The sheer amount of bats and kites that whirl through the sky is absolutely breathtaking. The sunsets are always toned with a cool milky blue made by diaphanous layers of cloud and pollution. The moon, even when high in the sky, is colored because of all the haze its reflected light must pass through to reach us. The cap of sky above us is stretched into an extensive vastness that is riddled with trails of cloud smears.
One of my favorite ways to enjoy an evening is to catch this last bit of sunset. Ideally, I will have just come home from a day like today – the morning spent in Lodi Gardens, a beautifully expansive green park with burial temples from circa 1500, then grabbing a chocolate-y mocha at a nearby market, then letting my mind stumble in Hindi class. Finally, on the way back home I stopped at a cart on the street to buy some vegetables that I later turned into a delicious and spicy curry.
A beautiful part of my neighborhood in Delhi are the vegetable carts that men pull through the streets. Full of tomatoes, eggplant, onions, garlic, ginger, string beans, cauliflower, cabbage, and okra, these carts display a mélange of color and flavor waiting to be weighted by the kilo. The men either bike or walk through the narrow streets, their carts trail behind them. Voices echo against the maze of buildings as the vendors call up to warn you of their presence.
This weekend I’m planning on making a venture to Dharmasala. Only a ten hour bus run away, it should promise some quieter spaces and a chance to do a small trek… perhaps drop-in on some yoga and experience a cooking class or two. I feel like I can’t be settled here. I can’t have too much of a routine. I can’t be too bound. My time here is only so temporary and I need to shake myself up here as much as possible.
At least, that’s how I’ve been feeling…
It’s strange. And detached.
I also applied for and got accepted to a 10-day Vipassana Meditation retreat in the south of Delhi. If all goes according to plan, I should be shut up in my mind breathing and letting thoughts come and pass for the opening 10 days of September.
A bit apprehensive? Perhaps. The other night I was the first one to go to sleep out of my three roommates – and I actually felt the aching loneliness of my bed partner’s absence. Now, to imagine myself merely sleeping alone for 10 days is one thing that crunches my inner being into a feared desolation. I take myself to be a fairly independent person; but I also am aware that emotions can creep up on you given the right environmental circumstances. I guess I am afraid to be vulnerable to a new set of emotional probes.
The actual meditation part, all day, each day, for 10 days, I know will be difficult at first but ultimately rewarding. I think of the process a little like going through a heroin withdrawal (perhaps a strong, stretched comparison, but let me delve into it before you shut it away…) The first few days of sitting silently with my breath and my body and my mind will obviously be the most challenging. New feelings will unearth themselves, and I am sure that I will be thinking and feeling a lot of things in such a raw way that they will hit me in powerful ways. The monotony may sweep over me intensely and stretch each moment to be an unbearable experience that lasts a lifetime. Don’t you think a heroin addict breaking free of his dependency would feel the length and struggle in every moment?
Forced analogy ABORT!
Anyway, it would be an experience to have. I think I could only walk away from it churning and growing. Any experience, good or bad, will take its effect; an opportunity for learning and processing. We can’t expect everything to work itself out as a perfect twist of fate. Ups and downs are how we learn and live. How we learn to live.