Friday, October 23, 2009

Osho Planet

The past week in Pokhara has included both a well-needed break and some new adventures. We decided to upgrade our cockroach-infested lake room to a six-dollar one in Hamlet Lodge, which was closer to Central Lakeside and had an attached bathroom and a large balcony overlooking the lake. Oh, luxury. It has been really nice to escape from all the unpacking and packing and settle into one place for more than a few days.

Note from Ali: During this time I have been reflecting about all the tension I carry in trying to be constantly responsible and prepared for life. Because of this feeling, traveling is both a freeing and aggravating experience for me. Freeing since the whole point of travel is delving into the unknown with openness to the unexpected which pushes me to relinquish a certain amount of control. But it is also aggravating when things which involve our health and welfare or the safety of our stuff feel less secure than what I am used to. Not panicking or being overly worried in these cases, such as when we tie our luggage to the roof racks of crowded public buses hoping for the best, is something I really want to work on.

Note from Jeremy: I, too, have been reflecting on sources of tension—not just trying to get the best deals on eggs, papayas and taxis, but also adapting to a mode of traveling very different than what I'm used to. Ali and I both prefer exploring by endless walking, but it's impossible with her knee troubles. It's been difficult to find a comfortable traveling style that minimizes walking and cost but still gives us a real taste for a place, but the process has yielded some pleasant surprises. On another note, I like how our days generally revolve around meals, and I've become quite fond of the tendency in Nepali restaurants to offer free refills on rice and lentils for hungrier people. Definitely something America should consider.

In the spirit of transitioning into a more relaxed, open traveling style, we participated earlier this week in a “full day programme” at “Osho Planet,” a studio located in a family's home which we stumbled upon near our hotel. As some of you know, Osho is a spiritual guru whose writings and meditation practices have been pretty important to Ali, so she was excited. The large board advertising the program outside the studio promised the following activities from 6:45 am-7:30pm: yogic cleansing, dancing meditation, discourses on living a stress-free life, evening and morning meditations, 2 yoga classes, a breathing class, self-massage session, 2 steam baths, 2 tea breaks, breakfast, lunch, a celebration, and dinner. The actual program, while quite peaceful and relaxing, was slightly different.

We were greeted in the morning by a slightly overweight and extremely sweaty Indian man who did not speak much English and began instructing us in a series of calisthenics, including running in place. This developed into stretches such as, touch your toe to your ear twenty one times on each side, very slowly. Then, tea, followed by more stretching and a four hour resting break. The afternoon included more tea, a breathing lesson, a laying down meditation where we were repeatedly instructed to not fall asleep and to imagine ourselves entering a great palace, and a sitting meditation where we imagined ourselves floating on a lotus by the lake. At 4:30, shortly before we had dinner, the odd and portly guru told Jeremy that he reminded him of himself. Despite the peculiarities, we left feeling good and still are.


Ali and Jeremy

1 comment:

Yael said...

Yum, lentils for free refill? I'm jealous.