Note this is part of a series. It presents experiences and teachings, as I understood them, that I had at the Oneness Univeristy in August, 2007. To start at the beginning click here.
We Arrive At Our Campus
After arriving in Chennai (formerly Madras) at midnight, we all stood outside for a while, not quite in the rain, not quite totally dry. There was music coming from a snack kiosk, overly-full rickshaw taxis driving by, people milling about and it suddenly occurred to me—I’m in my own Bollywood movie! I’m not quite sure why we were waiting. At the time I thought it was for more people to arrive, but with psychic hindsight, I think that standing around and waiting is built into everything you do in India—it’s an occupation by itself.
After a quiet (for India) taxi ride through the night, where I found myself using my psychic energy to try to get the taxi driver onto the right side of the road, we arrived at our campus. We were met by Ruth, one of the helpers. Her role was to help with any details that didn’t have to do with our actual process. She gave us a quick verbal tour (including the very important information about where the phone and internet services were located) and then we began settling in.
My dorm room was on the ground floor. There were 13 beds in all. That first night all the beds filled up except for three. The next morning we went exploring. Our campus consisted of two dorm buildings (one for the men and one for the women) and another building that contained two meditation halls and the cafeteria. There were a couple of other buildings under construction. Watching the men and women basically hand construct a three or four floor building became one of our greatest past times. In particular we watched the women carry cement in baskets on their heads, while wearing their beautiful saris that never got dirty.
Periodically I went upstairs to check if the phone/internet store was open so I could call home. I noticed many empty rooms. I had an assumption that they weren’t going to fill up, just because I’m generally the last to arrive at any gathering. I was to find out how wrong that assumption was! In the afternoon the big sleep decended upon my roomies and myself. It was the sleep of the drugged. Tuning into the energy of it I felt we were getting our first taste of a Oneness Blessing transmission. My ears could pick out signals like a radio station. I felt Bhagavan was communicating with the dhasas (guides/teachers) this way. Unfortunately I didn’t know the “language” they were using.
During that long afternoon of sleep and more sleep, I would periodically get up and stagger off to the bathroom. After one such trip, I wandered into the lobby and found myself in a surreal dream atmosphere. There was a large group of women milling around, speaking in a language that I didn’t recognize. One woman had green hair. Was I dreaming, I wondered? Then someone rolled their suitcase across my foot. Ouch! I decided to go back to bed and sleep more.
During that afternoon when the heavens could have parted and I wouldn’t have noticed, both dorms filled to capacity, including our room. There were groups from Italy, Belgium, Taiwan, and Holland. Our group, called the U.S. group, had people from Japan, Germany, Croatia, Brazil, New Zealand, Australia, England, Argentina, and Mexico. Basically it was the English speaking group. The other nationalities gracefully bore being called the U.S. group throughout the whole process.
Registration Day AKA The Day From Hell
The following day, I awoke in great excitement. Today we start! We had a general meeting in the morning where the rules were laid out. During our 21 day process (of which we were already on the second day) we were to maintain silence, never take pictures, don’t feed the dogs or monkeys, don’t take notes during the teachings and stay segregated (men from women). There’s something about a rule that is stated in a negative…it seems to ensure that people will do the opposite. Our process was no exception. Many of us broke silence in many ways, some outright such as the Italian group which never stopped talking, and some through the phone or internet (me!). Pictures were taken particularly during our very sacred intitation (annoying the heck out of me) and Americans actively fed the dogs and would have the monkeys but they never seemed to materialize. And note taking was quickly adopted by all of us.
Then came the announcement of what papers we needed for registration. Somewhere while flying over the Pacific Ocean, the required papers had been changed. They were now requiring a copy of our visa as well as our passport. Ha! I thought, I’m homefree. I had actually made a copy of the visa already (having endured many Mexican registrations, I knew about overpreparing). But then they stated that not one, but two copies were needed. My heart sank. I would have to get in the long, slow copier line from hell. It was very ancient and excruciatingly slow. Standing in line on a cement floor for an hour and a half is one of the toughest physical challenges possible for me. I was already quite cranky when I got to the front of the line but then I was told that they’d changed their minds and one copy was enough. I don’t think anyone thought that grimace on my face was a smile. I went over to another line where the helpers checked our paper work to make sure we had everything before registration.
After lunch the really miserable registration process began. That line was two and a half hours long. Again we stood on a cement floor in our barefeet (we took our shoes off at the entrance to every building). If you think I’m whining about this please remember that one of the ways that prisoners are tortured is to make them stand for long periods of time, on a cement floor, barefoot, in a confined area. Welcome to registration in India.
Finally the moment arrived for me to step up to the registration desk. By this time I was a bit mystified. What did registration mean exactly? Did we sign things? Answer questions? Get papers stamped? Nope, we handed over our papers. AND THAT WAS IT! Sheesh! Couldn’t we have given our papers to our helpers to give to them? I have to hand it to the Indians, though. When it comes to bureaucratic processes and long slow lines, they beat the Mexicans hands down. India obviously has 5,000 years developing their techniques, to Mexico’s 150.
I Am Suffering!
By the end of that day every single fiber of my being hurt. One of India’s religions is Buddhism, known for focusing on the ending of suffering. I felt like I had just been inducted into suffering instead. When I review my journal, I’m struck by my notes during the orientation meeting. It was stated that during the Oneness Process we would be learning the three D’s: Discovering Grace, Discovering Myself, Discovering Love. Not today!
After a bit of a cry for myself, I thought maybe tomorrow things will be better….
Copyright © 2007 gia combs-ramirez. All rights reserved