There’s this moment during breakfast when the noise stops. When people have gathered their porridge and tea, pulled their chairs in to the table, and are sitting down in sweet sweet silence to eat. The other day that moment came around 8:14 and lasted until about 8:18. The people who got to the dining room first were finishing up as the people who came later settled into their tables. Those four minutes are pretty blissful. The soothing refrain of the mantra playing gently over the sound system, the warm apple juice in my mug complementing my millet and muesli – it all feels so complete.
There are these little moments like that throughout the day – these moments when the noise stops. It’s not just the physical noise that the vibrations those little hairs nestled deep within my inner ear sway back and forth to; it’s the noise of mental chatter, too. Those moments when I’m plugging away at data clean-up in preparation for our switch to a new software or walking in the forest placing one foot in front of the other. Those moments where I am completely present with what it is that I am doing. This software switch has been a decade in waiting. This week a rep from the company who will train us when we make the switch in December came to meet with the different areas this new program will affect. If we utilize it correctly that could be every area of the Ashram. As I focus on my part of preparing for this switch – marking thousands of old products we don’t sell anymore so they don’t get imported into the new system – I can’t help but think of the bigger picture. Maybe that’s what makes the mundane task so able to hold my attention, so able to stop those mental conversations with their potential to go round and round my head. It’s the knowing that what I do is connected to the broader vision of the Ashram. And maybe it’s also the mantra Satya is playing on her computer behind me.
The symbolism is hard to escape from: I’m clearing out the old to make a switch to a revolutionary new program even more useful. There’s no reason to hang onto outdated information, I can earmark it and leave it behind. What else can I do that with in my life? I can’t help but think about the ways I relate to people. I’ve been learning about my caretaking propensity and how I’ve often directed that energy outwards. The last few months I’ve been learning how to turn that loving, caretaking attitude towards myself. With every sock pair I fold I feel like I’m creating a more organized morning for myself, with every 2-breath break from work I take to be still and re-centre I know I’m dialoguing with my Higher Self. It feels pretty good to be loved by me. Once I can come from a clear, strong place I’m able to give so much more authentically. It’s not out of neediness or desire for approval; it’s out of genuine desire to serve. Just as I alter the data in the current system to not be inputted into the new one, rather than harshly extract old bits of me out, I can gently leave them behind and be filled with a new perspective on what ‘taking care’ truly means.
The first week that Swami Radha was in India with her Guru, Swami Sivananda, he poured milk into a cup of coffee that was before them. The milk began to fill to the rim of the cup. He didn’t stop. He kept pouring milk into the coffee until the cup overflowed. Eventually it was impossible to tell that the cup had ever held coffee, it was now a container holding pure creamy milk. I’d read and heard this story dozens of times but only recently did it actually penetrate into me what it means. It means I don’t have to stop and think about how the coffee got there. It means I can focus on the Light and the dark will naturally dissolve away. The more Light there is the more opportunities for present awareness. In those moments I find silence.
I sit in those moments of silence. The smooth way my spoon can scoop up millet and raisins, the way my thought process can deduce we’ll never order certain products again, or the way I stop and listen to what it is I need in any particular moment. I take stock in those moments and am truly able to be in touch with myself. Those moments where I can be still and know that I am God.