Amidst chaotic city street sanity-tearing intensity, I knew I needed some solitude in nature. Astonishingly, an ashram was awaiting for me in Rishikesh. Possessing the power to trek 20 hours via train, I endured the elements of ‘sleeper class’ and passed a multitude of villages along an endless day. I arrived with a chai in search for Sadhvi, an American who’s been living and giving lectures in Rishikesh for the past 16 years! I was welcomed into the ashram community but things were not aligned with my chi. I attended a few classes, but couldn’t grasp any sense of pleasure. Downing chai after chai, I wondered why I wasnt digging this scene. An intensive yoga mentality surrounded constantly by Indian tourists forced me into a serious grind. My mind ached as I sank into the dark void of my soul. An existential crisis ensued, and I nearly bought a plane ticket home.
Spilling my sorrows all over her office, I sowed negativity sincerely on Sadhvi’s shanti. She helped me by calling a friend uptown, or rather upriver, and delivered me to her doorstep. I confessed my chaotic mental state to Pharavati, a wise world-traveler whose been there and done that. She said quite flat that I needed to find a waterfall and meditate, get the hell out of the ashram and come stay by her organic cafe/orphanage for a few days. I did just that.
Since I moved upriver past Lachsman Jhula, I have been following omens that have brought amazing moments: from peeling hundreds of pears with 4 Indian women to meditating on a rock in the middle of the Ganges; from unwinding with westerners at the Freedom Cafe to conversing with sadhus – I see Rishikesh with freshness. It’s funny how living in one area of a town can truly bring you down, but right up the road is a whole new state of mind waiting to be discovered.
There is no hurry. There is only the wind that moves us where we are meant to be.
Train from Varanasi