Observe Your Feelings and Thoughts and then... Redecorate!

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May 7th 2010
Published: May 8th 2010
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It's such a blessing to have the last of our crew who stayed on to dismantle the Kumbh Mela camp back on board. There have been a few more afternoon sport sessions and longer afternoon tea breaks. When not eating mangoes or looking for mischief, Aiden and Cal have been working on their ANZAC Day challenge badge.

Swamiji was in a re-decorating mood and gave instructions for furnishings in several rooms to be shuffled around (many times) before the end of the night. Swami Yogeshji sliding the carpets flush against the wall in the SatGuru Darbar looked something like a Swami grinding a handrail. He was having so much fun, it was certainly one of the classics of the evening!

While with some of the girls in one of the storerooms fetching (revolting) animal skin print bedsheets to cover some seats in the redecorating game, I heard these words from Agni Deviji: "He's going through some emotional stage.... which for men is not often, but when it is, it's not good". I have no idea who the boy in question was, though the truth surely applies to more than one!

I did not make it to the dinner
Epitome of Yoga... Epitome of Yoga... Epitome of Yoga...

while the inner garden trees are well watered and grow fast, the outer trees have strong foundations to enable survival in the varying circumstances
and then around 10pm when Swamiji's Chefs had finished with a days food preparation, they came to ask any of us who had not eaten to please come and eat the Prasad. Interestingly, in this Ashram dominated by Slovenians and Czechs, three of us from Australasia found ourselves sitting together on the kitchen fountain feasting under the spectacular moonlight.

I told Swamiji about the garden turtle being absent for two weeks. Last seen in the trench on the way to the School by Shiv Prem. The next morning Swamiji was out and about and saw a turtle by the roadside, so He picked it up and bought it to our garden. There's now a big action trying to find out what the turtle eats and try to feed it something appropriate. The endeavors to keep it happy in our garden continue while I believe it must be midnight-snacking elsewhere and having a great laugh at the TLC efforts of our Jadan Karma Yogis.

While waiting for Swamiji on his last evening in Jadan, we sat together and contemplated our childlike expectations. Ram Puriji said "I'm thinking what it would be like if I was a small child and I knew the office where my Father was working. If I was just waiting for him to finish work and come and play with me.... I think I'd go and press up against the glass so He'd see me and finish early. Shall we do it? Shall we go and make faces on the glass so Swamiji sees us?!" Just thinking about it was classic enough. A few of us ventured into the SatGuru Darbar and listened to the Satsung Swamiji was giving to his Indian Bhaktas.

After Swamiji's departure from the Ashram, the energy levels seem to have plummeted significantly. Kriya Shaktiji was finding an emotional outlet giving some attention to our cows, Agni Deviji was getting a green fix in our summer vegie garden, Dhyananandji was sick in bed, Mangal Maniji was wondering where to start with the office work, girls were slowly relocating as per Swamiji's instructions to the ground floor of our building, various departments were enjoying sweets sent by Pyari Deviji who has finished her current Karma yoga stint and on the way back to Europe and there were murmurs of tackling the ever-present cleaning. The joys of moving the dust that constantly blows through from the shifting sands of desert that surround us. Sundays will become Karma Yogi joint cleaning days for public buildings such as Bhakti Sagar.

Somehow it was still an eventful day for me. After morning music class and Swamiji's send off, I was teaching (and learning) in School, playing with C and A, afternoon yoga study, tutoring classes in the hostel, coordinating the new people who needed garments from the tailor and walking the OM dogs... The crickets seemed noisier than usual in the far back corner of the Ashram. White fluffy grass seeds blew around freely, searching new earth.

As the trust factor deepens in my relationships with the older hostel boys, my newest challenge seems to be bridging the gap many of them have with approaching their teachers for help. They open up when they know I will listen and respect their anonymity when searching a solution with the teachers in question. "My teacher just uses a 30 minute class to go through 1 chapter; I need to ask questions and get more examples". The younger hostel boys are bonding well together and we have 5 new players, all brothers who have the spark of mischief in their eyes.

