A couple of nights have passed by my lonesome in the shala, and at times I feel crazy because there is nothing to do but be with my own thoughts or studies, or go out into the exhausting commotion. It is interesting to have the time to observe my thoughts and feelings, and the amount of control I have over my own energy. The Guruji has been teaching me about the difference between the mind and intellect. He describes the mind as a “chain” of thoughts based on things already realized in the past, and the intellect as a single thought in the present which is greater in capacity than the confines of the mind…as soon as I start to feel like I am beginning to understand him, he tells me he will continue explaining tomorrow. He fills my head with colors and ideas and then falls into a mumbling chain of prayer indicating that he is finished for the day.
The shala is a lovely place to spend the evenings, laying on my back playing the uke watching the giant fruit bats soar over head, letting the balmy breeze blow my thoughts into the oblivion. But it is even more fun to play music for and AUDIENCE! I have made friends with the remaining asana students at the shala (there are four of us total each morning) and they have opened my eyes to a brand new Mysore filled with parties and fresh coconut water and lakes and faces and conversation. I was asked to play the Uke last night at a gathering and I ended up with quite the captive audience for the mere five songs I know how to play. They were so lovely to play for, and I felt exhilarated by my own bravery. I let my shyness shine, so to speak, allowing it to be present, but not overpowering. One of the people at the party even asked me to play at his breakfast restaurant in return for free breakfast and chai! My first gig! Hooray!