Auroville, South India :: 6km north Pondicherry
Auroville. An experiment in living, inaugurated in 1968 & now 41 years into its evolution. Not really a big commune, but more of a small conscious city of 2,000+ 'Aurovillian' residents & many guests passing through for short & long-term visits. Auroville is diverse, spread out over many square miles & hard to understand at first glance. Even after 10 days here I feel I have only seen a small portion of the area. It consists of many smaller individual communities or what could be called eco-villages, cooperative living, organic farms, sustainablity projects, & also commercial infrastructures such as bakeries, restaurants, & shops with locally made products. There are always many workshops & courses throughout the year teaching sustainbality, permaculture, healing arts/massage, dance, yoga, & other very interesting topics. It is kind of like being back in college for me, but exactly the stuff i'm interested in learning now. My first days here were spent settling in & getting comfortable with this new scene. Everything is very different. You have to register & get a guest card, leave a money deposit to get a credit account for Auroville, & use this account number at restaurants, internet cafes, & the grocery stores-the idea being a futuristic city where you don't use cash. The food served at some places is mostly grown on these farms & therefore extremely local. I volunteered at 'Solitude' farm, planting lettuce & watermelon, & was treated afterwards with a lunch that was 90% from their farm! Can you say 'Frrrreeeesh'! The health food store here "Pour Tous" has some amazing products, many made here in Auroville, like the 10 element cookies, mango bars, & organic produce. At first, I felt displaced & confused about Auroville, even with it's good food, workshops, & interesting places. The community did not seem in unity. I saw many people walking around that were too serious, pretentious & over-flowing with New Age know-it-all attitudes & egos the size of Texas. I did not see enough smiles, happiness, or even just neutral open-minded types. I saw people frowning & scowling driving too many stinky loud gas guzzling cars, motorcycles, & scooters & not enough electric cars, bicycles & smiles that a true visionary city should have in abundance! Since then, I've let go of judgements & learned that this Auroville is what it is NOW, & like other cities, it is in a constant state of growth & evolution. So what, people are not perfect here either. This is not yet a city of enlightened humans living in harmony with Divine Mother (Indian name for God/Goddess/Creator/Great Spirit/Brahman/Allah). Maybe in the future, one hundred years or more....who knows? This is still just the beginning process unfolding... like a teenager, confused & going through puberty, or is Auroville still a baby going through growing pains & suffering from the loss of her Mother? Mother, not to be confused with Divine Mother, is the founder of Auroville. A french visionary yogini & special friend of Sri Aurobindo, famous South Indian guru & author of many profound books from the early 1900's. I have no doubt that these two were visionaries that gave many insights into the human potential & planted many seeds for a brighter future here on Earth. They initiated a way of life known as Integral Studies, involving Integral Yoga, Integral Meditation & philosophy that teaches to advance the evolution of humankind to what they called the Supramental state. As for Auroville, it is what it is, & if you let go of the judgements & see what good is happening here, you can enjoy this place even more.
My original intentions were to do volunteer work 3-4 hours a day on an organic farm here. I found the perfect farm, Solitude,
& so far have worked two days 9-12:30pm planting lettuce & watermelon. Afterwards they treated us with an amazing meal
that was 90% from their farm...now that's eating locally...literally footsteps away! No potatoes shipped from Idaho, no rice flown over from Japan. This kind of local eating, one part of the microbiotic diet (read more online), can do wonders for the world by saving tremendous fuel & carbon burning, but most people are not aware of this idea. They walk into Safeways & buy 90% non-local specialties, & believe me...i've been one of the crowd. It's how we were raised! I love those New Zealand gala apples....sweet & yummier than my BC & Washington apples in the backyard. But at this point in the 'Earth game', it's all about being the change you want to see in the world. Being the change. Walk your talk. Do we want to support our local organic farmers & make those prices go down over the next few decades? The trick is getting the mainstream to think & act this way.
And what will happen when peak oil really does drive prices for everything on the shelves up to unaffordable rates? Will the
items that don't need oil to transport, the locally made items, be the same price? I think so. Let's start shifting our consumption habits now & get more prepared for the inevitable shift! Tomorrow, I go to volunteer again at Solitude. I would be doing
everyday but I found a few important workshops that I joined.
