India

Day seven: Birthday

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My birthday (apparently — so Corinne says) starts with a morning walk to the lake, where we chant to the sunrise. I also run into Tsering by the water cooler and we make a wish on an eyelash I pick off her forehead. She gives me a nice warm hug as she leaves to spend the day in the village.

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Day eight: Happiness

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Swami Mahadev just quoted Edith Piaf’s “La Vie en Rose” as he repeats that life is not beautiful, life is not miserable, life is the mood you wake up with in the morning. It is what it is.

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Day nine: “Idhaki!”

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Today I had the best lunch yet — yellow rice (the first rice I eat in a week) with some tomato sauce and curry made with Keralan vegetables. Karma yoga was business as usual but after that Ananda asked me to join her at the Health Hut to tell me the story of how she saved a Lebanese woman’s life during the 2006 Lebanese/Israeli conflict.

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Day ten: Marmite

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Headstand Day (!) started with a thirty-minute meditation session (yes!), which was relaxing but did not go as deep under as yesterday. Then was yoga class. I offered myself up as a guinea pig to demonstrate the headstand and I did it (!) with support (literally) from the instructor.

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Day eleven: Fruit

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I’m covered with insect bites this morning, so can only sit still and meditate for a few minutes without being overcome by the irresistible urge to itch. Anyway I expect to have these initial ups and downs. Today (Thursday) is the day of the guru. It’ll be a good one. Guru bhajans galore!

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Day twelve: Shivaratri

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I need to work on my cross-legged sitting position — it feels like I’m not properly balanced and tends to quiver when I hold it for a long time. This is my biggest obstacle to meditation. This morning at satsang I could only do it for 5 minutes before completely losing my concentration.

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