When you study yoga for 20 years, there will inevitably come a time when you feel called to venture to India. At least for me, that is what happened. I always had a feeling that I would get there, but it wasn’t until last year that I pulled the trigger and signed up for the South Indian pilgrimage through Yoga Center Amherst. The time just felt right. I am planning to teach an in-depth study at the studio beginning in March and it felt important for me to come here before that began. So, the stars aligned, my family got behind me to support this adventure and here I am.
I sit here now in Auroville, trying to stay awake a little bit more so that I am not up at 2:00 am! The time difference is a thing to contend with. Someone said 1 day per hour of travel to get over the change. That means that by the time I return on Feb 25th I should be almost acclimated to being here!
It is a long way to come. But then I arrive and feel like it is not that far at all. The trees are the trees, the soil is the soil, the birds sound more tropical, but I have been to tropical places before. How can I be so far from home? We went to the ocean today and it looked like the same ocean. I collected shells on the beach, I always do that. The restaurant there served Italian food. Mediterranean pasta for lunch. And a coke.
It doesn’t feel far but it doesn’t feel like home either. Many of the people traveling here say this feels like home. This is not my home. I have studied the stories and the places and the gods and goddesses. I have chanted the songs, I speak the Sanskrit words for the poses. I practice meditation and move sound through my chakras. I have spent so much time immersed in the culture of a place so very far away from my home. I am here to see and touch and taste and feel the beauty and wisdom of a place that has brought so much into my life. A place that had transformed my life before I ever even set foot on its ground. A place that is so very far from my home but whose reach got to me in my little world. A reach that seeped into my blood and cells.
Who am I to teach what I teach, teachings influenced by a place I had never been, a place that is not my culture, my home? When we were chanting this morning, the lyrics went like this:
Beloved of my heart, I’ve found my way home
Beloved of my heart, you’ve found your way home
We’ve found our way home
And I finally knew that this wasn’t about me, my beloved, our home. All the million little things that make up my workaday life and existence. This is a deep unfaltering devotion to the Divine, beyond fleeting, emotional, changing love. Not steeped in this temporary world, this Love. I could feel this Love no matter what else was going on in my world, in my home.
I came to India to find my way home.