I am in India. The land of Yoga, Meditation and spiritual enlightenment. Or not?
Well I have to admit that I am not in the “real” India, but in Goa. Which is a little different than the rest of India. But nevertheless there are cows everywhere. In the streets (including the highway), on the beach, in restaurants and on your doorstep. Besides cows there are also dogs, cats, pigs, an occasional chicken and loads of rats. They sell Chai on every street corner and when I ask for one without sugar they just wobble with their head and bring me a sickeningly sweet tea anyway.
When I arrived here in Arambol, the north of Goa, I thought the beach was busy. I was wrong. That was the time when it was still quiet and peaceful. Now, three months later suddenly there are 244 restaurants and 386 beach huts more than there were before. In the rainy season everything disappears, and when the rain is over the Indians just rebuild their place from scratch.
This is the place where twenty years ago the hippies in India that were meditating in the mountains and admiring the spirituality of the Ganges, came to chill and to party. To explore the other side of life, with trance music and psychedelics, unknown to India. What remains today is a fairly bad touristic attraction, that feeds on the image of that time, with yoga, meditation, healing arts, ecstatic dance and parties on the beach, but mainly for tourists, that want to get drunk at night, and are hung-over in the mornings. You can find the strangest mix of people here, and it all feels like they chase something that once was, and never will be again.
In between all this I try to search for jewels, and I find them every now and then. People that inspire me, a soundhealing with some guys we knew from Guatemala, a very special Tantra workshop that showed me exactly where I stand at the moment, an overwhelming 10 day course on Yoga Anatomy, and a Kundalini workshop about feminine power. All amazing.
Still I feel that the authenticity of the ancestral knowledge and traditions, which are so extremely old and beautiful, is seeping out of India. You can still feel it, in the deep countryside, where people live in harmony with nature and off the land. But in the touristy cities and towns like Arambol, you only feel disconnection. The people are disconnected from their heritage, from their spirituality and from each other.
For the ancient knowledge and traditions that I admire, I feel something has changed. I feel, since the Indian people are too busy chasing every penny to survive, they got disconnected from this heritage and do not have the time to honor it. They don’t do yoga, nor do they meditate. They are busy with survival and just go through life, one day at the time, accepting all that is. It is completely understandable and actually quite spiritual in itself if they would be aware of it. I think awareness is key. That’s why there’s a shift happening, towards the West. Since in the West, people have the time, the money and the freedom, to step out of their society, and take their awareness to the next level, and grow spiritually. They are taking the ancestral knowledge from India, and all over the world in fact, to create something new, something that combines the ancient times with present day.
I came here to settle for a while, after a long time without a home. Right now I live in an orange house looking out over the fields full of palm trees. I have a kitchen, I have a bathroom, I have a flat roof to do yoga and I have a dog that follows me everywhere for no reason. I am teaching at a place called “Love Temple” located right on the beach. And I also teach and lead mantra chanting circles at Ashiyana, in Mandrem. This became one of my favorite places in the world. It is a beautiful yoga and spa village amidst tropical gardens. I fell in love with it when I saw it for the first time and I am so excited to be leading a Detox Retreat here in March.
So good things áre happening. It is just all a little different than I expected. But is that not what life is about? Following it’s ever changing flow and see where it brings you? Maybe this is just exactly what I need right now..