"Sooner or later, fate puts us together with all the people, one by one, who show us what we could, and shouldn't, let ourselves become. Sooner or later we meet the drunkard, the waster, the betrayer, the ruthless mind, and the hate filled heart. But fate loads the dice, of course, because we usually find ourselves loving or pitying almost all of those people. And it's impossible to despise someone you honestly pity, and to shun someone you truly love.
-excerpt from Shantaram, by Gregory David Roberts
So...I've had an interesting several days. Also, I have had some really interesting conversations with people. Damn interesting. I find I am a much better listener than talker...and every time I listen...a light bulb goes off...a new insight comes to the forefront...or maybe a message I've needed to hear or was ready to hear. Like for instance, I met an Iranian graduate student at my routine evening stint at the coconut stand. We struck up a conversation after I laughed at his reaction to the obscurely small coconut that was handed to him. He wasn't too happy about it...but when I made light about it, his reaction softened. Anyway...it was so fascinating because I got to hear his point of view on various issues that have baffled me or that I have been curious about. What truly surprised me was when he told me that he liked President George Bush. I was like...Whoa...I gotta hear this one. I had to ask him over and over if he was serious. However, from his point of view, as being Kurdish...he has felt support from the U.S. and has been happy with some of our policies. Hmmmm....interesting. Now, I am not saying I agree with everything the U.S. does, as of late, is right...but, I am learning that it is so much better to have an opinion on something after learning every angle first. On the other hand though...part of me feels I don't even want to have an opinion on anything anymore...I just want to learn as much as I can about people and the world...and go from there. Of course, being a woman, I had to get his perspective on that. I must admit, the covering up with only a small slit for the eyes is something I don't understand...and I'm not sure if I ever will. He told me he wasn't for it, but he is part of the few. Positive thing though is that he said that over fifty percent of the population in his country are young people...and in the next 10-15 years much will be changing in that part of the world. That was his forecast anyway. I just find people's perspectives on life fascinating. However, the one perspective that never changes is that we all want happiness...love...and a purpose or passion that moves our soul.
So...I have also had the pleasure of visiting some of the sights outside of Mysore yesterday....and I must say that Bylakuppe...home of the Golden Temple is one of the most amazing places I have ever been. I am not sure how many hundreds of Tibetan Monks are settled here, but they range from the age of as young as around seven years old. This place is like an oasis...with beautiful temples and gardens...all dedicated to finding peace and serenity within and is a training ground to then send it out into the world. Just the energy of this place was magical. Seeing the monks in their robes and the smiles on their faces proved that one doesn't need much to feel this sense of fulfillment. All I can say is this place is something special...
After Bylakuppe we trekked over to Madikeri...a plantation town where coffee and bananas are grown. This quaint town is nestled in the hills...and we were able to see incredible views of the country side...green mountains that reached up into low laying clouds...absolutely beautiful. Lastly we ventured to Abbey Falls...and then visited a Hindu Temple where a ceremony was taking place...I was a little confused at what to do...it being my first time...but I just followed along...eventually ending up with the red ash in between my brows...pretty cool...
With yesterday being a moon day...and today the usual Saturday off...I have really come to enjoy these free days. Truly taking the rest. Before, I would still practice on moon days...Saturdays...and such...but I have to say I am really beginning to understand the meaning of taking these days off. Not doing anything "extra" on the side. Sometimes, being an Ashtanga practitioner there is a bigger lesson in the not doing than the doing. I mean, come on...we are a very motivated bunch...I dunno...just something to think about. Peace.