A Christmas Day treat for everyone… from the crazy mind of our darling Ivan:
Merry Christmas everybody…
I don’t know – the things we do for our Guru! Sarah & I recently staggered back to Sydney after a gruelling couple of weeks on some island in the Indian Ocean, Bali I think its called.
It had been promoted as a Teachers Refresher Meeting, (TRM) but how you’re supposed to get refreshed in 32 degrees of tropical sun is a mystery to me. Its true the turquoise ocean, several swimming pools and a cooling sea breeze helped prevent my generous body from spontaneously combusting, not to mention the seriously efficient hotel air con, but I still felt climatically challenged as I sipped my coconut smoothies by the pool.
But all was not too hellish. You know how Guruji often reminds us that the real bliss lies within, by asking us “How long can you look at a beautiful view? How long can your taste buds taste delicious food? Your senses all have limits.” Well I was determined to reach the end of mine, to see what lay beyond.
You know it’s always a wonder to observe the transformation Guruji brings about. Walking around the hotel the day before He arrived, it looked like any other busy, international, 5 star hotel. It was hosting some blah looking seminars, another organisation was having a conference there, the lobby was full of random people who wouldn’t know a pranayama from a banana and most of them smoking as so many in Indonesia still do. I wondered why we brought Guruji to such ‘unholy’ places.
However the next day, when Guruji arrived, the transformation was awesome. It may as well have been the Ashram. The dull, grey faces of the people attending the various events before had been replaced by the shining, joyful, exuberant faces of devotees about to bask in the Divine presence of their beloved Guruji. He floated into the hotel lobby on a wave of love and for the next 5 days the whole sprawling complex was transformed into a sacred place; in fact the whole island was suffused with the magic and Grace of His presence.
However the daily routine was merciless. There we were, up at the crack of dawn, crawling like sleepy turtles onto the white sandy beach for morning yoga with the ever effervescent Meggan, before breakfasting in the ocean view marquee. There we faced the stress of deciding which of the 12 exotic breakfast choices to have each day, before some nail-biting table tennis games, ultimate beach frisbee, followed by 90 minute massages which left hardly enough time for a dip in the ocean before having to rush to get the lift to the tenth floor. There, with panoramic views of the cloudless blue sky, sparkling sea and palm fringed Bali coastline, we set about some serious refreshment.
Bawa and Dinesh had arrived with Guruji, as had Bhanudidi, so on the first morning we had been treated to the sight of our beloved Bawa strolling into the first session of TRM like a spiritual Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca.
Game on! Bawa was in cracking form and taking no prisoners. We were going to be seriously refreshed, from the inside out, and back again. All morning we were crying with laughter, beside ourselves with excitement in the heady atmosphere of Tropical Art of Living, drunk on Bawa bliss, thinking life can’t get any better. Then Guruji appeared…
Part II tomorrow…