Hello folks, I’m back from the yatra, as calm and settled as can be nowadays. “What’s a yatra”, some of you wonder? This explains it, from the Yatra Australia website:
“A yatra is a unique journey providing a special environment to engage with and enquire deeply into the potential of ‘human awakening.’ In the company of like-minded people, it takes place within some of the most pristine landscapes of our natural world.
A yatra offers an integrative experience, combining physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual explorations in a secular environment. Being primarily based in the Buddhist tradition we also respect and draw from the wealth of many other wisdom traditions such as yoga, advaita, tao, modern science and tribal cultures.
A flexible combination of yoga, meditation, silent walking, dharma teachings, experiential exercises, story telling around the camp- fire, wholesome meals and our intuitive way of ceremony and creative expression support an unfolding process.
Got it? Let’s get on with it then. So we flew to Alice Springs, got the 4WD bus out towards Palm Valley (2 hours on sandy corrugated roads), and set up camp for the first three days.
Who’s ‘we’? Thirty intrepid walkers, with full camping gear each for 10 days, plus a daypack for the daily hikes. There were also 2 Buddhist teachers, a vegetarian cook called TeaCosy, 3 volunteer assistants to help with pack up/pack down, and a partridge in a
pear gum tree.
Desert temperatures in Australian winter are 20’C in the day (68F), but zero sometimes at night, hence puffer jackets, beanies, gloves and scarves.
I’ve done a yatra before, last year, so knew what to expect, but still… that first morning bell at 6.30am with frost on the tent fly was hard to obey!
Cup of tea (no coffee allowed), then stumble to the meditation circle, clutching a blanket, as bundled up as you can be, ready to sit from 6.45-7.30. Porridge for brekky, then make lunch box of salads with egg and falafels, before either another meditation, or the start of a walk.
And why did I take so many photos of that ring? See you soon for Part Two…
In gratitude for good boots and the privilege of meditation, G xO