Sunday, December 28, 2003

I've got my girl! Dana came into town this afternoon, and now we're being night owls: hoot, hoot... She's living in the night and sleeping in the day. 12 hours time difference will do a number on a sister. We've got several hours to kill before once again flying out. It'll be another solid days travel, but beaches and bungalows lie at the end of this day. Actually, it'll be more like mid-day, but considering it's 2am now, it'll be a full day's travel. How wonderful it is to be together again. We want to wish everyone a very safe and happy New Year!

Saturday, December 27, 2003

I have settled in this morning to catch up on some correspondence. It is amazing how much of one's time is spent planning while traveling. Unfortunately, you cannot just walk in any door and have a seat or a room. No problem really it's just the details. Sometimes those details are a bit overwhelming though. For those of you that don't know Dana was not allowed to leave New York as planned a couple days back. She was supposed to leave New York on December 23rd. Having completed everything necessary to leave and sleeping very little she arrived at the airport only to be told she could not board the plane becuase there was a tear in her passport. Wow, welcome to patienceville in a hurry, eh? Five months we haven't seen each other, and the latest obstruction has been a tear in a piece of paper. I do not want to go off on what I think about the security the world over. Although, I think there is a lot of wasted efforts. Yes, people hate imperialists nations then you have to spend the rest of your money defending yourself. Try putting more money into education. If even a fraction of what is being spent on current "Defense" measures was converted to education, see what the results could be. I dare anybody give it a shot. See if there is anything happening at your local public schools. See how you might be able to make a difference. Try to change the meaning of orange alert to an enchroaching finger painter!

With all that being said, I have anxiously been awaiting Dana's arrival. The anticipation has been great. The other night I even could not sleep, and for those of you who know me, this is odd. I woke up at midnight after 90 minutes sleep and I eventually resigned myself to watching the Packers vs. Raiders. Granted it turned out to be an amazing performance for Brett Favre who's father passed away less than 24 hours prior. What to do. I didn't want to be awake, but the excitement of it all was too much. Dana is coming to town; she has resolved her torn passport, and she's somewhere over the continental US as I type. Soon she'll be crossing the Pacific headed to Bangkok by way of Hong Kong. I breath, I type, I listen to new music, I anticipate.
I wish the absolute best of this holiday season for all of you, albeit Channukah, Christmas, Kwansa, and a happy New Year.

While going through my messages this morning I came across another story that Josh sent me. Enjoy:

An ambitious student comes to see his zen master. As soon as he sits down, the teacher asks, "What is the basic human problem?".
The student ponders this then answers: "We're not awake."
The teacher says, "Yes, but those are just words. You're just thinking." He rings the bell and sends the student away.
Perturbed, the student is determined to figure it out. A week later he returns.
The teacher says, "Well have you figured out the basic human problem?"
The student replies, "Yes, the basic human problem is that we think too much. We are identified with our thinking. We believe our thoughts."
The teacher answers "Again, you are just thinking. you have to see the basic human problem in yourself." Again, the student is dismissed.
Determined to solve the problem, he pulls out all the books, and reads everything he can on the subject. When he returns to the teacher he is almost strutting he is so sure he has the answer now.
Seeing the state he is in, the teacher asks the question. And the student replies, "There is no problem!"
The teacher stares at him and says "Then what are you doing here?" In that moment the student deflates, shoulders drop, face turns red, he feels totally humiliated.
Peering at him, the teacher asks: "What are you experiencing right now?"
Without looking up the student replies: I feel like crawling in a hole."

Sunday, December 21, 2003

I arrived in Bangkok this morning about 6am. No problems cruising through immigration, baggage claim, customs, and the line for taxis was the most orderly since I left New York. It was easy getting to the hotel, hassle free. And, once I arrived I thought I had the Royal Suite 90 sq. m. for $30/night. Well, almost, I had it this morning, but after my nap I came down and they asked me to change rooms. I didn't understand the Royal Suite thing was temporary, the language barrier is a bit thicker here than in India. Alas, I have a fantastic room at a good rate, and I am off to explore this new country I've just arrived in. Hopefully, I'll be able to meet up with a friend of a friend, Ed by way of Tamara; also, I found out our friends Paul and Court are soon to be in town. These last several days without Dana are going to fly by. The excitement keeps getting better and better.

