To other countries, I may go as a tourist, but to India, I come as a pilgrim.Martin Luther King Jr.
Having been welcomed with open arms nearly a year ago, Jonah Kest, revisited the place that opened his eyes to one of life's most profound lessons: everything you need to generate love, freedom and space is within yourself. Enriched by the spirituality and the beauty of India, Kest shares four new takeaways from his most recent trip:
Appreciate the Little Things
The beautiful country of India taught me to appreciate the little things in life. Most importantly, it demonstrated how this practice can flourish joy. One of the rituals I adopted was “morning chai” – a body-warming sensation that kickstarted my daily routine. On each bustling street corner of India, someone is making chai and every vendor incorporates their own flair. While some choose to add masala (an Indian blend of spices) or ginger and cardamom, the vendors never fail to pair their chai with black tea, milk and sugar. Waiting for my chai, I witnessed locals sitting on a nearby bench indulging in their cup of joy. From this recurring scene – the native people of India discovering peace within their morning beverage – I gained a new perspective: by appreciating the little things, I could access a joy that I had never known before.
Patience & Equanimity
Along my journey through India, my patience and equanimity were strengthened. In this spiritual environment, life happens at a slower pace. From meals to traffic to waiting in line, patience was essential in order to stay calm. I was surprised to find that my reactivity was continually tested. I was budged onto buses and nudged on the street. But through these tests of equanimity and patience, I realized how I must go with the flow and accept the uncertainties of everyday life.
Money Doesn’t Buy Happiness
Although India is a country that suffers from extreme levels of poverty, it was incredible to see the smiles on every person’s face. Their willingness to develop positive perspectives, despite their financial circumstances, proved the indispensable value of relationships, family and nature. These elements of life were not taken for granted among the Indian population. In fact, they were given more significance than money. The energy I felt in India was abundant in love, unlike anything else I’ve experienced.
Yoga is More than Poses
In India, 95% of yoga is dedicated to meditation. America, on the other hand, is more focused on the physical aspect of yoga. But, as India reminds us, the goal of yoga is to still the mind. My understanding of yoga was completely altered and continues to adjust because of my travels through India. To go to a “yoga class” doesn’t require walking into a studio, it only requires presence.