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Journal-2008-08-18

Yesterday we did not succeed in going to Rishikesh but instead got stuck in the vilage of KarnPrayag due to a road bock up ahead. We spent sevreal hours waiting by the police office at the beginning of the village. Then there was a rumour that the road had opened so we drove out to where the land slide had closed the road. Jonatan went on ahead to see the situation and reported a very large amount of sand and rocks blocking the road. We came back to Karnprayag and found a hotel that accommodated all of us. A Sikh fellow asked to share the room with us since there was no room left for him. I had mixed feeling about sharing a room and bed with this guy but it wasnt as awful as it might have been. We had thali in a restaurant together with the other Sikh man and his daughter. His daughter is studying dentistry.

This morning we were woken up early by the driver who said the road is open, so we all got up quickly. Maybe not everyone got out quickly enough since I have time to write this. It's been an hour since we were woken up. Someone told us last night that the road would be closed by police order from 7.00, which is just a few minutes away.

Evening

Well, when we reached the road, of course, we found it closed, but a bulldozer was hard at work clearing the obstruction. And eventually it opened and we got through. Then began the rest of the long journey home.

The trip up north wasnt a great success. Most of the time we were cold and wet and we have both caught colds I think. I am not sure what the trip, so far, has done for our relationship. It's been kind of strange. Jonathan has taken the lead and I've been kind of passive, letting him check out hotels and that kind of thing. Maybe that's been good for him. On the other hand, I also haven't been very expressive, and he hasn't been able to read me, and occasionally he has had to ask me what I am feeling. I guess he would like to see a bit more enthusiasm. I have been a bit selfish. I am selfish, and restrained. That's the truth. I'm not very open or adventurous. But what can I do - like in the poem that Dorit sent me, I have to accept myself as I am. But, as I answered, I am not sure that how I think I am is how I really am. That's true for all of us.

Now the rain has come on again. I guess I won't be sitting with J and his friends at the hostel this evening. The monsoon seems to be at its height. On the way down there was just so much destruction. One landslide had blocked the road for us, but a thousand others had left boulders and rubble scattered all over the road. Sometimes completely blocking the side of the road nearest the mountain, at other times leaving an obstacle course that we had to weave between. The force of nature in the Himalayas makes a mockery of human handiwork, and it is not just because this is a poor third world country. Now the rain is a torrent, and we can be sure that tonight will bring still more destruction to the roads north of Rishikesh.

Personal Sadhana

Of course, some yoga practice and meditation is good, but the emphasis should be upon mindfulness throughout the day. I spend half an hour in meditation, but 16 or 17 hours getting about my daily business. In those hours I should be alert and aware of the world and my reactions, and my inner world too - what possesses my mind.

The ceremonies of the hindus are very beautiful - the chanting, the pujas and arati. No doubt they put people in touch with the soul, and elements that would be forgotten in daily activities. However, I am not sure that they are sufficient to maintain a state of mindful awareness, such as Buddhist teachers speak of. Naturally the practice advocated by Sivananda and others did not stop with daily meditation, swadhyaya, ceremonies and satsang. But by placing an emphasis more on these activities, and then perhaps forgettng them, there is a danger that practice will become ritualized.