It was a beautiful Wednesday afternoon at the Ashram, the sun was shining, a slight breeze, the kind of afternoon that just made you feel like you were being called to be outside, every step taken having a little extra pep. As I walked, I soaked in the sights of the Ashram, enjoying the beautiful forested areas that surround each of the paths and roads throughout. Slowly I approached the All deity temple and the temple of Lord Shiva near the front of the Ashram, the sound of the cars beyond the walls on the busy street began to become more clear, the tell tale beeps of car horns ringing as a slew of vehicles weaved in and out of one another. It’s funny, you almost completely forget the busyness of the outside world when at the ashram, it feels like a different world tucked away in the busy city of Ahmedabad. In between the puja offering pit at the front of the Shiva temple and the all deity temple, there lay a line of old concrete benches, tucked away underneath the trees. This seemed like a perfect spot to sit to enjoy the wonderful weather and to bust into one of my already to many accumulated books. As I sat, I looked to the left of me at the temple of Lord Shiva, catching the eye of a older female dog who I think had a similar idea. The moment our eyes met, she pepped up and began a slow trot to where I was sitting, at first she was a bit timid, but not in the “I’m afraid of you” sense, but more so in the “I’m waiting for you to shoo me away” type of timid. There was a sort of uncertainty on both our parts of what was ultimately going to happen next. So I did what I had done with the million dogs I had so affectionately connected with in the past, I stuck out my hand so that she could smell me and I placed my hand on her head, instantly all tension had dissipated. Slowly I pet around her ears and the back of her neck, she put her paw up on the bench, obviously wanting to lay next to me, but you could tell that she doubted I would allow such a thing. So persistently I gestured for her to come up as I continued to pet her and finally she jumped up, pressing her side against mine. I continued petting her, massaging her neck and giving little scratches down her back. She nuzzled her nose and face into my lap, as well as my side. She wanted to give me kisses on the face, but I thought this might be a bit too risky on my end, considering my hand was already black from the dirt hidden within her hair, although she didn’t look dirty or unhealthy, she did kiss my hands and loved smelling my freshly washed hair. We sat together like this for probably the better part of an hour, every time I would stop petting her, she was quick to give me a paw and a nuzzle to let me know that we just simply couldn’t be finished yet. After awhile she finally decided that she had some other important matters to attend to, there were a couple of spots behind us that just had to be dug in for a little bit. I sat there continuing to watch her do her own thing, until she finally went to lay down, I went up to pet her and gave my goodbyes for the evening. It was a nice, unexpected surprise and some much needed affection on both our parts I think. It’s funny how earlier in the day, I was just thinking about some of the things I miss about being home and one of those things is having easy access to affection, rather human or animal. Affection is something I think we all thrive on, but it is definitely one of those things I find myself more often seeking than not. There is great beauty to be found in connecting to another living being and its something I hope to never take for granted.
Much love & peace as always,