There is something about running a fever, as the body writhes and groans in physical pain, that makes the mind become still and quiet. It is possible that as one lies alone agonizing over the physical discomfort, that the sensory stimulation we inhale every moment in our culture is greatly reduced. Tada drastuh svarupe vasthanam. (Then the seer abides in its own nature)

Having lived 13 years in this country and considering myself to be a true citizen of the world, it is shocking how a dose of physical discomfort can make me long for the familiarity of what I grew up with. It just goes to show that it is truly egotistical to call ourselves yogis just because we go through some physical postures on a regular basis, or even sit doing japa and dhayana everyday. After all, the yogis are known to go through conscious suffering to reach a state of awakening where there is no difference between pain and comfort, and there is continuous sense of upeksha (equanimity). They do not long for their mothers loving touch or a friend’s hearty soup the moment the temperature of this physical body rises above a 101.

It amazes me that how things that seem culturally normal on a regular day become a cultural shock on days when the body is not at its optimum, reinforcing the teaching of the yoga sutras that the physical practice of yoga is important because a  healthy body harbors a healthy mind. If the body is restless and inflexible the mind is bound to become agitated and rigid. On most days, a text message from a friend saying hope all is well is the norm and a lovely way to be in touch in the busy lives we lead in the west. It seems to become a detached formality when you have  told your friends you are sick, even if that means your mind has succumbed to the sensations of the body and perhaps exaggerated the heat of the skin and the fog in the head to “really sick”.

I crave for the intrusion of my friends and family, coming to visit and bringing with them bowls of hot khicari, soothing stews, homemade remedies and comforting tales. I want the laughter of friends who are not afraid of being infected by my terrible disease, the stories of the flu running in their households and the constant irritant of my father’s voice telling me to eat.

Once I am over missing mommy and feeling sorry for myself, I try to witness these thoughts, I try not to make them more than they are, I try to enjoy the home delivery of Chinese food. I express gratitude for all  the loving thoughts being sent my way and at the risk  of  sounding like a broken record, take this as moment of  expansion, knowing that everything is teaching us and this time has been gifted to me for svadhyaya (self inquiry).

One thought on “Svadhyaya

  1. Hi! Shibana,
    You write beautifully. First time I am reading your blogs. It is so heart warming to read about all that you are doing for mankind. Need to come to Santa Fe for your good food and some physical activity. Here is a verse I wrote on comfort food a few months ago. I hope you will enjoy it.

    Desh chorha videsh aaee, maa ki yaad bahut aaee.
    Palang pe bimaar parhi thee, sar pe ho maan ka haath soch rahee thee.
    Mil jaye thorhaa pyaar, Khichrhi ke oopar ghee, paparh, chutney ya achaar.

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