This is the home of my soul.
“I was travelling in India for six months, with a Lonely Planet in my hand, and I read about Pondicherry and this international township, which sounded interesting to me. I came by bus, and then I stayed. Just like that. I only went back to the United States to get the visa that I needed. You see, my former life was already wrapped up, I had already given everything away to go for a year of travel after my corporate life. It was an interesting synchronicity.
Why it was so clear to me? I cannot explain it to people who don’t live here. It is not to sound arrogant, but Auroville is an experience, an atmosphere. In California I had my spiritual pursuits and I would talk to people from time to time about it. But it was mostly me, quietly following my path, trying to become my better self, my conscious self. There I did not feel supported to do this important work; here I feel supported.
I also find it such a beauty and a challenge, to sit at a table with twelve people, with ten different nations represented, and only one of them has English as their first language even though all communication is happening in English. What that does, what the potentials are. And everyone is so different; you almost have to reach for a deeper connection because the situation represents a vast variation of cultures. You really have to look at what are the values, what gives meaning and then you find those commonalities that make the decision richer. Being exposed to that is very enriching and also very frustrating. I have learned so much being with people different from me in all these situations.
What I also try to tell people is that the liberation of not working for money is one of the most beautiful things in Auroville. I had a Porsche in California and the whole corporate life, but I have never been driven by money, and I had run my course with that experiment. The freedom of serving and doing things that I enjoy doing makes me happy, it is wonderful for my soul. It gives a lot of meaning to my existence on this planet.
The other wonderful experience about Auroville is the environment, the trees and the dirt, the mongoose, the snakes, the rain that I love. I am North American Indian and I have always been close to animals and all creatures, I have bats residing at my house, and snakes living in the garden. I love also the quiet… It is more quiet here on different levels, not only on the obvious level but also on the inner levels.
And, living in a place where the ideal is human unity is very meaningful to me. I have ego, I feel separate from other people, but I have had spiritual experiences where I felt oneness. To me this is the truth of the matter. So I live in a place where the aim is unity in diversity, and I am all for that. I remember when I lived in California, which is a lovely place, but it didn’t resonate with me. Auroville is the place that resonates with my soul. This is the home of my soul. No question, without a doubt this is my home.
It can be very challenging sometimes, where I have to step back and say, ‘The Divine is doing something that I don’t understand’. The Karma Yoga means working, being the instrument without having the expectation or the need to get a certain outcome. That was the toughest challenge to surrender when I first arrived. But now, the hardest thing is to see the division, a deep division in our community. We are supposed to be this ideal city and we are far from that. I am seeking harmony and connection, and not everybody is doing that and it has come to a very tense time right now, where there is anger and fear and distrust. It’s kind of weird in a spiritual community, to see people behaving with each other this way. Right now, that is the big challenge, how to keep my center in all this dividedness.
In Auroville I learned to surrender. You can bend or you can break. The ego is always there, it wants what it wants, it is judging, labeling. The deeper I can surrender – and I mean sincerely surrender, not just saying it but really letting go – the more I have an inner peace that is unshakable. It means really trusting that what is happening needs to happen for my Yoga, for me to become more self-aware, more conscious, and to become more of who I am: this one little Divine spark in this whole mass of humanity.”