Arriving in Rishikesh feels like you’ve entered a giant “spirituality supermarket”: hindu pilgrims homage ma Ganga (mother Ganges) in colorful ceremonies, sadhus walk around smoking weed while begging for money (to buy more weed) and neo-hippie tourists from all over the world seek spiritual awakening binge feeding on meditation, yoga, kirtan chanting and satsangs (talks with gurus). While people might come to Rishikesh attracted by the promise of reaching nirvana, they surely foster very down-to-earth businesses, such as ayurvedic spas, cooking classes, hindi language lessons, palm reading, rafting and “german” bakeries (not sure what’s german about it but apparently it’s a big trend).
As a free bonus, everyone gets to see cows walking freely in the street causing huge jams, monkeys stealing food to naive tourists and street dogs restlessly battling against scores of fleas.
We spent two weeks in an ashram practicing yoga, eating healthy ayurvedic food, reading books and attempting to silence our minds and focusing on our breath. Surprisingly, after 4 months on the road, turned out we don’t have many thoughts to silence after all, and that our breath is doing quite good! But even if not much uplifting happened, we still had a relaxing, must-dos-free time there.
Being surrounded by people trying this hard to attain at happiness and at finding acceptance in a new peer group, we just felt content of our lives and ourselves, with nothing to prove and nobody to impress.
We were reminded that this is not the time for grounding, it’s the time for exploring new places in the world, inside ourselves and our relationship. It’s not the time for control, it’s the time to let go.
Hari Om Rishikesh, Shanti shanti shanti.