Fear and Non-Loathing in India

Eleanor Roosevelt once said “Do something every day that scares you”. I would say I’m definitely doing that, just by being here.
What am I afraid of?
Bodily harm. Being robbed. Killed. Gang-raped. Or all of these at once.

Coming down with some multiple drug resistant illness, or something like chikungunya.

And there’s also a lesser fear – more of an underlying wariness really, of being ripped off or overcharged for things. 
Other than being careful about when or where I roam, there’s not much I can do about the first things, and aside from being moderately cautious about my health and eating habits, I have equally little control about the next. 
As for being overcharged, well, even if I’m overcharged a dollar or two more for something just for being a tourist, in the grand scheme of things, does it really matter? To me, not really. And to someone who is struggling to survive, that charity may make a huge difference.

These fears aren’t something that keep me up at night, and they certainly haven’t stopped me from coming here. Knowing that I have little control over these things helps me to relax to a degree. As a teacher once said “Don’t worry. Everything is perfectly out of control”. Yet I would be lying if I said that the fears didn’t exist.
With each day, and with each time that I do something that brings that fear upwards in my consciousness, the smaller that fear becomes. There is still a great deal of goodness in the world that the media ignores. I have already seen so much kindness and generosity during this’s trip, and have faith that it will continue as I go onward. The media ignores this goodness to a large extent, and we’re encouraged on a daily basis to be afraid. Part of my hope for this trip is to continue whittling away at that fear. I’ll let you know how that goes, if it’s not apparent at the end.

I made it to Jaipur tonight a bit late to do any exploring, but I’ll post more colorful, exciting things next time.

And cockroaches. Definitely cockroaches.

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.

10 thoughts on “Fear and Non-Loathing in India”

  1. Think I mentioned to you that my daughter, Cindy, and I are making plans for an unescorted trip to northern Laos & Vietnam in March. We were just mentioning this am the difference of solo traveling, versus the protection & sights of an escorted tour. The feelings that are conjured up for both – entirely different. Good for you – good for us and wish it was good for all. So sad that the media etc., loves to put that fear out there first. I think it’s worth the risk – talking to our neighbors. Travel on, sister! Gail

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I personally think a little fear may be a good thing and that seems to be what you are expressing. You are conquering that fear and enjoying your travels. Good for you! The rest of us are probably doing enough worrying about you and those things you fear.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I can relate to your thoughts on fear. I’d put practicing with fear on the extreme end of the general category of practicing with uncertainty. When, after my 3-week trip to India (mostly in Bihar), I was asked if I wanted to return, I said, “only if I can stay for several months.” My reason was that I would only want to return in order to abandon myself into an environment in which almost everything is uncertain. In this way, I could focus my practice on making peace with uncertainty. At age 75, I probably won’t have a chance to live in India for several months. But I’m glad that you’re getting an opportunity to do something like that. And that you’re doing it with such care, sensitivity, and mindfulness.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Dorothea. No shortage of uncertainty here. But I tell people that one of the things I like about India is the uncertainty. Maybe not always when it’s happening, but it’s certainly a practice.


  4. I’m not afraid of cockroaches or spiders. I like spiders. Cockroaches are just disgusting. :-> In a more serious vein, your fears are certainly reality based and sensible. I so admire your willingness to allow their presence and keep doing what you love.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like spiders too, actually. And I can send metta to cockroaches “May you be well — somewhere far away from me”, but when they’re running over my feet or bed, not so much. Thanks, Ruby!-)


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