Monday, September 11, 2006

Berlin Workshop

There are about sixteen of us piled together in one large room, on mattresses and sleeping bags with two showers and one toilet between the whole lot of us. The house itself, with a nice wild looking little garden on the side, is on the outskirts of Berlin in a suburb called Frohnau. I dont know what it means to you to share a toilet and bath with fifteen others but to someone used to having her own bath and toilet and spending as much time communing with nature as she wants to, it is sheer torture. To always be on the alert for the next person who wants to use the loo or to brush his teeth or whatever. Not my idea of fun but well, it was all for a good cause.

The Berlin group was meeting for a weekend session so it was all in the name of bonding and community spirit (which seemed to be the main theme) and all these minor discomforts could be overlooked.

It's a pretty big group in Berlin, I think Marlis said there were over 50 people from Samuel's group, although about fifteen or so tend to turn up for the evening sessions which are held every Wednesday at 7.30. The scene is similar to the one in Bombay, with music and being still together and looking at areas of common interest. Except there is no official leader. And it was good to experience what it was like. Quite chaotic I must say and I realised then why it is necessary to have a person to at least convene a group like this because otherwise you spend literally hours discussing topics like how to go about meals, or whether to listen or not listen to music. On Wednesday evening for example, we spent at least an hour or more, trying to decide who would bring what to eat, and the rest of the time we spoke about why we needed to spend an hour talking about who would bring what to eat.

Well then another way to look at it is it is all part our learning process, even the chaos. There were a few people I knew, such as Barbara who had come to the Goa workshop in 2004, and Rosa who was there even earlier, and Ursula who had been there in Madikeri.

The most embarassing thing that happened was that at midnight on Saturday/Sunday, when everyone had already turned in and was fast asleep the alarm on my watch started to beep. At first I didn't even realise where it came from until I turned on my side and the beeping got louder. I managed just about to switch it off but to my horror it started to beep again at one o'clock at night and I had this vision of the watch beeping every hour and me staying awake to catch it before it went off. Obviously something had gone wrong with the alarm function and I would have been happy to throw the damn watch out of the window. I fiddled around for a while and luckily managed to de-activate the alarm after which the clock itself went wonky and it kept showing quarter past nine no matter how hard I tried to set the time.

So today I bought myself a new watch and am still busy admiring it and looking at the date and time every five minutes.

group website:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

attending group meditations,sharing a loo, wrestling with a stubborn alarm watch, ...hat's great, Uma. Waiting for you to get back! sudha