Avoiding the void

The rain has stopped, leaving the air a little cooler and misty clouds drifting over the forested hills. Monkeys make their way on rooftop railings to observe their domain. Families splash in the water at the ghat (steps going down to the river) next door. Pujas sound from loudspeakers across the river and horns honk steadily from nearby roadways. A procession of locals and tourists alike walk to and fro across the Lakshman Jhula bridge. The mighty Ganga flows through all this activity, like time, waiting for no one.

And I sit on my balcony, watching it all.

I’ve been here in Rishikesh for a few days now, visiting restaurants, looking in a few shops, and going to yoga classes. I’ve developed a schedule of sorts, and in the heat of the day I’ve also been reading, sending emails (when Internet is available), napping, and otherwise killing time.

Some of this latter activity has been necessary as this body adjusts to the monsoon climate, and I’m not beating myself up over it. But take away the ability to walk for miles or to be engaged in any long-term activity, and I’m faced with….the void. 

We’ve all got it. The itch to do something, anything, versus be with our own mind. That roommate that never shuts up. The yearning for more: having more, seeing more, doing more. And I’ve realized I’ve been avoiding it instead of just being with it. Taking time to just be.

It’s going to be hot and humid wherever I go. I was going to go to Shimla or Mussoorie next, but I’ve settled into a rhythm here. My room costs less than $10 a day, two yoga classes less than $7, and food less than $10. The room isn’t the greatest I’ve stayed in, has no AC, but this balcony view is priceless. The first day I got here I was ready to go, but perhaps now my clock is being reset to Rishikesh time. Eventually I’ll move on, but for right now I think Rishikesh may be as good a place as any to slow down and just be for a while. 
Me and the void.

Author: mettatsunami

In 2009 I was working full time in medicine, and living a life that was alienated from what I truly valued. While volunteering with a local hospice, I began to wonder: "What would I do differently if I had six months to live?". This began the impetus to change direction. While it has been a case of two steps forward, one step back in many ways, there has still been slow movement in the direction of a more authentic life. Since the pivotal decision to change direction, I have been a Buddhist nun, returned to lay life, changed Buddhist schools, returned to medicine part time, and then full time, quit again, traveled extensively, trained in yoga, spent time in several Buddhist monasteries, and am in the process of how to live according with Buddhist and yogic practice and values, and how to streamline this life into something worthwhile. In the Theravadan Buddhist practice, one of the daily reflections is "Has my practice born fruit with freedom or insight, so that at the end of my life, I need not feel ashamed when questioned by my spiritual companions?". That is my practice. My goal in this blog is to share the journey along the way.

5 thoughts on “Avoiding the void”

  1. Beautifully written darling. You seem to be in the perfect state of mind to just be and enjoy the monsoon … nowhere to go, nowhere to be … and with that view as a super bonus! Much love from us!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Rishikesh might offer toasty temps, but it sounds like you’re chilling out on your balcony — “as good a place as any to slow down and just be for a while.” Sounds good to me. Sending good wishes . . .

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s