Living and Learning in Amritapuri, India: January 2-7, 2017

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Grace is Flowing

I have felt graced many times lately. The ones I’m remembering in the moment are:

-I wear a Fitbit that serves both as a pedometer and as a watch. For some unknown reason, the Fitbit hasn’t synced for the last six weeks, so I’ve had to add 1 ½ hours every time I looked at the watch. That has been a nuisance. One day this week, I looked at my watch and the time was correct. It felt surreal.

-Last week I made an appointment for a massage. (Various forms of body work and classes are available here. The proceeds help fund Amma’s humanitarian projects.) When I arrived at the session, the massage therapist asked if I wanted a Swedish massage or Reflexology. I said “Both!” That wasn’t an option so I got the massage.

When I was in Tai Chi class on Thursday, I started feeling the nerve pain I get in my toes when my low back muscles are too tight. Towards the end of the class, a friend who was on a break from the Reflexology class she was teaching, walked up to me and asked if I wanted to have a Reflexology treatment in a half hour. She had an uneven number of people in her class, and needed to have someone receive a treatment when the students paired up and worked on each other. I, of course, was delighted to serve in that way!

-Amma held darshan in the temple again on Wednesday and Thursday of this week. That felt like such a gift. Being in the temple brings back so many memories for me plus it feels more intimate than being in the big auditorium.

-I’d been feeling down for awhile and hadn’t been able to shake it. On Wednesday, the crowd was small so I decided to go for darshan and ask Amma, internally, to help me lighten up. When I entered the darshan line, I learned that the man next to me was from the UK but had been living in a Buddhist monastery for many years. He was on his way back to the UK, where he plans to start an intentional living community focused on mindfulness and sustainability. He had never met Amma before. I loved talking to him while we proceeded through the darshan line. When I reached Amma, she held me for what seemed like a very long time. I feel so blessed to have her in my life.

-Someone asked me a few days ago if I would be willing to be the first person to hand Amma prasad this coming Sunday. They always like to have an experienced person do that job at the beginning. Needless to say, I didn’t have to think twice before I said yes to that!

– Amma comes to the beach for meditation and a question and answer period on Monday and Friday evenings. I didn’t go on Monday, but I heard afterwards that instead of being next to the Ayurvedic building, sandbags had been put on the beach and the meditation was held there. I felt sad that I had missed that experience so I made sure I went yesterday. It was wonderful to be there although I was sitting on the side and much lower than most of the people so I could see Amma but not much else. I had no idea what a big area our group covered until I saw this photo on Amma’s Facebook Page. I will go earlier on Monday!

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-Tonight Swami Amritasvarupananda sang a song that used to take me into such a deep state of meditation. I haven’t had that experience for many, many years, but it happened again tonight. I am feeling so much gratitude.

Saraswati Garden and Eco Textile Work Center

I’ve continued to work an hour or two in the Saraswati Garden and Work Center most days. On Wednesday, we harvested the rest of the turmeric. Yesterday it was boiled and today another devotee and I sliced it. It will then be dried and ground into powder for use in dying fabric. After two hours of slicing, my hands were even yellower than when I did it for the first time. I know from experience that I will be yellow for days.

I’ve seen big lizards in the garden several times on this trip, but they always move so fast that a photo is out of the question. Two days ago, one scooted in front of me and then up the side of a wall. It then stayed in one place while I took out my camera. As soon as I snapped the shot, it sped off.

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The garden has lots of caterpillars. I turned over a coconut shell yesterday and it was filled with caterpillars. I walked back to the house to get mye camera. There were still a lot of them in the shell when I returned. I associate caterpillars with destroying gardens and trees but I don’t see any evidence that these are hurting the plants in any way. I wonder what they are eating.

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Wrapping up

A week from today I will be in Dubai waiting for my flight back to Seattle. I’m starting to sort through my belongings and pack. Before long I will be cleaning my room in preparation for the next person that stays here.

Even though I’m starting my ending process, I know my trip is not over yet. I have almost a week of experiences still ahead of me. On Monday, I’m going to Vrindavan Gardens, the oldest of the tulasi gardens. I’ve heard new things are happening there and I’m eager to find out what they are!

To see all of the posts in this Amritapuri series, click here.

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11 thoughts on “Living and Learning in Amritapuri, India: January 2-7, 2017

  1. Those look more like centipedes than caterpillars. Centipedes are carnivorous, they eat insects…stuff like that. So no harm to the garden, but they creep me out. Hubby has to catch them and take them outside if found in our house. Eeww.

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    1. Wow. I had no idea. They sure look different than what I know as centipedes. But that totally explains why they are always on the ground and they don’t eat the plants. Thanks so much.

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    1. I think they are beautiful too…… although bloggers told me that they are centipedes, not caterpillars ….. and that they eat bugs, not plants! I’m glad you feel like you are here when you read my posts.

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  2. I think the caterpillars are arranged in symbols for some kind of secret message just for you.
    Boy, you were really tapped in this week, eh?

    (definition from the Urban Dictionary)
    “in the know…to have the inside scoop…on the cutting edge of knowledge…to know the score…to be on the beam…early adopter knowledge…having a knowledge base that is yet unknown to the masses.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I will take a look at that photo from that perspective! I found out from some people that read that post that they aren’t caterpillars they are centipedes! That explains why they aren’t bothering the plants. Centipedes source of food are bugs!

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  3. Eww some of those photos of little creatures make me cringe even if I try real hard to be respectful (smiles) It appears Amma heard your internal request and held you longer…how wonderful. Each time you describe your close encounters with Her, I feel I am there too. That photo of all those people on the beach is quite impressive and to think you were just too close to Amma to notice:)

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    1. I’m going to write another post about the “caterpillars” when I get a chance.

      It may have been my internal request, but my sense was that it was preparing, i.e. feeding me, for what is to come.

      The reason for me not being able to see was much more concrete than that. They had built up the beach with sandbags to make a huge rise. I had come late and didn’t want to wander trying to find a place so I was sitting on the ground level, which was probably 4-5 feet lower. So when I was sitting down, I couldn’t see how many people there were. As far as I know, they only did it twice. It must have taken hours to construct and take down that riser.

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