There is however some sad news to report. My bag was rummaged through yesterday, and my music player was taken out of my possesion. It is sad. I had shifted my bag to some friends' room, and there was one other person that went in for sure. It's terrible when everyone says they had nothing to do with it. I believe there is a special place for all lying people. I wish them the best. It's really ashame they didn't think to take the charger also. Because now, they're in possesion of an amazing music device, with my earwax still on the headphones, that will last another one to two hours. And, they'll be pretty hard pressed to find the right adapter. In other words what was a great music player has become someone else's paperweight with my inscription on the back: "Adam Aronson: Around the World." It made it half-way, bon voyage IPOD.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

What's a boy to do with himself when he finds himself standing upright. My body is slowly becoming accustomed to being recognized. Gone are the days of kicking heels on the sidewalks worldwide, well, maybe anyway. Amazing how a bit of breathing will bring one’s center out of the clouds heading directly for the belly. I like to think of it that way, anyhow. I am in process. There is that stretch hibernating animals stay in so long as the body is waking, I am somewhere near there. YAWN. The retreat was fantastic.

Ten days witnessed through eyes always opening wider. It was a wonder to see the beauty in the world, anew. Watching bicyclists or roaming water buffalo, the world was in motion. This world is one that I am quite partial to. There are so many wonderful fancies to explore; this will remain true until the end. I feel vibrant, and my head may be emerging from the clouds. Gone are the days of walking with my feet on the ground and my head in the clouds. I want to see through the clouds or wherever there is a sight to see. From yoga in the satsang hall last week to the set of a Bombay commercial set I am traveling. Friends are all around and everybody is in motion.

It has been nice to relax in Bombay a bit. The mosquitoes are fierce, but the swaying palm trees and sinus drying sun help wonders. Lucknow has been cold, so some time in the sun is thoroughly enjoyable. In a few days time it will be onward to Bangkok with enough time to prepare for Dana’s arrival as well as adjust to yet another country. It has been quite interesting and informative learning about cultural practices, of course food included.

I send all my love to the eyes crossing these words!

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Five days of yoga and my body is opening up. My flexibility has increased substantially, and my mind disappears at times as body and breath synchronize. Other times, the pain distracts my attention, and it reminds me how much I dislike pain. Although, the quiet times far outweigh the discomfort. Yoga has much value in this retreat as I have found reprieve from distractions.

Time has not had much meaning lately as I have been living in the moment. When my mind begins to reel there is some control to be exerted over it. Unwanted thoughts, troublesome burdens, evaporate like water. And, I remain present. Slowly, I am awakening into the present.

The last version of the passover haggadah I read began with God stating: "Here I am." Today, I say the same, "Here I am." I am present, I am alive, I am peaceful, and above all, I am happy.

Monday, December 08, 2003

Perhaps there is a place of origin where there are no questions; this I can understand. I have been there for brief periods, but it is not a space I continually occupy. At least, not the way I am hearing its description. Regardless, there are always questions for the mind, and these excite me. In themself the questions do have validity even if they're separate from a consciousness that lies underneath everything.

Saturday, December 06, 2003

Where is a place without questions? Mom once said to me that at some point there are no more questions. She told me this many years ago. I didn't believe her. Yesterday, I was given a similar response to my enquiring. Papaji's mantra was 'Be Quiet'. This is quieting the mind, the body, and the ego as I understand. All of these things interfere with the present; reality interferes with the present. This is what I understand from the discussions, readings, and videos we've taken in. Where is this place with no questions. How can everything disappear?

I'm compassionate for the suffering of others. No matter how present I am that will always exist. Even if I was connected to core of all beings, they would still be suffering. Perhaps they're not really suffering and it's a perception that they are. Although, it does seem there are other beings and that some of them suffer. How could I ignore them when I myself have everything that I need?