I have begun studying Polarity Wellness 5 element massage/bodywork privately with Mikael at the Quiet Healing Center. I missed the 5 day workshop that happened so I'm doing 6 private lessons & learning as much as I can in this short time. Basically using the elements of Earth, Water, Fire, Air, & Ether for applying pressure & movements for a unique bodywork therapy.
I've also been doing the 5 element dance workshop Mikael does once a week. The prices are incredible here! I payed
200 rupees ($5) for a two hour private lesson to learn the massage. You can study a variety of things here such as Thai massage, Watsu, Reiki, etc., for way cheaper then back home. Oh yeah, Watsu. Water shiatsu. In a swimming pool, you get gently massaged & brought into deep states of relaxation. I did one Watsu & was so thoroughly relaxed afterwards that I
couldn't walk for half hour. Sat down & meditated by the pool til I came back to Earth.
Today. I had the absolutely most incredibly tasting papaya as of yet! Superb natural organic fresh local sweetness! Wowsers!
That's it. That was my day.
No really, I did more, but that was my favorite moment. I did 2 hours of yoga in the morning & and after had the biggest cry in many months. Crying about my mom's suicide & the anger, frustration, sadness & grief i've felt. I havn't realized how much anger, & to my surprise guilt, I have been holding in. Anger that has been with me probably since age 10 when my mom first
tried to commit suicide & ended up in the mental hospital for 2 years. Anger at the psychiatrists & pharmaceutical industry that tried & failed at curing her bipolar (manic depression) & diabetes. Anger that this only lonely child has lost his mother for good. Angry at the fact that I couldn't do more to help. Actually I have been guilty that I could not cure my mom & find the right healing for her. I know, that sounds wierd...I actually thought I could heal my dis-eased mommy. My astrologer said this is in my chart though. I am the wounded healer archetype (Chiron in the North Node) that is a healer, but one that attracts deep wounds that need healing & integration. I have also held guilt over how my mom's actual death happened, as it was not a simple suicide, but drawn out over 9 days. She tried to overdose on her diabetes medicine, insulin, which put her into a coma by the eight hours or more time it took for her to be found & brought to the hospital. At this point her brain was completely damaged & if she were to be kept alive with machines & live longer, the experts said she would be a vegetable. Me, being the only child had to make the extremely difficult decision of pulling the plug on her life support & letting her finally die.
This was not easy for me! I believe in miraculous healing, spontaneous healing, prayer, miracles. Maybe her brain would not have suffered that much damage...I wanted to believe this, but it just was not possible they all said, & it was probably fact. But, maybe she could be healed...I wanted to believe. But, the situation was grim. I had to honor my mom's decision to end her life. It became my choice, in some twisted fate, to have to pull the plug - in a sense kill her, although she had already done the work & most of her brain was already dead. My mom & I were so close. I was born on her birthday, April 12th, & we always shared that cosmic connection of sharing the same b-day. After her death, I had to decide all the other issues immediately. Cremation, the type of urn, what type of funeral & plot for the urn. All of this was madness, but I acted like I could handle it all at the time. I have been keeping alot of emotions in since her death & trying to accept the situation. I believe in reincarnation & hope that her next life will be happier & free of dis-ease. I worry about her chosen death by suicide though & the 'hell bardos' that buddhists say one can enter. Is my dear mom trapped in that scary place, or, like my Catholic family thinks, is she in heaven? Or reborn? So much left to Great Mystery, one really never knows being mere human.
So, I surrender to the unknown, I let go of this pain & suffering, & I have faith that everything is as it should be, here & now. All part of the intergalactic puzzle, & our individual karmic roles are intrinsically wrapped up in the outcome of this 'Earth game'.
But ya know, there have been those 3 big questions asked for centuries that still have no definite answers. Who are we? Why are we here? And...where are we going? I guess death of a loved one brings out the philosopher in you. It really makes you realize how precious this life is. I usually don’t open up so much by web writing, but what the heck. better than keeping this all inside to myself all the time!
As to Auroville, I am leaving in two days. I may come back some day. My 3 weeks fly by way too fast here. Probably because I was so damn busy going to workshops, cooking fantastic healthy meals with my friend Shinobi, going to the free cinema, getting massage, dance classes, working at the farm, going to the beach, crying & processing emotions, etc. Definitely not a boring place!