Staying on that tight busy street with all the Goldens hotels (Bridge , Apartel, Sunrise, Hotel, etc) on St. 278 in Boeung Keng Kang. I'm on the 6th floor walk up of apartel with a ‘lobby’ that is a dark wall entry hall. There’s construction during the day, but in the evenings Wat Langka’s tall spires glitter gold. A cool undusy breeze, no mosquitos.
This 6am I walk around the neighborhood in search of the Kundalini yoga place. A young Khmer woman motos up, & invites me up to the sadhana on the covered roof. A Dutch woman in whites (Sikh colors) leads breathing exercises with four young Khmer with white head covering.
Simple and difficult for me, the breath of fire, arms over the head, – energizing the prana and the third eye. Her sadhana talk is simple: "you are precious because of who you are not necessarily what you do. Listen to your destiny and it will come to you." I’m a bit too old to have a destiny, but I like the idea. "Examine your body," she says, "send it all blessing equally, to observe the events of our life, good and bad, equally. "
Finally, we are instructed to mull 'I am here to be __ in order to ____.' "Not just in your mind," she says in a glow , "consider it with your whole being." I give it my best effort. Blank. Then more sensed than words, I'm here to be human…awake, shining. In order to, what? Blank again, then I hear the tune, vaguely, what are the words? ‘’Give yourself to love, love is what you’re after.” But I hear “purify the earth." What does that mean?
We end with the lotus mudra at our heart. And I have this blissful, gorgeous experience of being the flower, that all of us are flowers of exquisite light. Brings me to tears and bliss.
Afterwards, Helga introduces herself invites me to yogi tea downstairs. How can I say no? I was longing for chai all along. She takes off her white kerchief, and her thin hair falls past her waist. She looks thin and older close up; she was shining on the mat before us. The lovely young Khmer are also kundalini teachers. She and her husband worked in development NGOs, have been back and forth to Cambodia since 1990. They've seen what does and doesn’t work, she says. So they decided to focus on the individual instead. But they've also set up kundalini programs among urban poor youth.
Feeling bliss, an odd state for Phnom Penh. This time, I'll make a point to attend Wat Lanka's Thursday meditation session. I stop for some kieutiew, breakfast noodle soup, enroute way to the office. It's almost 8am and heating up.
Chona and I get to the early morning Kundalini sadhana a few more times. I wonder if it unlocks some portal, or if my apartel is on some cosmic flight path. I'm churning with dreams.
My next time in Phnom Penh I visit the Kundalini center and learn that Helga is dead. The Khmer teacher of our morning sadhana class explains calmly, "She suffered a massive stroke in Bangkok." I'm not sure why it shakes me so. I recall the light sweet air of my first morning here, and wonder what she answered to “I am here to be __ in order to ____". No doubt our answers change, but our life's goal might be whatever we answer last.