Reflections of a first timer at an ashram
Have you attended an ashram? What was your experience? Here are my random thoughts at arrival at Rocklyn Yoga Ashram and some of the days following. I wrote my thoughts in the mid afternoon. I did not want to interrupt the peace I was given at the end of evening session before silently entering my bed and easing into sleep.
I arrived a little hesitantly yet with no expectation, no research just a friendly recommendation and intention of acceptance.
We each attend and experience an ashram differently. However we are the same in that we are all seeking solace, peace, a renewal, a discovery of what is important to us.
I believe following the rules was helpful. It was interesting to observe those who struggled with their stay. They often expressed to the yogis, swamis and other attendees how they could organise the kitchen better, lay mulch better, plant seeds more effectively. Why? Ashram life is centuries old. Rocklyn has been present for over 40 years. There are well worn processes that work.
I felt the ashram allowed space to give over the feelings of needing to control. So much of our lives is control. Controlling our stuff. Letting go is a practice just like yoga. It is a mindful consistent practice.
To participate in selfless service gave me a sense of freedom. And the silence. We were silent after evening program until breakfast wash up. About twelve hours. Often in service you may be alone. There is no loud enthusiastic conversation while completing tasks. In the calm and the quiet you have opportunity to be comfortable in your space. Your sense of self. I smile knowing that this person is me. Still me. Without distractions. A curious, passionate woman. A person who likes to care for others. I focus on my heart, breath and thoughts being filled with love and kindness.
Yes, at times teenagers, relationships and external situations can cloud my reactions. Yet practicing exposing my real self to myself daily prepared me to return to be consistent in my daily approach at home. I am not perfect at home. None of us are and none of us will be. It is the practice that is important. The intention. Daily. We consistently monitor ourselves.
Silence connects me to my senses. You taste each component of the simple vegetable broth and realise there is so
much to relish.
In our Instagram feeds we see the often contrived present. It is a burden for those without realisation of true presence. I learnt it more comprehensively. I did not think about my hospital position, my children or husband. I did not wonder what will they be doing now? It was not selfish. I was present. I did not go down into past thoughts, feelings and experiences. They have occurred and foremost they have bought us to where we have chosen to be doing what we choose to do. I feel I do not need to analyse them now or anymore. I do not need to dwell amongst them.
The wise women of the ashram, without knowing of my experience, spoke to me about how many attendants go home to declutter their home spaces. I can understand why. I hope many of them are successful in their quest to continue. Clearing the clutter gives space. Space to explore alternative thought, alternative destinations, new people and maybe a revised version of you.
Time. We have time. We all do. Make time. Use your time. Review your time. Honour the time you have.