and quiet.
But, I stuck it out. I found a spot to perch and took pictures and tried to connect with, well, something, anything that made me feel linked in to something bigger and more important than myself and all the turmoil that was going on inside.
There was a delightful group of kids playing Frisbee on the beach. They were as exuberant and giggly as any group of kids I've seen on any beach in the world. The difference was that the beach they were playing on is hideously disfigured with trash, piles of single shoes and Styrofoam and cans and God knows what. So many people were strolling barefoot amongst the debris as if it was not there. The trash cans on the seawall were completely empty.
More noise. The voices in my head all turned together towards the trash and the people who were behaving as if all that trash was normal and started (silently) screaming, "How can you do this? How can you litter our planet like this? How can all this trash be ok with you?"
Of course, I have no idea if it is ok with the people who call this country home. But if it's not, why is there so much garbage everywhere. The future that the movie Wall-E depicted is not that far away, people. Just come to India and you can see a preview of what it will actually look like.
Ok. Ok. I know, quiet down. I've got to get quiet.
Which brings me back to Sally's question, "Do you meditate?"
I think it's time I learned. I mean really learned.
It's the only way I will make it here for 3 and a half months. I've got to find a retreat or, yes, ashram where I can go and learn how to be quiet. Someplace where I don't have to think about anything else like navigating stares and such like.
I've got to make it to the 4th of February and a greatly anticipated visit with my friend Gary first.
So, till then, I'm going to do my best to, what did Rob say, "space out about the intricacies." and "let everything be everything". You know, right after I obsessively scour the Internet for the perfect meditation/yoga/chanting retreat.