2019-01 Return to Auroville

• Today, January 9 I take on the train for Auroville. The new year has passed, the new moon and the solar eclipse too. I felt it was the right time to make the break with Varkala, and the opportunity to try an immersive experience. I chose a project, Sadhana Forest, one of the most eco concerned, simple, vegan and strict community. Its also has a very open and easy approach and friendly welcome policy which is not necessarily one of the strong points of Auroville, that I find, at first glance difficult to access. It is located on the outskirts of Auroville, any use of drugs, tobacco or alcohol and proscribed for residents, within the community but also outside during the duration of the stay. The minimum commitment is 4 weeks for anyone under 40 years old. Above 40 and for Indians of all ages, the minimum duration is 2 days. The eco responsibility, the zero waste and the minimal use of water are the heart of the project which focuses on the reforestation of an arid zone. The living conditions seem pretty spartan. I hope to meet beautiful people, learn life skills, eco responsibility, botany and probably much more. Community life will be a bit of a challenge for me, but also, I hope, an opportunity for expression and personal development. This will undoubtedly allow me to draw a parallel with Folleterre and maybe to bring things back. I do not know how long I will stay there, I wish I can hold it out for two weeks which would allow me to visit other projects and have more opportunities to meet people without forgetting that I want to try the meditation petals of the Matrimandir.
• It is now 6 days that I am at Sadhana Forest and I feel very good. The atmosphere is really nice, the community is currently made up of 60 to 80 people with a little more than a dozen long-term volunteers from fifteen nationalities. The daily tasks are demanding, they concern the daily life of the community (cooking, hygiene, storage, wood, composting), as well as reforestation tasks (site preparation, planting, mulching, watering). There is also a development center for children from nearby villages and a sanctuary for cows. Most volunteers are motivated and hard-working, but as in any community you have to deal with differences in character and commitment, learn from each other in cooperative work and social interaction. We have a lot of free time everyday and during weekends. I visited the Matrimandir and spend time in the garden and in the petal meditation rooms and inner chamber. I also roamed around the Auroville trails and discovered some neighborhoods. I have planned a few visits to other farm and reforestation projects as well as the botanical garden to see what opportunities exist there. At Sadhana Forest I mainly learn to use a lot less water, I discover water saving techniques, as well as the model of dry toilet used. I discover some plants such as hibiscus Rosella whose flower, bulb and leaves are edible, I will bring cuttings back to Varkala. I am not missing Varkala so far, and on the contrary I’m doing well with the pace and way of life of here.
• Of course it’s not perfect, it’s a very scholastic and organized environment, there is little or no room for gone or creativity. This is quite paradoxical compared to the mode of education which is that of ‘un-schooling’ where the child is the master of his activities and his mode of learning outside any educational rule. The people within the community are very interesting, dynamic, generous and voluntary. There are some wacky but little folly or fairyness. This community is based around family principles , so it is quite, very hetero normed. This trip will have allowed me to discover techniques and see my limits within a community that is too organized. In a way I dream of a community such as the fairies who would settle here in Auroville, I may be tempted an approach in this direction. I did not hear a lot of people in Sadhana or during the youth center festival, where I met Aurovillians of all generations, more or less concerned by the place of the LGBT community within Auroville. In parallel, the community of fairies will take possession of a new place in Portugal early February, so, I will have desires to go and get involved in this new project. Its now time to take the train back to Varkala where I will be able to let it all settle down and enjoy the beach and the warmer climate again. It will be a time to let all these experiences and thoughts decant and see where it takes me. I have no or little engagements for the next weeks and probably months but I know things will happen inside and out.

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