Yashodhra Ashram set in the beautiful mountains of southeastern British Columbia, sounds so inviting to spend while I was in between times. It’s a place for all ages and backgrounds who want to further ones self-development.
Its main purpose is to stimulate open intellectual and spiritual enquiry, supporting the potential of transformation in each person.
I decided to sign up for a two-week stay in working Yoga and paid my way to do work in the ashram. The cost was minimal and I can join a course offered when I was off duty.
Working yoga was basically about mindfulness. Doing the same thing over and over and paying attention to what I did. For example: one of the duties was to sweep the floor. I swept all day long until my mind got carried away from the swinging of the broom from left to right; right to left; back and forth, forth and back. It was meditative. Oh, cleaning the bathroom was an experience and a half. What came about was instead of cleaning the bathroom; I was cleaning my internal thoughts. The weeding in the compound, peeling potatoes, burning trash, these can take me out of myself. Pretty Zen or what?
Hatha Yoga was also offered. The poses for Hatha Yoga took getting used to because it required meditation; active imagination for me. The contortion involved was not a problem for this body was younger then. The favorite pose I did was the Archer where I imagined the arrow released boomerang and struck my heart. The image came to mind was when a lance pierced Jesus Christ.
Whatever I learnt, I translated it to my Catholic upbringing.
At the end of the property by the cliff side, a Temple of Divine Light overlooks the Kootenay Lake. The Temple is a place for those who want to find the Light in their own religion or practice such as Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islāmic, Judaism, Taoism and a lot more. I learnt how to sing a Jewish song, Hindu song and danced the Lord’s Prayer. They have service called sat sang which I was having a hard time grasping due to words used are not related to Gospel written in the Bible.
Across the lake is the famous Ainsworth Hot Springs and I could easily escape the ashram should I need to take a hot bath. There are no bathtubs in the ashram since it’s not really a 5-star hotel. There must be at least five of us in the “chalet” and my quarter is up in the attic that I froze my extremities.
I lasted one week. Why? Here’s an interesting story.
One early morning, I saw a man by the main hall. He was hippie looking, long dark hair and beard. We waved at each other and thought he is a new comer. I was on my way to the temple in search for this divine light. I met one of the workers that was frantically running and I asked him what the commotion was all about? “Intruder alert”, he shouted. Oh dear, I followed him because I don’t want to meet a bogey man by myself.
The next thing I knew, they were escorting the hippie looking man out of the property. When he was out of the property, I took the courage to speak to him. He said he went to the dining area, asked if he could have something to eat and he has money to pay for the meal. He was denied and asked to leave. It was very upsetting for him because he thought that this is a Jesus place where he will be welcomed. I felt sorry for him and beyond disbelief. The man looked harmless to me; he is clean-looking and did not emit any odor. With this nose, I can smell FOUL
Intuitively, I know I do not belong to this place. I took that as a sign to say adieu. Pack my stuff, went to the office to file my resignation letter and they may keep the balance as severance pay. Then I hitch hiked out of that galaxy.
Did I find the light? I did. The intruder showed me the way and the light. Another temple, another time.