March 10, 2006

Barefoot In the Park

Filed under: Random — Kaveeta Oberoi Kaul @ 7:53 am

“It is not the greatness of a man’s means that makes him independent so much as the smallness of his wants”

William Cobbett

I experienced this, in my first tryst with truth while living at the Yoga institute, learning Yoga sutras and asanas. Apparently it was a mandatory stay prior to the year long teachers training course, prompted by the ‘love for anything Indian’ phase. Insiduously, however, I was ‘ trained’ in more ways than just in Yoga. I had no intention of becoming a teacher, especially after the course, since I felt it unethical in teaching solely the physical aspect of yoga, when it was meant to be ideally viewed as a body-mind relationship. Instead I taught at the Institute , for a while, where the purity of tradition was maintainable. The other reason I taught there, I confess, was selfish. I had to be in shape to be credible, so it compelled me to regularise my practise.

Once there, I was surprised to discover how little it is that we actually need. Life was suddenly, uncomplicated, simple and peaceful.

The routine we were made to follow was perhaps a way of life for our ancestors.No big deal there. They would have been possibly amused at the sillinesss of us having discarded that pattern, so assiduously worked on by them, in the first place.. Arising before dawn, meditating, positively energising oneself and ones surroundings, asanas, pranayams, frugal , healthy , nutritious, vegetarian diet, spiritual ponderings, efforts to contain ones thoughts in complete awareness,bonding with fellow ‘yogis’.

It was unimaginable that we, as in product of our times,a fairly pampered lot, fairly accustomed to our taken-for-granted- luxuries, would take to this simplified version of hermit-like life with amazing adaptability. Makes one wonder at the play of genes, and their responsibility towards this ready acceptance. We might have been a rather sane species , I suspect, in our previous ‘yogi’ avatars. Or am I speaking only for myself here? 🙂

At the end of our stay, none of us wanted to leave. We had felt cocooned and safe. Our body had been nourished, de-toxified and refreshed. The soul felt rejuvenated and cleansed of the burden of seemingly impervious impurities. We were as good as new.

Having to return to the world which now seemed strange, wicked,and bereft of innocence and its appreciation, made us misfits who had been condemned to hell after having had a taste of heaven. After teary farewells, much hugging, promises of undying friendships, keep-in-touch pleadings, we were grudgingly transported back to our homes by clueless family members,who having just witnessed an overly dramatic, emotional scene, were not quite able to fathom what the hullabaloo was all about, especially since at the commencement, a couple of weeks ago, we seemed a motley group of mature adults. This transformation was understandably, unimaginable.

The question that befuddled however was ‘How does one replicate the peace of that life ‘inside’ whilst in the world outside?”

Difficult but not impossible. After years of R&D, yours truly is gifting you the kernel of ‘her experimments with truth’, tried and tested, guaranteed.

What is needed is unwavering attention to the goal and a regular self analysis. Incorporation of the basic tenets of a yogic life, as much as possible, particularly in the areas of thought processes, diet patterns and exercises. Willful avoidance of falling into the trap of the ‘dil maange more’ mentality, so cleverly advocated by our ad gurus but so detrimental to our ‘dil’.

Apart from that , blueprint of a methodical work plan. In an effort to demolishing the wisecrack ” it is so simple to be happy, but so difficult to be simple”, let us show our mettle by proving it simply wrong. Begin at the beginning and sort out seriously, a ‘things that make me happy’ list. This is as good a start as any.. If you happen to be the ‘romantic’ kind, to whom the chirping of a bird, sound of the brook, silence of the mountains, echoes in the hills, lapping of waves on a sunlit evening, is music, then things are off to great start. Read further.( Give up, if the list includes, an island in Greece, art ,as only ‘Van Gogh’ or such like)

Recommended additions to the list,open to alteration from subjective perspective, chai and pakoras on a wet ,wet day, R.D. Burmans melodies, Mirza Ghalib’s Ghazals, the first bud on your precious black rose plant, a “mama, you are my best friend ” card from your kiddo, a warm, cheery,toothless smile from an old beggar woman who you treated to Paani Puri, the koel on your windowsill, the earthy incomparable aroma of the first rain, watching your fave film cuddled in the darkness of your room,undisturbed and free to sob heartily, being blown over by random acts of kindness from complete strangers, feeding oneself guiltlessly to huge helpings of Black Forest, while feeding the music system with Kitaro and Julio, marvelling spellbound at the myriad colors of sea-life, feeling the cool of a baby’s cheek, sharing notes such as these with your fellow beings. If any or such as these ,are capable of soaring your spirits to dizzy heights of sublime bliss…you got it made. There’s nothing to worry.

Life will turn out to be as joyful as a walk, barefoot in the park.

1 Comment »

  1. Hey Kaveeta,
    I am happy I got to read this. Its not only an inspiring piece of work but also an eye-opener. You must elaborate this concept, write more on these lines. Especially, I appreciate your idea of penning down things that makes one happy. In this materialistic world, one totally forgets that this is very important during one’s sojourn of life before one realizes one’s self. I am referring here to the “Sat-Chit-Anand” philosophy. Do you see as I do?

    Comment by Anonymous — March 19, 2006 @ 9:19 pm | Reply

  2. Totally, Anonymous.

    Without attempting to sound ‘spiritual and bring in connotations that are difficult to assimilate, what one was referring to in fact was the need to quieten the mind to discover the peace and bliss within.
    What follows as a natural consequence is appreciation of lifes bounties, whether material or godly.Then comes surrender to the divine will . Followed as a natural course is a deep look within to search for that something more.

    In a lighter vein, dil maange more should denote to this aspect of life. At least for me it is so.The restless ness led me to Vippassana. Now it seems as if a plateau has been reached. All that is required is practise and only practise in meditation.
    It is a life long search that begins with the first step. That first step is contentment.

    Comment by Kaveetaa Kaul — March 19, 2006 @ 11:24 pm | Reply

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