Saturday, 10 May 2014

Incredible India: Lesson 1

“He who has health has hope and he who has hope has everything.“ 

I truly believe that everything happens for a reason. Even in the worst of times, there is a lesson to be learned or something valuable to be taken away from the event. I believe this even more after my month at the ashram in India. We spent a lot of time learning about Vedic philosophy, a very in depth philosophy that I took bits and pieces of to strengthen my own beliefs. One particular thing I did really enjoy learning, and which verified the way I think about some things, is that everything in life is a result of karmic possibility. Yogi Ram said that nothing happens by "chance", for every possibility there has to be a karma, free-will, and effort. Everything that is presented to you in life is because of karma, it is then your choice or free-will in your action that will make it happen, and then there is your personal effort. These events are usually without awareness, and most times we just see them as a normal daily event that pass by without a thought.

Then, there are those events that happen that really stop you dead in your tracks and make you completely absorbed in what is going on. I could talk about quite a few that happened during my month and a half in incredible India, however, one I am putting a bit more importance in right now.

“The part can never be well unless the whole is well.” Plato

I was flying along, high on life, feeling like I was on top of the world, thinking I had better awareness of my ego when BAM, life decided nope, you need to realize just how fragile your physical body really is, and how precious your current life is right now.

I had been living in India for over a month. I was not being more cautious than I thought necessary, and I was completely sickness-free. In fact I felt great! The 6 hours of yoga everyday, 2 hours of meditation, bed by 8pm and a regular vegan-organic diet really had me feeling great! Then, 3 days post-ashram, as I was enjoying the freedom of traveling around India, it hit me.

At first, I did not understand as it was just getting colder out a nights and the chills made sense. As the chills got worse and to the point of scary, my brain started to process that maybe this was more than a chill. Chills tuned into a raging fever, and then into a sickness I had never experienced before. The follow 3 days were hazy at best, I was hallucinating and delirious due to dehydration and, my intestines were bleeding, I couldn't stand up without falling into a fall or piece of furniture. Deep down I knew there was something really bad happening.

Once more pain accompanied all the other symptoms and severe nausea was added to the list I broke down. I was crying, I was begging to go home, I promised I would never take this body for granted again, and I would do absolutely everything in my power to keep it healthy and safe. I don't remember half of what I was vowing, but I knew that the overall feeling was that I was very aware of how fragile we are. That a microscopic virus, that I had no idea when I possibly would have contracted could have potentially ended my life. Not just this realization, but also that it can happen anywhere, disease can strike whenever and wherever.

As horrible as I feel, and as much as I did not want that to happen during my trip to India, I can't help but be grateful for it in a way too because I really am very aware of how precious this life is, and how you can never be too careful, yet you also need to be present every single day, and get as much as you can out of each day because, not to sound morbid, but you really have no idea when you last day is.

Through all of the talks of reincarnation, and continuing life, I really feel like I am ok with death, as much as a human one can be ok with death. But, laying in that hotel room in Jodhpur, convinced that I was going to die in India, I realized how much I did not want to die yet, because I have so much in this life that I am looking forward to. It may seem simple, but I really have this feeling that I am going to provide a good service to others, and I want to learn so much, that I have available to me that I really just am not ok with dying yet. I am really excited for life, and I am not ready to have it taken from me, or for it to be compromised yet.

"Yoga is the study of balance, and balance is the aim of all living creatures: it is our home."

This also brought up many other revelations, such as, why bother living each day if you're not completely happy. (Even though Vedic philosophy's take on "happiness" isn't so happy, I choose to believe in the real happiness). I have touched on this many times before, but it is very important to be mindful of your happiness, as some days you can stop and think, wait, how did I let myself get this unhappy? It really does sneak up on you. You feel so happy, on top of the world, then slowly the pendulum swings back toward sadness, without you really having any awareness, and then suddenly something wakes you up and you realize, hold on, I'm not where I thought I was, this is not how I am ok with feeling. Then it's time to make changes.

I am particularly good at making excuses for letting my happiness slip. I blame others, I take on others problems to deflect my own, I may feel sad, but I remind myself that it's just temporary and the reason behind are external. But, these external factors will only effect you if you let them. Something or someone can be sending out negativity, but it's up to you whether or not you pick it up and what you do with it. I realize now that I just absorb it. I have been told that before. But, I am making a conscious effort to assess what is helping others and what is trying to take on others issues as my own.

I have lots of amazing lessons I learned at the ashram, but those are for other posts. This one is of most importance to me right now because, well, I am still dealing with it day to day. For the past 5 months I have forced to slow down, and really consider every action I make on a daily basis. I am finally on the up after copious doctors visits, tests, medications and supplements, but I am always going to take with me the lesson of the fragility of life and the importance of well-being.

“The groundwork for all happiness is good health.”

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