Friday, February 6, 2009

Moving Up

There is a shared concept in Judaism and Yogic Philosophy that a person is either moving towards his goal or away from it.  The idea that he is standing still is an illusion.  I don't want to lose all the good momentum I built up in Rwanda, so I am making the choice to go forward with work I did there and see how I can best incorporate it into my new setting.  It is my third trip to India, but I am seeing Mysore with brand new eyes.  As I look around, I wonder how I could have been here twice before and never asked the questions now running through my mind.  I never thought of India as a place with AIDS even though, all places are touched by this problem and traditional cultures clearly face issues of stigma for those infected.  It has been a fight to get doctors to treat infected patients with compassion and equality.  And just in the last couple of years has India developed the laws needed to safeguard its HIV positive school children against discrimination in the classroom.

Thanks to the help of my friend Tracy, founder of Operation Shanti, I was able to visit three HIV-Aids clinics yesterday and was glad to hear that progress is being made. The individual staff members were excited to show me around and eager to answer my many questions.  I knew I was truly welcome when they wouldn't let me leave without first having a cup of sweet chai.  It will take a couple follow up visits at least to find out more about these different communities and how I can best serve them with my skills and resources.  But I am up for the challenge.

It is yoga that has brought me here and yoga that has opened my mind and heart and allowed me to see beyond my own needs and desires.  It would be thoughtless of me not to mention my great teachers, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, Saraswathi, R. Sharath, and Acharye Hema.  I give thanks to you and pray that through the practice of selfless action, constant analysis and devotion, I will never have the chance to foolishly believe I am standing still.  I will always be moving up.


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