December 2018 – I never headed to Asia before- but there has got to be a first time for everything, and so I went on a three week adventure to Sri Lanka. The land of Buddha and Ayurveda: a perfect match!
I won’t make this a blog post a travel journey: too long and too boring. I just like to go into what stayed with me, during and after that trip.
On forehand I would like to convey, it’s just my way of seeing things and as Friedrich Nietzsche once said: “You have your way, I have my way, as for the right way, the correct way and the only way, it does not exist.”
There are two things that touched me: the kindness of the people and the simplicity of their spiritual practise. I think for both the Buddha has something to do with it…
I have not once come across hostility or aggression in Sri Lanka. A bad mood at most, and even for that I just recall one particular tuctuc-driver speeding his way through traffic – seemingly careless if we would come out dead or alive. For alllll the rest: Kindness.
A genuine interest and willingness to help, whether being a guide, a local shop owner, a passant on the street, the manager of a hostel or a cook. It is heartwarming to find the constant reflection of kind eyes, patience and effort to understand, to communicate and to share. I was amazed on a daily basis.
You want to get out of the train, but you struggle with your suitcase? They are happy to wait for you to find your way out, or much more likely, for a person to step up and help you carry. No, sighs, no impatient passenger blocking your way….
These kind of things, not once, but all the day, all three weeks. I promise you: it opens your eyes and you discover the effortless flow in which things could take place when there is no friction between people all the time. When we have practised the art within ourselves of patience, of stepping aside and of making an effort to meet the other. I think it is this flow that has made this holiday ‘effortless’. In Yoga we say: only when practise becomes effortles (in a relaxed state), prana (life force) can flow. So, a true Yoga OFF the mat- holiday, I would say 🙂
Another thing that pleasantly surprised me was the simplicity of the Sri Lankan their spiritual practise. In a Western Yoga-booming-society, where there is a Yoga challenge, a perfect Yoga legging, Yoga Pose, Yoga breakfast and Yoga bracelet around every corner – it is a true revelation that all you need for a Spiritual practice is a heart and air in your lungs. Hallelujah, I knew it!
What I came accross in Sri Lanka…..: you wake up, you smile, and within yourself you thank the Universe (or God, or whatever, they don’t really care how you wish to call it) for another day. You do some simple stretches: body working? Check! You go to work, and on the way there you take a two minute stop at one of the side road temples: you express your gratitude for all you have and ask for a safe journey that day where ever you may go. And the rest of the day you practise your spirituality by fostering kindness and compassion towards all living beings. Simple.
No need for a 3 hour practise every morning in the latest version of Lulumon Yoga pants, for 50 superfoods in your oatmeal and a constant shout-out of it being vegan. No need for an overprized and branded Ayurvedic oil to nourish your skin, or a chakra bracelet to balance your energies. But….before I am getting too sarcastic, let me just stop there. I think you get what I mean to say 🙂
To me it all seems very complicated – the way we approach spirituality in Western society – and there seems to be a constant need for the exposure of it.
Why? Can we now also compete with our level of ‘spirituality’? It seems like it. And the funny thing is that whereas I feel like the major part of spiritual practise in Sri Lanka is performed in day to day life (revealing itself through kindness and compassion) in Western society things flipped around: we place so much emphasis on our ON the mat practise that the significance of just how we engage with life on a daily basis seems to have diminished.
My last night in Sri Lanka was on New Years Eve. A wonderful night that I got to celebrate with two joyful guys from Brasil. I posted the following about it on Instagram and I feel it sums up the whole point I try to make quite accurate. I hope it inspires you just as much as I have been inspired by Sri Lanka.
“New Years Eve on #mirissabeach in #srilanka with these two happy souls from Brasil and many more surrounding us was the final blessing to an amazing holidays in Sri Lanka.
The most beautiful thing of Sri Lanka?? The people 💯. They are kind, happy, uplifting, with arms wide open. We can learn so much from them.
Barefoot, simple shorts and shirt, bikini still underneath, no make up and dancing…..:could not have entered the new year more me. Natural. Simple. Happy.
To know and feel that I only need little to be happy is the most uplifting and empowering realization and remembering there is.
As I jumped over the first 7 waves that rolled on the beach after midnight (a Brazilian tradition for good luck) I wished to take that sense of ease and simplicity into the new year.
Blessings to all y’all. May you find a simple version of yourself and smile from ear to ear ❤️.”