How to be

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This trip to India was not a spin-the-globe-and-see-where-we-should-go-next kind of trip. It was thoughtfully planned by the Amrit Yoga Institute and I was fortunate enough to be able to go. The 80-year-old living guru of this institute, Yogi Amrit Desai, affectionately known as Gurudev, was with us. This was a lineage tour. Among our many sight-seeing and shopping destinations were temples and ashrams he had attended as a child, the village he grew up in and the towns and cities he later lived in. We would be visiting where he met his guru and a temple devoted to his guru’s guru. While there was much lightness and fun, there was equal measure of spiritual connection and reverence. And they are not mutually exclusive. A deep spiritual connection often leads to a lightness of being.

During our safari we stopped our jeeps and got out to take a closer look at the hundreds of flamingos. They were quite a distance away but we could hear them chattering and could make out each one individually.

It was late in the day after just a couple of days in India. The sun was beginning to move into position to set, but it still seemed as if it would be hours before we would actually watch the giant orange ball drop.

Most of us hopped out of the jeeps, wandered around the dried, cracked earth collecting pink flamingo feathers, and walking toward the water line to get a closer look at the flamingos. After 15 minutes or so we were ready to go. A few of us actually went back to the jeep and sat patiently wondering what was taking everyone so long.

After another 15 minutes or so in the jeep I realized we were probably in it for the sunset. So I got back out. As I walked back toward a small group of people who were sitting with Gurudev I noticed he had laid down. Now I knew we wouldn’t be going anywhere until he was ready to go.

As I tried to be accepting and patient. As I tried to want to wait to see the sunset. As I wished we were on our way back. As I wanted things to be different than what they were, I came to the realization that Gurudev, laying on the hard packed earth, was content. There was no rush. There was no where we had to be. Why not wait? he seemed to be saying. Enjoy the present moment. Feel the earth beneath you. Watch the flamingos. Watch the sunset. And so we did.

For those of us unable to let go of our western desire to check things off our lists, he was simply showing us how to be.

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