There is a question, a rather heavy one, that came up again yesterday that I have been asking for some time. A while back I began asking people, even the first time that I met them, "who are you?" Most people would jerk their heads at this. Many of them thought me crazy. Other times it would form a wonderful connection even if only for that conversation and never seeing each other again. The question came yesterday; although, it was pointed in the opposite direction. As in the past when I was done asking the question it always turned around. Still, I am not sure how to answer the question. I am approaching this moment a little differently, and perhaps I am able to see a new side of honesty.

For people reading this please understand that I am trying to piece together the so many things that are happening right now. I am not however maintaining regular email correspondence. I will be checking next Monday evening or so. Please know that I love you all.

Friday, December 05, 2003

It began with introductions and a loosely based schedule, dinner, and a video. I have joined a retreat. Last night was very restful. Only finding 90 minutes of sleep the night before was a bit overwhelming by yesterday's end. It was one of the more 'productive' days I had perhaps ever. With all work things in order, I feel satisfied to begin standing back from the day to day, and look a bit closer inside. The work I began this past week has been very rewarding as it is consolidating a great many areas of interest for me. Because I will not be in Lucknow for much longer, I have decided to spend some time next week working on the project. Although, my efforts won't likely meet this past week's. Now, I am very earnest in trying to remove distractions; oddly, I consider the database project to be not a distraction, rather my concentration is pleasantly deep there.

At the end of schedules and questions we sang a chant before dinner. Raja, a local pujari at the Hanuman temple led us. Eventhough, I had been with mostly the same people in other circles and listened to them sing, I had not connected with what they were doing. When Raja began lastnight, I felt a new trust. There was no judgement, there was no misunderstanding, and I followed him as he led us into the chant. I didn't understand everything that we were singing, and I couldn't make out some of the words. Later, I asked Raja to explain to me what exactly we were singing, and word for word he went through the chant with me. He also offered an easier chant to begin with.

From the moment I met Raja he held out his arms and greeted me in loving brotherhood. It was really beautiful. The connections I have here with various people start in such a different place then when I have been elsewhere. It is in the moment.

There is a great word used frequently here in Satsang Bhawan, shanti. It means peace in Hindi. Our environment is shanti. Being is shanti.
This afternoon I am heading for a 10 day silent retreat. Although, this past week I have completely engulfed myself in very fascinating work. I am in the process of helping develop software for Organic India's Lucknow factory. The process has been comprehensive and very educational. We'll have to see how quiet I'll remain. My attention is being pulled in different directions, and I'll try to resolve this while resting as much as possible. For those of you I don't contact in the next bit I will be with you soon. For the time being I have put up a new face to my web presence. Peace.

Monday, December 01, 2003

Life in Lucknow is really great. We just returned lastnight from Azamgarh. We were there for the Tulsi Mahotsav that Organic India, Bhavani and Bharat's company, hosted. There were over a thousand people in attendance with farmers, their families, and staff to celebrate the end of the Tulsi cultivation for this year. There were a couple local politicians to bring grace and good blessings to the vision of the company. Several recognition awards were presented, and then there was lunch and a band offering a cultural program. Unfortunately, I slept away most of the afternoon trying to ward this sinus infection I developed, but such is life.

The factory in Azamgarh is very well developed. Dayael, a friend of Bhavani and Bharat's from Lucknow, and I took a tour early Sunday morning. We were shown how the Tulsi is brought into the sterile environment. The Tulsi is cleaned in two baths, it is dehydrated, it is sorted, then it's bagged. Wow, we walked into the storeroom, and the smell of Tulsi is positively overwhelming. This herb has been given star status by Organic India and Dr. Narendra Singh. There has been much written about Tulsi.

Things are exciting and busy here. I have began working with Organic India to help develop their website as well as offer some suggestions for software being designed in house. I have had a really great time getting to know the people that work for Organic India, but also understanding the working mission! They are in the process of building an exceptional company with a holistic approach to business.