I’m sitting in my (icily air conditioned!) car at an intersection south of Playa del Carmen. It is Saturday morning and the sun has well and truly risen over the horizon, casting its warmth over the jungle, the buildings, the beaches, the highways, the monkeys and the people.
I love Saturday mornings. It’s the time I attend a Kundalini yoga class with my favorite teacher. A few of my friends have started going and we often converge afterwards for juice or scrambled eggs and coffee.
Since experiencing the benefits of Kundalini yoga, morning ‘sadhana’ has become a part of my daily routine, consisting of some basic movements, breathing exercises, mantra and meditation.
It is a holy practice for me which feels like a prayer and not an exercise regime.
The meditations are powerful and chanting mantra has connected me to the Infinite in a more visceral way. I feel it rather than just believe in it. It is part of me and I am part of it, which is the ‘union’ yoga provides a pathway to.
I am singing along to the music in my car, dressed in white clothing with a white scarf wrapped around my head. Rather than being a (rather odd) fashion statement as I had originally thought, white clothing extends the magnetic field of the body (the aura). Wrapping the head in natural cloth protects the energy which rises through the crown chakra at the top of the skull during practice.
A stream of smoke catches my eye as it drifts out of a car window to my right. I see a hand flicking cigarette ash onto the road and recoil, not in judgement, but at the memory of how it felt to smoke on a Saturday morning. The burn in the lungs, the nausea as the smoke hits the stomach, the focus it brings to be doing something, however destructive.
Ingesting substances to regulate my mental and emotional state was the norm for a large part of my life. I totally get it. Smoking or drinking or taking something to change how we feel works, at least temporarily, which is why so many people do it.
We all want to feel better. More calm. More alive. More free. We all want to feel less lonely and connected to something greater.
That is the reason I drank and smoked for so long. Not become addicted or unhealthy or miserable, but to feel better than I did before.
I believe that everyone is looking for a solution to themselves. I do. We all want to feel good.
We all want to be happy.
The Dalai Lama was at a restaurant once and his waitress asked him about the meaning of life.
His reply was, “That is easy. The meaning of life is happiness. The difficult part is figuring out how to get there.”
Behind the car with the smoke trailing out of it is a small red hatchback with the windows up. A young man inhales through an electronic cigarette and exhales a milky vapor into the container of the car.
Life is continually evolving better solutions.
We do what we know to do until we discover something better. And then something better. And better. It doesn’t end, this discovery of what brings true happiness; true peace; true freedom.
I know that I am no different to these people inhaling nicotine on a Saturday morning, I’ve just discovered a way which works better for me.
And I smile at the three of us, converged at a traffic light, all doing what we know how to do to be happy.