om sweet home in penukonda
someone snapped this photo of Jonathan and me in our room here in Penukonda the other day... I wanted to post it to give the flavor of -- as one student here called it -- "Ma & Pa Kettle In Their Home In India!"
it's astounding to me, sometimes, when I think about it (which isn't often, these days, since the divine energy in Penukonda is so thick right now that it's hard to think, at all, about anything), that Jonathan and I have lived in this same little room, off and on, since the winter of 2000.
when we first came here, the floors were raw cement and construction crews were pounding brick and mortar and concrete and god knows what all else, day and night, on the floors going up in our building, right over our heads!
I used to chuckle when people in America would tell us, "oh, I so envy you, being able to live in a peaceful, quiet ashram in India..." and I would especially remember those misguided statements, with a particularly acidic & twisted sense of the absurd, in the middle of intense meditation programs, going 10 hours a day or more, while the construction crews were banging hammers (and what sounded like dropping BAGS of hammers) directly over our heads, in the room just above ours, until just past midnight, some nights. boom! boom! BOOOOOOM!!!!!
'peaceful, quiet ashram.....' yeah, right. in someone else's dreams, maybe!
if I've learned anything in all the years I've spent immersed in Indian spirituality, it is that paradox reigns supreme.
meditating in the midst of a construction zone has its merits -- if you can meditate here, you can meditate anywhere comfortably, no matter what is going on.
people who finick and fuss about having to have a perfectly peaceful, quiet meditation space in order to achieve their profound spiritual states have no idea what they're really missing, in my opinion! I mean, yes of course, we all enjoy the pure silence in meditation, and it's a real luxury when you can find that -- but knowing, internally, that your point of focus is so unshakeable that an earthquake could happen and you'd still be doing your meditation no matter what, is an important part of spiritual development.
anyway, having survived all of that, at least the side of the ashram we're currently staying in is more peaceful, the construction having been completed some time ago. now the new folks living in newer buildings on the other side of the grounds are getting to have the "boom! boom! BOOM!" meditation training.
I hope you'll think of us here, in our little room with our little kitchen (5' x 5') and bathroom, sipping our morning coffee, staring out over the incredible greenery of the sprawling palm and neem trees that are running amok outside our front door's balcony, enjoying the divine energy of this Shiva Rathri time and talking about the finer points of divine knowledge (when we're not in silence, meditating).