November 24, 2018
One pleasant impact of Thanksgiving is that it encourages United States citizens to spend one day each year in a state of gratitude. This year, this day, I am grateful for the lessons learned while spending three weeks traveling across northern India.
Traveling with Bay Area yoga teacher and Breathe Together Yoga studio owner Jennifer Prugh, our group (led by MoreIndia Travels) spent most of November learning about the religions, spirituality, and cultures of India. We saw palaces, forts, ancient sites, modern cities, godly architecture, temples, mosques, and places of worship. We rode elephants, camels, boats, rickshaws, and tuk-tuks. Enchanting songs woke us from our sleep, calls to prayer for the locals. Strangers greeted us, their hands held in prayer position atop their hearts as they spoke, “Namaste,” which roughly translates to: “The light in me honors the light in you.” Power is felt differently in India, where its citizens seem to know their worth and put faith in all they cannot control. Despite the crowded streets, the dirt, and the billions of people inhabiting the land, India has a unique sense of calm dancing through each corner of its culture. India reminds us all of the unyielding power of the human spirit.
Despite having every reason to be miserable and down on their luck, the people I met while traveling through India seemed content. Filled with the power of the human spirit, many locals hold a deep, powerful spark of knowing in their eyes. They breathe easy with the peaceful presence of master meditators. Many of them seemed to have a much better handle on their emotions than us in the West, and with far fewer resources at their disposal. While we in the West are determined to seek out perfection in all that we do, never resting until the job is done, we often forget our own power. We forget each other. We forge ahead and forget to thank all the people who have helped us succeed. Thanksgiving reminds us to slow, to process, and to offer thanks for the love that keeps us all showing up each day for work, for ourselves, and for each other.
Thanksgiving calls us to remember who we are, what is good, and what is sacred. In remembering these truths, we bring to our spirits contentment. We shift away from toxic energies and offer up all we cannot control to faith. We refuse to give in to fear, which encourages us to act in ways that defy our better judgment. We trust, we breathe, we relax.
In India, people look you in the eye. Sure, many have cell phones and are plenty modernized, but despite their access, they still look you in the eye. Is it because many of India’s citizens are so embedded in a spiritual practice that they’ve realized their own power? Is it because their greeting, “Namaste,” is not just spoken, but felt? For a country that showcases immense wealth alongside unimaginable poverty, the light in each person is felt, seen, and heard by the light in another. The people I met in India seem to remember this on a daily basis, and reminded me that we all have it, too. We just need to remember. Namaste.
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