Day 309: Lima, Peru
The only thing I knew about Hare Krishnas was that they appeared at airports to give you flowers and I’m pretty sure I learned that from the movie Airplane.
Religion aside, I learned a lot during my nine days staying at the Eco-Truly Village. The greatest lessons weren’t about the religion but about how we can all be happier.
The world will not crumble if we are late
Thanks to my mother, I’m compulsively early and it really bothers me when people are late. I’ve become more relaxed about time from traveling but the Hare Krishnas made me question why I need to be bothered at all.
I was given a schedule my first day but nothing came close to being on time. No one rushed around or wondered when lunch would be, they knew the bell would ring when it was ready.
No one was stressed about time. I realize that we have enough issues in our lives that we need to worry about, why do we need to stress about being on time.
Food is not just fuel, it brings people together
I already knew this but I had always eaten with people similar to me: friends, family, travelers. This was the first time I was with a group of people I had nothing in common with – or so I thought.
The meals are leisurely and I got to understand a very diverse group of volunteers and the residents as people and not just the ‘Hare Krishnas.’ We all talked about food, music and travel and I learned how people grew up and what they loved about their home.
Helping in the kitchen was just as rewarding. I worked with Madre Santa who had been at the village for 12 years and as we peeled potatoes she told me about where she grew up, her extremely large family and how her mother language is actually Incan Quechua.
There is no one right way to be happy in life
One of the most interesting aspects being in Eco Truly is that you can learn as much or as little about the Hare Krishna religion as you want. Perhaps they are sensitive to many people’s perception that they are weird or wacky but they are very careful with comfort levels.
We could all learn from this: why do we force any of our beliefs on other people?
Instead of trying to recruit or teach me that the Hare Krishna life is better, they just allowed me to experience as much of it as I wanted. Other than volunteer work in the morning, everything was optional, including temple. They never once told me about their beliefs without me asking.
If we stopped spending so much time judging instead of listening we’d all be in a better place.