Kripalu

It’s Thursday morning. I arrived here at Kripalu on Tuesday afternoon, just in time to catch lunch before they started to disassemble the food bar. The dining here is grade school cafeteria style, but the food is all-natural boutique–in massive quantities. It’s all you can eat. Of course, I’ve been eating a lot of it.

Dre has me hooked up, gratis, and legit. But I get the feeling that if I’d just shown up, my gritty, biking, sunbaked, and as it happened that day, rain-soaked self, they’d have given me at least one good meal anyway, and maybe a bed and meals for a week to boot. As it happens, Dre has wrangled meal and activity passes for me but I’ve only got a bed for two nights. The rest of the time I am “staying in town.” See pictures below for my spot “in town.”

It’s fantastically beautiful here. The people are genuinely friendly, helpful, and supportive. It’s pretty much everything I’d expect of monastic surroundings–without any overbearing doctrine or cultish behavior mucking it up. And I tend to be pretty skeptical. Spiritually jaded, even.

Mostly I’ve spent my non-eating time exploring the grounds: walking the meditation garden; reading Four Quartets to the trees. It’s a peaceful experience, and a fine complement to the biking that brought me here.

But it’s also intensely exploratory. Almost an inverse of the exploration that accompanies bike travel. Part of this has to do with seeing Dre. We were together for three and a half years. We figure hugely in one another’s lives. And the connection between us is palpable. But we’re different people now and the bond between us is different. It’s not romantic; it’s unavoidable and sort of terrifying.

But I’m here, so we’re learning about it. And that’s what people do here, I think. It’s what I’m doing here anyway. Right now, there are thirtysome grown men and women (though mostly women), paired off, arranged in a circle, swinging eachother around, making audible, rhythmic exhalations outside my window. I could join them, and maybe I should. I don’t know what it has to do with anything: just something that people do, and maybe have done for a long time. But I know they’ll hug when it’s over, and then walk off to some other activity or maybe reflect on the experience alone. They might feel excited and joyful afterwards, or they might feel empty and alone. They might not think of it again at all.

What appeals to me about these activities and about this place, is the deliberation involved. It’s a world removed. And as such, the details of the outside world that I bring, or Dre brings, or any of those swingers outside bring to it become alien matter, bare to inspection. And maybe, if you’re lucky, those details turn out to be small things, like dust easily shaken off. And maybe, if you’re luckier still, they turn out to be boulders, and you get to see with what grace and strength you’ve been carrying them along.

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One Response to “Kripalu”

  1. Clare Says:

    I’m thoroughly enjoying your writing Derrick. Sounds like you’ve just touched down in a yogi-cycling haven. I’m envious to say the least. Off to St. Louis this weekend to see the gang.

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