Day 4: Monday was Labor Day in the US.
The day started pretty good. All of us were ready by 10 AM. A record for us, a slow moving family!
We were going on a hike to Rancho San Antonio. My daughter was especially delighted since her friend would be joining her. I was happy, she would be focused on someone else for the hike duration. I could let my thoughts wander and my spirit rejuvenate in the silence and beauty of nature. I could connect with my husband for some time and fill up my bucket. Note, the external filling of bucket needed by me. This part in me is called a Bahir Atm, focused on external source of happiness.
We picked up her friend and started walking. Both girls, armed with snacks and water and sun protection, holding hands and chattering away. Oh, Sweet music to my ears…..
LUNCH ALERT: Our lunch had been prepped. I had roasted some cauliflower and boiled the black eyed peas. Maybe, I am turning a corner with this meal planning routine. Thinking of all the steps and the time the different steps need to be executed to have a home cooked meal during Paryushan, even, if we are not home.
Pratyakhan or Pachkan or vow, is what helps followers of Jain Path stay on track, it puts boundaries to our behavior. I di not take the Pachkan of eating at home, not sure if I will be able to execute. Having done this today, maybe, just maybe I will take Pachkan/ vow for one of the remaining days of Paryushan. I feel like a kid learning to ride a bike.
Ideally, we would stay home and do contemplation on our Atma/Higher Consiousness, during Paryushan, my mom does that, and she is 79yo, but I am not ready to do that all day. Hence, knowing reality, it is prescribed for 48 mintues to house householders: also, called Samayik.
Samayik: it is the time spend in your Atma.
As time passes, we get more proficient in doing Samayik, and will spend less time on outward sources of happiness and more time on this internal fountain of light and joy, this will naturally increase the number of times we do Samayik during the day.
During the hike, I had a chance to speak with my husband about my daughter wanting a pet, real bad. Per my Jain beliefs, it is himsa, or violence, to keep a pet and I want to respect my daughter’s need for unconditional companionship.
With my chronic illness, our young child, it would not be easy to have an additional family member to take care of. We chatted about this, and it occurred to me maybe, I can find a volunteer animal sitting hour weekly at Pet stores or a Animal Rescue place on the weekends. My husband, a staunch supporter of Humane Society, said his plate is full, he can go just once a year with us. It would be up to me to take her and do that. I am going to start searching in earnest. It would be a great win- win for us.
Something Dr Jain talks about a lot, ritual without Bhaav is just Punya. Punya will get us another Manav gati, maybe even Dev gati, but what comes after that. Nigodh and travelling through many lifetimes and years or Tiryanch gati and then Manav gati. Can that be the goal then? Getting Punya? Is there more? Yes, Moksh is more, it is a state of being in eternal bliss. Why not aim for that and add the Bhaav to your activities/ ritual? Punya is donating to the Humane Society or Wild Aid. To reach the 14th Gunasthanak, we got to go within, to our AntarAtma, from 4th to the 12 Gunasthanak, then Nirvan and Moksh.
The goal of following the Jain Path, is to be in Sama Bhaav, no Punya and no Paap, us, focused on Self realization, you taking responsibility of realizing your Atma. The Jain Path described by the tirthankars, does say so not do social work, do it but with the Atma Bhaav,not with the Bhaav to gain Punya.
Punya is what got us the Jain family/ Sanskar, Atma Bhaav will bring us to Self Realization of our true nature, and living our true nature is Dharma!
The hike itself, was eventful, the kids played in the heat, happy to hang with the sheep and goats. I was hot and sweaty but content.
After the hike, we came home, had our lunch with cauliflower and black eyed peas, simply prepared by me. Abha, had dropped off Dahi vada for us. I do not count this, as eating in a restaurant, she prepares her food at home for a few people who order with her.
We were exhausted after the hike and decided to chill with “Luca”.
After “Luca”, came time for my husband to have some alone time. Both of us value alone time! It is hard to have a lot of that with a single child in the home. I have more of it since I am now staying home, 24/ 7. Him, he works 50 hours a week and weekend is his time to R&R.
I spent another evening with Dr Priyadarshana Jain for evening Pravachan. If you want clarity about what to do as a householder Jain, take a chance and listen to her. There are many Acharyas, Munis and Gurus, I have listened to in the last 50 years, and with her talks, I am able to understand my purpose and my path clearly.
Evening meal was simple: put tadka on the cauliflower and black eyed peas and made some rice to go with that.
Sleep, came quick, we were all tired from the hike.
I felt like this was my first real Paryushan day, where I had everything lined up as needed. I got there!