Wednesday, January 16, 2013

"Thank you Earth for the life lessons."

One of my favorite reading spots
Are we living to die or dying to live?  This thought rolled through my mind a few days ago.

Lesson #1:

As I approached the MT entrance, I noticed that "the man from under the tree" was out front and sitting in a rickshaw.  He had a freshly amputated leg and just starting to physically recover, so where could he be going?  I did ask one of the Sisters, he had started to act up the day before and wanted to leave.  They cannot force anyone to stay, of course.  It turns out that many of the alcohol and drug abusers want their drug of choice when they are well enough to consciously miss it.  Definitely a world reality.  All the MT House can do is offer care and services with an open hand and yes, they will take him back anytime too.  What a beautiful practice--forgiveness and unconditional care in action.

I also asked, how does one know if the person wants to live when they are rescued.  The three of us housemates had that discussion when we saw him under the tree.  How does one know if the person just wants to die and leave their body or to be helped.  The Sister was startled by my question and replied that everyone wants to live.  I am not so sure.  Interesting for me to note that I had no internal reaction as I examined the cycle of "the man from under the tree."  Just gratitude for the life lesson.

Gurudev had said that at some point when I looked at my photo trio (Pahari Baba's shoes, ashram lotus, and a dying dog/man under the tree) that I would have the same feelings.  I cannot say that I had the inner bliss that I had experienced in my morning meditation at the Ramakrishna Temple, but I didn't experience despair and anguish. Just witnessing.

Lesson #2:

While out walking my hill fitness test walk, I started to get a sinking feeling about all of the men on motorcycles driving by.  In India there are usually 2-4 per motorcycle.  Were these thoughts paranoia or something to respect after the deluge of information on gang rapes?  I decided to look for a stick to carry and I happened to find one with metal wire even wrapped around the end, so I continued.  At one point while coming down the hill,  a threesome stopped and were not acting in a trustworthy way, so I picked up a large rock too.  Now I am walking with a stick and a stone. (After talking to many native women, I am finding that my techniques are right in line with theirs:  yelling, slapping, rock throwing, and more.) As I reached the bottom, there was a police check point.  One of the motorcycle drivers was trying to escape, so I struck him with my stick as he drove by.  Unfortunately,  I wasn't able to stop him, but the police people thanked me and complimented me on my attempt.  Life lesson?  Another look at personal danger.

Wall at the end of the street getting a facelift
As I am running up the stairs to the gym, this woman is balancing a load of bricks on her  head and walking up the stairs.

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