Traveling and taking a vacation is always an experience that is unparalleled. We take vacations to relax, to change scenery, to open our horizons to new cultures and places. It is always exciting to look for that renewal. This trip I am experiencing is, as I expected the trip of my life, in that and many others I am still to understand.
India is not only on the other side of the world, 11.5 hours ahead of Houston, but a world apart in history, culture, language(s), politics, spirits. It is one of those trips where every moment is an experience. It is finding life lived so intensely that is almost incomprehensible to my eyes. I do not pretend to understand the culture in a few days, or even grasp the pulse of the country. I can simple understand what all these experiences do to my mind and heart.
India can be at first glance a city of opposite extremes. The cities overflow with incredible amounts of people negotiating small spaces, traffic, roads, time, resources, communication, relationships with each other. It is at the same time a place of over acts of peacefulness, of pockets of spirituality. Riding on rickshaw, among the constant concert of honking (Honk OK Please!), the motorcycles, cars, pedestrians, and water buffalo (if not elephants) all struggle for the same piece of road. The rickshaw driver, a college educated man, who drives this tricycle for someone else for 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, raises his hand out the side and lets the bus pass him in a complete act of peaceful reconciliation, a spontaneous act of ahimsa. And so it is on the streets, where every few blocks, many times on the same block, the scent of incense attracts your attention to a devotional corner, small mandir, where you will find a deity being looked after and revered by anyone who walks by.
And so it is, that in every step, we find life, spiritual life, as the background of all activities, names, businesses, marriages, and the desire to live intensely, in community, with all religions, with all peoples, with the understanding that live is there and will be there…we just need to open our eyes to live it, and live it intensely.