My Christmas Eve this year was spent with a group of strangers. It was one beautiful experience. But a side story first! While waiting for the film to start I went down to a cafe on the first floor to have a coffee. A couple is sitting at the table next to mine. The young woman says hello and tells me she was in my yoga class in the morning. Immediately I recognized her! The "Perfect Headstand", I exclaimed! I tell you folks, she could put the lady at the beach in Auroville to shame any day of the week and twice on Sunday (I love that expression! Who said that?... in a movie, romantic, male...?! It will come back!) She came out of that headstand in the most perfect child pose! She was next to me in class and as I can only do "foot stand" ;-( I had plenty of time to watch her elegantly execute her headstand. I remember thinking very foolishly at the time "I will do this one day." I didn't tell her this of course, lest she thinks me a complete lunatic after my performance in class that morning!! Well, she was kind enough to be encouraging and tell me that she was doing yoga two years before she was able to do a headstand. To be so kind, she deserves to do it so well!
So, revenons a nos moutons! So a group of young people who have a yoga school in the town next to mine, decided to have a Christmas celebration of sort by showing a movie called "How Jesus became Christ", offering some chai and cookies, and a sort of meditation called "spiral meditation". To get to Lakshman Jhula, I had to get a taxi called a "jeep" for 5 Rs. I was told. I ended up paying 20 because what I did not understand was that the jeep has to be full with 10 passengers for each one to pay 5 Rs.! Only in India! (Well, maybe not!) It was only a 3 minute drive from Rishikesh. (So tomorrow morning I am actually going to go back to have a cup of REAL coffee at the Indian version of Starbucks, that I saw!)
First we watch the movie. Very interesting film made by an Irish priest, named Miceal Ledwith. He was a professor of Systematic Theology for sixteen years, and the president of Maynooth College in Ireland for ten years. Just what I needed, another one out there trying to answer the big question about Christ and the universe and our role in it. The portion of his research that we viewed had to do with the years in Christ' life between 12 and 30. Very interesting the comparisons he makes between Christ teachings and all the other Masters, Buddha, Krishna... He makes some interesting point and I would recommend watching the movie anyone interested.
After the movie, we had a chai and cookie break then came the meditation. We were 24 total. Everyone was arranged in a spiral in order of the sign of the Zodiac, and holding hands of the persons next to you, we were asked to close our eyes and visualize a picture of Jesus in our mind and with the most soothing and powerful music ever, we stayed like that for what must have been 20 or 30 minutes! Can you imagine standing without any movement eyes closed for 20 minutes? Well we all did it without realizing the time pass. It was really incredible. The image I had the whole time was one of a Puppet of Jesus in a show Sole and Kahlil used to do at Saint John Neuman "Let the Children come"! And I swear to you everyone, the kids were right there with me in that room. In the beginning I had tears running down my face like Peligre (long long ago when there was water there!) and then I just felt great and sort of enjoyed their "presence".
After the meditation, We just sat in a circle and introduce ourselves. That's when I found out eight of us were celebrating Christmas for the first time in their lives! We discussed the movie for a while. One young man had his doubt about miracles. I pointed out to him that just the fact that this weird group of people gathered here on Christmas Eve was a small miracle in itself, it doesn't have to be a walk on water for it to be a miracle. I told everyone the story of the prayer I found on Meli's FaceBook page that she had posted on August 4th, the day of Evna's birthday. That was a miracle.
Then we had a gift exchange. On the announcement posted on the walls they had asked everyone to bring a small gift to exchange. I received a marble cut owl which is a symbol of wisdom! Nice, ne?! There was an American newlywed couple on their honeymoon in India. We were the three from America. The woman had left for a minute as we were picking numbers for the exchange. "Santa" said he would pick a number for her. As he was going to, someone said "wait, here she comes". He puts the number back in his hat and she picks her own number. She ended up getting the present her husband had brought! Now how is that for a "coincidence"!
The evening ended with lots of laughter and hugs.
...well, not quite for me! But I have to go. The aarti is starting. I hear the music.
Will tell the story of how I got home in the morning. (I'll tell the story in the morning, I didn't get home in the morning!!!)