I don't want to go to India.
India is crowded. It's dusty. It's hot- and from what I've been told, a little smelly. The flight takes forever. The airfare's expensive. The food can make you ill and the roads are very bumpy.
Also... I don't want to live in an ashram. I don't want to shave my head. I don't want to chant all day long and spend 42 hours a week meditating. I don't have that kind of time. I don't want to wear orange robes and change my name to Assalakamala and fast for 2 weeks straight. Besides, I have two small children! I can't go away for that long.
I realize that this might be an unfair exaggeration of what India is like and it's very true that my distorted perception of India is from watching "Slumdog Millionaire" one too many times. I'm sure that parts of India can be quite beautiful and enchanting. I've heard some good things. But it's sooo far. And did I mention the dust?
My point is really this: Does one really have to travel to the far ends of the earth for enlightenment? Can't enlightenment be found while meditating on a rusty park bench in Cleveland? Can't it be waiting for you in the hiking trails that wind behind your Aunt Suzy's house in Lindenhurst? Isn't is possible that it's waiting for you in your own living room while sitting in Lotus pose in your favorite pair of gray sweats?
Perhaps there is something magical about India, but I want to find a connection to the Universe right here at home. I need to find a way to make enlightenment fit into my life the way it is right now. I don't want to wait for it. I don't wait until my children are grown or my husband can get enough vacation time or I can save up some money... I want to start my journey today. I want to feel more connected, more peaceful and I want to have an inner serenity. I want to change my life and make it better than it is right now. I want to feel that I'm on the right path for me. I want to know more about God than I know today.
Maybe one day I will travel to India. Perhaps I'll find that the food is delicious and that I look great in an orange robe. But until then, my life and my obligations are here. My home is my ashram, my kids are my little Guru's and I'll try to squeak in an hour of yoga and mediation every day. Can I find enlightenment like that? I don't know. But, it's my true hope that at the end of my journey I will be able to report not only that enlightenment exists for Yogi's in India, but that it exists even for busy Mom's at home, like me.