Chill Zone

lilly padsThere is a sign I pass every day that says Chill Zone. I’ve never stopped. But I always wonder what goes on there. Do people just magically feel all relaxed? In America it would likely be some weird pod place where you plug yourself into a chair. But here I suspect it’s an ice cream shop.  In any case, I love the name. It’s part of what I hoped to do here. Chill. Get the vrittis to stop spinning so fast. Let the extraneous mind chatter go in order to make space for some important stuff.

Today I had a moment of panic, as in, “am I accomplishing my goal?”

Pshaw! Goal. For yoga??!!! For India???!!! Yeah, I don’t think so.

It’s just that suddenly everything feels so normal. I think I began to wonder if I’ve gone far enough. Taken myself far enough out on a ledge.

Oh, I’ve been to temples, to “town” for thali, to visit a swami, to hug Amma. I’ve checked out an Ayurveda place. Gotten shiatsu massage. But mostly it’s yoga, food, swimming, shopping or window shopping, more eating, and just hanging. And today it made me wonder whether I’m really in India at all. “OH MY GOSH,” I thought, “The days still seem to revolve around food! And, I’ve got to do things before I go home!” And the next minute it occurred to me, that was just one more citta vritti.

Maybe stopping and not doing so much is more a sign of being here than the reverse. I don’t always check my email. I look at Facebook briefly, skimmingly, not often. I don’t even remember that there is wireless at some of the places we eatI I fall asleep just by closing my eyes and turning off the lights most days  (except after today’s decadent chai-fest, maybe).

So yes, there is more that I want to do. There are cooking classes to take and elephants to wash and thalis to eat in town and antique statue shops to explore. But today I felt satisfied to enjoy the most authentic chai I’ve found yet. To wash my yoga clothes in a bucket. To experiment with a honey/cardamom lassie (divine) and some muesli at a new-to-me breakfast joimt. To bask in the sun and cool off in the Indian ocean. And to find a little respite in the incredibly decadent air conditioned bedroom I’ve somehow managed to luck myself into, by way of a very sweet and savvy friend.

There is value in just sitting with whatever comes. Something I seem to fight against, yet also deeply crave. By fighting it I don’t let myself really enter the chill zone.

Even if I did have some idea there was something to accomplish here, Some specific thing to “get done’ before home—like: Have a “spiritual” experience (I feel cheesy even saying it that way out loud). Become a pranayama master (as if)? Find the perfect Indian bedspread that would somehow magically pass muster with the BHH? “Heal” my sore-ish body or finally drop some of my long-time internal baggage? Stop paying so much attention to food (HA!). Even if those were reasonable goals, I could never accomplish them in that direct way.

Being in India is like walking through water, or sand. The landscape is constantly shifting under your feet. And it’s amazing. Just walking along can be inspiring, difficult or transformational. It is the “spiritual experience” I can’t quite define.

Maybe I won’t be able to quantify what’s happening until I am back on solid ground. Back in my old space but with a new perspective. But right now I am still here, and I choose to breathe it all in deeply and let at least some of the vrittis float away.