Friday, December 18, 2015

Sadhana Forest - Wednesday - Living a full day

Days are so much more complete for me at Sadhana Forest in Auroville. I feel like I am able to pull more life out of every moment of the day. You get up early, work in the mornings, relax in the afternoons, converse in the evenings, and sleep early for another day of this cycle. The routine is good. You work for four hours only, but in those four hours, you are completely present. You are not distracted. You have to be involved. A simple activity like cutting fruit, needs to be done with full concentration if you do not want to cut your hand. 

Even watering plants in the forest, needs to be done with care and full presence of mind. You cannot put too much water, or put too little. You first observe how much water is already present in the bottle, connected to the roots. Then you make a decision about how much more water, will be needed to fill the bottle to the right amount. Also it is hard work, to carry the water cans around the field. So you also need to make a decision about which plants, need the water more. Then you pour the water into those plants bottles first. All this takes a lot of mental and physical effort. Physical, because you are moving around the field with two heavy cans of water, while thinking about what plant to water first.

By 12 pm, you are exhausted. In four hours, it is like you have done at least 2 days of work. Now you have the whole day, to do what you wish. It is 1 pm, and you suddenly think, 'Oh! I've already got so much done today and there is so much of the day ahead of me.' Life in Sadhana, made me think about how important work-life balance is in the larger context of things. Work is an important part of your life. But it is not the only part. There is so much more to an individual than just the job they have committed their life too. Family is an important part of this larger picture. Some time in the day, that is unstructured and allows you to just explore new activities is vital too. At Sadhana, my afternoons, were mostly spent doing various different tasks. On one day, I would learn how to play an instrument from a fellow volunteer. On another day, I would take a yoga workshop by a guest. After a first shift, back in the forest, watering plants and a second shift, in the kitchen, I decided to spend the afternoon reading in the community library. I picked up Broken Republic by Arundhati Roy and a memoir about a back packing trip around South America. I was the only individual in the library, so I could act stupid if I had too. I sat on a bean bag and then placed my legs on another bean bag. The rays of the sun, shone on me through the narrow openings in the roof above. I used the book, to stop these rays from striking my eyes. I read for a while and then felt sleepy. I get off the bean bag and sit on the floor. It helps. Another volunteer, comes into the library at 3 pm. We talk a little and she tells me about a workshop in the meditation hut about a russian therapy method, by one of the volunteers. I go for the workshop. Lucie is attending it too. We sit next to each other.

Share your love
In the evening that day, there was an untalent show. Anyone that wanted to share a talent, with the group could do so. It did not always have to be talent. It could be anything from a dance, music performance, skit, story and more. A volunteer from one of the Scandinavian nations, did a traditional story-telling session, that was native to his homeland. There were a few musical performances. One child member of the community, did a hula hooping performance. This was a mixture of culture and entertainment. Many of the performances were in different languages. French, Russian, Hindi, Yiddish, English were some of them. But it did not matter. Because almost everyone came from a place of love. Most of the audience members made an extra effort, to understand what the essence of the performance was. That seemed to be enough.

For me, it was interesting to observe how people from different parts of the world, with different cultural backgrounds, came together, learned from each other, and spent quality time together. I thought about how this environment would be so enriching for a little child to grow up in. I spoke to the daughter of the founders of Sadhana Forest. She stayed here from a very young age. Every two weeks, a new set of people would come to Sadhana. She really enjoyed meeting people. Every person that came there had a different life perspective and different experiences in life. To just listen, to the stories of community members, would be an enriching learning experience in its own right.

We cut a birthday cake that night and sang a birthday song for a community member that just completed one year at the Forest.

After the Untalent show, a veteran member of the community, had organized a small talk, about veganism in the main hut. I was intrigued and decided to go. I asked questions, a lot of questions. I was curious. The talk went on late into the night. He recommended some books on the subject, that were available at the main hut library. After the talk, I located all the books and read whatever I could of them, till late in the night. I did not feel like sleeping much that night. This was all so exciting.


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