Day 23-  August 11, Monday

We are “back at it”, taking lessons, thinking hard, and getting our “coconuts crushed” (a reference to a temple practice of smashing coconuts – symbols of our utter submission – “bhakti” – to God, or the crushing of the ego).  Lessons are coming fast and furious, 3 days in a row this week, then the performance on Thursday.  So much buildup and pressure – just as we are trying to “build ourselves up” for the return home, and the inevitable culture shock and detoxification (or often, re-toxification).

We were fortunate to hear “Balu” (Dr. R. Balasubramaniam), the President of SVYM, expound on Leadership and the Gita today.  Inasmuch as we may not think of ourselvees as leaders, we are rich Americans – affiliated with the University of Michigan, with the ironic subheading of “leaders and best” (what hubris!).  Nonetheless….most of us WILL be leaders in some way shape or form, and it’s good to probably accept that now, and figure out how to do it! Mindfulness was the key, according to Balu.  Being present to the moment, not burdened by fear (of the future) or guilt (over your past mistakes).  Uh….good luck!

The evening was special, too.  We finished watching the Swami Vivekananda movie – a not-so-greatly produced film about one of the most remarkable creatures to ever grace the planet.  I think the students grasped the many messages from this film, however poorly put together, and see the “forest for the trees.”  A coalescing of religious forces, a call to end fanaticism and boundaries, and a deeper commitment to the poor.  We should all heed his call (and some of our favorite people did, including Gandhi, Tagore, and MLK).

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