Posts in India
All signs in the small city of Thanjavur lead to the "Big Temple," the complex Brihadeeswara dedicated to Shiva. On day three we woke up early to visit its immense courtyard before the crowds had assembled. The mandir is a beautiful, golden example of Chola architecture dating back some 1,000 years. It has that dramatic pyramidic shape characteristic of Tamilian temples but without the splash of ... View Essay »
The official start of our road trip we consider the morning of October 13, when we woke up in Auroville, got on the bike by 9am and really "hit the road." We were in sweltering traffic for an hour, then traveled along the breezy East Coast Road to the small city of Kairakal. The road meandered through small temple towns and villages built primarily of thatching. We followed the endless grids of rice paddies, few of them cultivating. But here and there would be a square patch of vibrant green in a expanse of overturned dirt. We met the people and conversed in the language of smiles and waves. Mostly, we felt foreign, like black Martians being propelled through these lands of rice and palm. Take a look. View Gallery »
As I've mentioned before, one of the most powerful things meditation has given me is distance from my emotions. It allows me to step back and look at them. I find them curious, sometimes. Sometimes, like with anger, I notice how powerful they can be. At other times I notice what a lunatic I must look like! (I'm a far way off from not passing judgement on myself.) It doesn't mean I don't get angry or sad or frustrated or overwhelmingly happy as often, it just means I can step away a bit from these feelings, know they're happening and observe them. It's also a way of observing how clear my actions are, based on whether or not my judgement has been clouded by anger, fear, desire, etc. Meditation also clears out all the excess baggage and stress, without which I would certainly be depleting my ... View Essay »
On a much needed day off, a small group of us from class gathered in the rain to wait for a bus. We headed an hour south of Chennai to visit the monuments in the seaside town of Mamallapuram (Mahabalipuram). The journey, for Matt and I, was mostly about the journey. While there's much to say about these famous local ruins, we relished the fresh air and the view from the lighthouse of waves lapping the coast of India. We enjoyed the company of fellow classmates, of new discoveries.
When we arrived, the town was pretty sleepy for a Saturday. Our band of eight stuck out like a group of foreigners on a visit to some local ruins in various interpretations of Indian dress. The town has a surprising number of granite carving workshops, legit cobblers and other types of artisans.
The ... View Post »
We're one week deep into our month long yoga course - The Heart of Yoga - at the Krishnamacarya Yoga Mandiram in Chennai. Our weekdays are filled with a blissful routine. We crawl to a seated position at 5:30am. We meditate, stretch and then pad, Ok, Matt pads over the cool tile into the kitchen to boil water for coffee. He carries back with him a bowl of muesli and whole raw milk and sets it on the bed. We eat quietly and sip coffee. We shower. Around this time I usually put the pressure on to leave, and there's a bit of a dash to dress in the lightest thing possible that's semi-dried off the line and head out the door.
We each don a single ear bud to combat the piercing horns and make our way to class. It's a few minutes down our quiet neighborhood street, then a right onto the ... View Post »
Visiting one of Mumbai's slums was top on our list of things to do. We'd heard stories of hope and perseverance; of people building life from a few pieces of cardboard, corrugated steel and plastics. In fact, on our boat trip down the Amazon we met a Spaniard who had lived in a Mumbai slum and made a film about the fight over land. Over the course of his experience with the slum's inhabitants he ... View Essay »