Thursday, December 10, 2009


"One who has control over the mind is tranquil in heat and cold, in pleasure and pain, and in honor and dishonor; and is ever steadfast with the Supreme Self.”

-The Bhagavad Gita


The windchill outside was -20 when I got up this morning at 4:30.

Yet the heat was on.

The apartment temperature was hovering around 70.

The cat ran back and forth in glee.

And when I turned on the tap, hot water came out.

I was grateful, grateful, grateful.

And I prayed for all of the others who are cold.

* * *


In February I awakened at 4:30am to a cold apartment.

I put a long, heavy hoodie over the flannel pajamas, oversize robe and two pairs of socks that I'd slept in. I made the bed, being careful to keep all three comforters nice and straight. I located my ski hat under the covers, and put it on, too. Then I found my slippers.

I touched the radiator; it was ice-cold.

I checked the thermometer; 58 degrees farenheit.

So I turned on the space heater in the yoga/meditation room. Then I went down the long hall to the unheated kitchen, where I turned on the toaster oven to make Ezekiel toast.


The lights went out. Total darkness. A fuse had blown.

So I felt my way back down the hall, found a flashlight, put on jacket and boots, and carefully trudged down three flights of icy back stairs to the basement. I grabbed ahold of the railing, and tried not to slip and fall. The only sounds were my footsteps echoing in the icy air. After getting the key in the hole and opening the door, I located the fuse box, flipped the switch, and carefully headed back upstairs.

While the toast cooked and the kettle heated on the stove, I went to the bathroom to wash my face and use the neti pot. But there was no hot water. My already-chapped face burned when I washed it, and all sleepiness vanished. Then I went down the long hallway to the kitchen and got the tea kettle so I could do the neti pot. I set the kettle on the toilet tank. While I was preparing the salt, the kettle slid off the tank and crashed to the floor, making the cat and me jump in shock.

Fortunately there was enough hot water left in it to do jala neti.

And once the toast was done, I was able to turn on the space heater and do my sitting practice.

Even though the front of the body was warm and the back was cold, I pretended to be a yogi in a Himalayan cave.

And I wondered how they did it.

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