As my final teaching prac draws closer to a close, I'm in a constant state of reflection, trying to make sense of all the experiences. For a few brief moments, the whole world is moving and I am standing still.... Giving consideration to the quality of PE experiences that rurally isolated children have as part of their formal schooling and structuring them in a way to make them meaningful for community and broader life terms.... My challenge remains to foster the intrinsic value of learning in each student, connecting the new to the known.

"Mantra is a source of energy as fire is the source of heat, and ice is the source of cold. A Mantra is expressed in human language and developed by human consciousness" - Swamiji. Everything begins with the sound/word. Basically, Mantra is a centering device. This power in positive words, can be perfected with practice. 'Sharing' is my classroom Mantra. I use it often in all the classes and the children have certainly realised the meaning. With limited resources, we are now much more willing to share pencils, books, soccer balls, marbles, the industrial sharpener and positive affirmations from the teacher.... "Wonderful, It's Beautiful!"

In 3A Math class, we're learning shapes and role plays while shopping for school supplies. We're exploring and engaging in more of the Art forms and learning how to be an active audience. We're developing cooperation and respect as we learn to work from and with others. Emotions are flowing freely as I play with the children and share their curiosity and joy. Yes, it's better TO DO. As with flowing water, there is movement and momentum.

On other School news, our senior students are finishing exams and looking forward to summer holidays. Our school hours have been amended to accommodate for the hotter weather. We now start and finish our classes earlier so we are not sitting in classrooms during the hottest part of the day. There is a School in Germany whose teacher visited us in 6A class earlier this year. The students in the German Sister School are donating some of their pocket money to help us fund resources. Each student in the class donates 1 Euro per month. We were very happy to hear this and we wrote letters to the students in Germany to thank them and to introduce ourselves. This week we received the replies to our letters! It was a very exciting time reading the letters from Germany. We made a movie to send back to them!

Evenings on Kailash, our little Mountain, are unpredictable, interesting and always peaceful under a starry sky. One night Samadhiji called just as I reached the top and we talked about no instruction manual for raising children and being there for everybody. "It's easier to ask when people know you are willing! You really need an object... It's easier if it's living and with you!!"

I'm catching regular Satsungs with Prem Anandji and I can't begin to tell you how much He has connected threads that I've been playing with for the longest time. In music class, I'm concentrating. As far as yoga philosophy goes, I'm consolidating. So very inspiring and I'm so very grateful for Him making the time. Only the 'Satya' (Truth) will be.

The Swamis' here are a Spiritual Nucleus, radiating Joy, Peace and Knowledge. Living examples of what it's all about. He understands how I don't like things in boxes and would rather see the connectedness of everything. It's summed up perfectly by 'orientating concepts'. He asked if I could choose only one, would I choose Bliss or Joy. Of course I had to choose.... and it had to be JOY. It keeps us open, more in the heart, still open to act, open to the sufferings of others and of course connected to another.... my favourite Divine principle - Happiness.

While my day started with an extremely inspiring chat on the phone with Swamiji who gave his encouragement for my Yoga-for-Children project in China.... as the day progressed, I admitted to being extremely tired and significantly challenged by the changeable moods of the boys. While there were peaceful moments when we enjoyed tota (parrot beak shaped) mangoes, played cards, imitated the sounds of the nearby birds and heard his/her replies, there were also violent tempers. It's all about action and reaction and removing the obstacles (as well as finding all the broken glass, re-wiring the electrical and picking up the knocked over bins)!

A watermelon and icecream party late in the evening was a lovely opportunity to gather as a group and as a send off for Ashok Anandji who will return to Europe for a visit. We have a few new players in the Karma Yoga game and it means I also have a couple more students to my morning yoga classes. The latest group action is pulling weeds in the mornings between prayer and breakfast time. It's certainly an introspective activity.


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