Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Long letter from London

Dear All,

The London Daisy-growing-in-a-concrete crack experiment continues ...
If you are here because you found this address on a fluorescent green post it note in London, please indicate your presence by leaving a comment about yourself or sending me an e-mail. In fact, send me your address and, if you are the first person to do so, I will send you one of my CDs.
Location: London, England
Weather: Pleasant
Yesterday I left 6 out of the 27 Post Its in the following places:
1. Internet Cafe in Brixton (1 post it)
2. Railing of the steps of Green Park Underground station (3 Post Its - two going and one coming back)
3. Elevator in Covent Garden tube station (1 post it)
4. On the train from Green Park to Brixton (1 post it)
It's not very likely that people will take the time to look up the address, given that everyone is so busy ... in addition to which, a green Post It stuck somewhere in public can easily be lost in the clutter of the city ... overlooked as another piece of rubbish. Hmmm ... but who knows.
In terms of spirituality in the city ... after waking up and wondering about it yesterday, I was virtually accosted by it when I went to Covent Garden just before midday. A young man meandered his way towards me through the crowds, smiling brightly. I wasn't going to stop, but he looked so glowing and pleasant that I slowed down to hear what he was saying. He was attempting to give me a book (hard cover version of The Science of Realization). I told him that I already had that book, since when I was in London last year November someone else had given it to me (in a similar way). He then asked me where I was from and when I said "Trinidad", he said: "Oh, I have a friend from Trinidad. He comes to our Temple." We chatted for a while. He is a Hare Krishna. In parting, he said "Here's a gift" and gave me a book - The Yoga of Divine Love. Interestingly, the inscription at the beginning of the book says: A world renowned yoga master cuts through the commercialism that now clouds the real meaning of yoga. It made me think of spirituality cutting through the commercialism of the city ... but also made me think of spirituality itself being advertised in order to get through to the masses.
Immediately after that, I was drawn to a store called the Tibet Store. I was reading a little handwritten note about the prayer flags and the woman in the store came and started talking about them - how it's believed that the wind carries the sutras into the atmosphere, etc. She said that people never bought the flags until there was a programme about Tibetan prayer flags on TV - after which lots of people started coming into her store and buying them out. We started to chat. She is from Tibet and looks fairly exotic (maybe in her late 30's/early 40's) - and had a glow similar to the Hare Krishna man. She's been living in London for 10 years ... the first five of which she said she hated and wanted to go back home. I asked her why ...
She: The people. They were so cold. I felt disconnected.
Me: What happened to change it?
She: I became like them.

I told her that maybe she became like that on the surface, as a protective mechanism, but that inside she never really changed. She agreed and said she had settled in and grown to like it, saying that "Time changes things." In fact she was very serene and meditational in spirit and was telling me that she enjoys coming to her little shop which is like an oasis in the midst of the bustling city. She asked me where my accent was from and I said Trinidad, which she knew about because she has friends who go there on holiday sometimes. So we chatted about that for a while then I had to leave and go to work.
Well, she and the Hare Krishna man felt like daisies springing up in the midst of the crowds. Later on the train on the way to work, there was a young man who was smiling at us, told us hello very chirpily and told us goodbye when we were walking up the escalator past him and what must have been his father. He didn't look crazy ... but it struck me that sometimes when people are open and friendly, others might think they are a little "off" or retarded. In fact, ironically, in public places sometimes people even regard very open, friendly and smiling people with suspicion. I once saw a woman walking down the street smiling in Trinidad and people were looking at her as if she was crazy. What if she was just smiling at a memory ... or because it was a nice day and she felt happy? Another day, there was a woman singing as she unpacked her groceries at HiLo (in Trinidad). I noted that the cashier was leaning away from her and giving her strange looks.
Anyway, about work ... today is the second to last day with the second school, Salisbury. They completed their filming yesterday and today we will review the footage and, if there is anything they need to redo, they'll do it. Tomorrow, the final day, will most likely be spent tying up any loose ends and watching the two films created in Trinidad earlier this year. Then ... a weekend of editing (Friday & Sunday) and it's all over. Then on to the official holiday part.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like you are having a wonderful time. Keep smiling

10:35 AM  
Blogger Kaivalya said...

In the yoga classes I teach, I've been encouraging my students to 'take their yoga off the mat and into the world' by smiling at strangers. The other day, we were discussing strategies. I suggested to start with little old ladies. Someone else mentioned the ease of trading smiles with small children. We all agreed that grumpy businessmen/women are the toughest customers...hard to get a smile out of them! But I think it's worth the effort. I believe that you find the kind of city you seek - a bright, sunny place or a dark, unfriendly place. This can depend entirely on your attitude. Sounds like you've found the Happy London! :-) Sending smiles to all who read this blog...

7:13 PM  
Blogger Elspeth said...


6:42 AM  

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