Day 5 at Yasodhara and time seems to be flying by even though in reality it’s moving the slowest it has ever done for me.
Started the day in meditation, then a good yoga stretch and some homemade yogurt with granola, nuts and fruit. I have never ate so healthy and clean. My body isn’t sure what to do with all that fibre. You can draw your own conclusions as to the outcome there…lol.
As I was eating breakfast I got a message “meet at the Mandala building at 9:00 am for some more Karma Yoga”. It’s a bit colder today so there was an option to stay in if I wanted to. Ah nope, bundle up and let’s go! We got to see a new face today, well half a face, under a mask. Mike has been at the Ashram for 3 weeks and just newly out of quarantine. He has been tasked with showing the newbies what paths to sand and where to fill it back up in the wooden boxes along the paths.
We go on a bit more of a tour first and Mike showed us some of the things we could potentially be doing as we progress. Manual labour is available at every corner when you are in a compound this size. We trudge up a hill and walk towards some stuff covered up with tarps. It turns out to be a wood splitter. Mike is confident that my companion who is 5 foot nothing and about 100 pounds and myself can operate the wood splitter. We don’t test that theory but I do have a private chuckle. At home, I am not allowed to operate the power tools probably for good reasons. Here? We shall see…oh boy this could be fun or this could be a disaster.
We continue on our tour until we get to the back of the property close to the gardens and orchard. Here is where they keep the dirt pile. There is an inside joke to how all instructions are given here. I remember it from before and I have travelled a lot since 2013. The method is to be vague about how to do things or what to exactly be doing. You may get a bit of information, for instance, put sand on the ice. Mike, being a week 3 veteran, volunteers that instructions are ambiguous. He hauled wheelbarrows of sand all around and put it on as many as trail as he could find. At the end he was exhausted and thought he would for sure get all sorts of recognition for his thoroughness. Oh dear, I suspected as he was telling us this that wasn’t the case. Here’s the thing, you can put sand on all of the trails or you can observe where the main arteries are and make sure those ones are covered first. Then if you have time and still lots of energy to burn do more. We chuckled over him sharing this vital piece of his learning with us.
In the afternoon we had a Zoom meeting to be introduced to Satsang and some things to expect in the coming weeks. It was good to see the small but mighty group and to meet more of the yogis and swamis who are in residence. What was unexpected was that one of the swamis recognized my address where I live. She said that her family had rented that very home in the 1960’s. That is crazy. Such a small world. One of the questions they had us ponder was “What makes for a good learning environment?” I have pondered this question many times in my professional career as a learning developer. So I had the corporate answer. I tried very hard to push that response down to the bottom of the pail and then allow something different to surface. I wrote down: trust, open heart, perceptive mind, mutual communication with teacher and student. I also thought about the connection between the exchange that occurs. You observe, listen, understand intent, ask questions, get feedback, then perhaps offer suggestions or introduce new ideas or ways of doing the task that take the learning to the next level.
The girls I have arrived with (I do say girls as they are both early twenties if not younger) have such amazing insight and self awareness. This generation will be the saviors of this world I am convinced. They join the conversation with such wisdom, kindness and care. They hold back just a bit and yet when they do speak up it’s profound. One spoke of “the space to make mistakes” and the other the value of asking questions and experimenting with changes to the method being shown. There is hope for this universe through these wise souls.
Another conversation lead to talk about mantras and meditation ideas. There was some discussion about “non-violence” towards negative thoughts. The practice is known as Ahimsa. The gist is that when you are aware of toxic thoughts revert to active thoughts or movement of compassion. There is more to it than that but I am sure if you are interested you will explore it further.
Final thoughts of the day? I am very ok with making mistakes, I have made many and will probably make many more. What I have started to put into practice is to change my approach after they occur. Today I was very focused on learning the songs in the songbook to have a pretty good idea of the melodies before I come out of quarantine. As I sat inside and played my piano I kept looking out at the lake and the sun moving across the sky trying to entice me to come and enjoy it. My rationale was that I had spent the morning outside shoveling sand so I was good for today. When was there ever a quota to spending time in nature. I am sure I made the mistake of missing a key insights if I would have got out on the trails. I am confident though, since I have made space for mistakes and the universe loves to give me ample “do overs” that I will spot the learning as I venture out tomorrow.
The ice along the creek and Kootenay Lake have been breathtaking. It looks like a fairy garden made out of glass.