Peace. The difference is astonishing. Really. I wake up to the sounds of...nothing, walk out my door and see the valley of Mcleod Ganj below me. The air is crisp and clear, the breeze fresh and the sky saturated with a white mist that floats evanescently through the deep green pine trees. I walk down, down, down, and down the hill, through small twisting roads and steeply inclined staircases to a 7am Yoga class. My body aches and protests to the motions long forgotten by muscle memory, but my mind is at peace and refreshed. After class I walk up the hill and buy 8 steamed street momos for 20 rupees, the sauce is spicy and the momos are hot. I cool the fire with a warm cup of chai and some sugar cookies while sitting on a bench under a grandmother of a tree, the valley extends below me, the hill continues above me.
I make my way up the hill to the Meditation center and am guided through a morning practice. My mind is cluttered and dusty, but I begin to take out a broom and sweep through the corners. Afterwards there is a Bhuddist teaching. "Let go." he says. "A closed fist can only cause pain and suffering, but an open palm can give and receive."
Letting go. Breathing. Walking up and down hill.
Rain on the window sill, cold showers, snuggling in my sleeping bag, hot chai, monkeys everywhere, stillness and silence. Nature is all consuming.
Breathing in, and breathing out.
Varanasi beckons me down the road, but for now I rest and am rejuvenated.