To my community,
I landed this morning in Jaipur, India, an ancient desert city in the state of Rajasthan. In the Mumbai airport I spoke with an Indian woman about meditation and she told me about her practice with chakra spirituality, and then all of a sudden said that she knew I had been in India in a past life. I smiled such a big smile, this meant a lot to me and I took it as a good omen. That being said, I got out of the cab to walk around the Old City and I'm not sure I've ever felt so overwhelmed (and many of you know how much I hate to use that word). I wanted so badly to cry, I just followed these two women through the puzzling alleys so that I wouldn't feel alone. But then I found an internet cafe which is great because I can send you guys one last email before I embark on my last journey, and the reason I came to India.
For the next ten days I'll be participating in a Vipassana meditation course, which is a style of meditation that was used by the Buddha to reach enlightenment, yet is secular - completely non religious. During the course I won't be allowed to communicate with anyone other than the teachers, eat anything other than the two meals they serve, read books, write in my journal, practice yoga, listen to music, and so on. It's a strict schedule with strict rules, but it is all in the hopes that the participant will learn to sit with his or herself, observe the mind without any distractions, and cultivate all the lovingkindess within that's just waiting to be discovered. I know it will be a big challenge, but I also know it will reap the most beautiful rewards. And one of my goals for these ten days is to develop some sort of closure with this year, because I want to be able to fly home feeling at peace with all I've done and at peace with all that is to come. The past couple weeks I've grown so nervous to go home, more nervous than I ever thought I would be. I have no idea where I'll be next year, I have no idea what to expect, and it's hard to even picture myself back in school, especially after learning so many lessons this year just through human interaction and experience (rather than papers and finals). But I'm also nervous for this year to end. The world feels like my community, I feel a connection to even the people most different from me. So I think the transition will be a hard one, trying to reconcile and unite Los Angeles Emily with globe trekker warrior goddess Emily (but hey they live in the same body right?). And most importantly I don't want any of you to take my nervousness as I don't want to be with you, because I miss you all and think about you everyday and can't wait to see you. If it weren't for you guys (the greatest community in the universe) I don't think I would be going home! So maybe it'll be tough at first, but I'm reminding myself that this is only the beginning of my life's adventures, and I can't wait to share so many future adventures with you guys. Thank you for all of the endless love and support that you've given me this year, I am so grateful to each of you. And so this afternoon I'll begin the course!! If you want to read a little bit about what Vipassana really is (because it's hard for me to explain since I haven't actually done it yet), this link gives a really great explanation. It's a little long but I promise it's worth it- http://www.dhamma.org/en/art.shtml
Wish me luck, I'll be thinking about you all and sending metta, lovingkindness. See you soon!!