The Power of Cleansing the Mind

“If you don't have joy in your mind, then you are unable to defecate properly.”

With each splash my foot creates in the murky puddles on the way into the village, I hear the joyful screams, shutters, and exclamations of village children, spewing out rants of dubious commands to their friends in Gujrati. The sweat streaming down my back mimics the pitter-patter of the mule trotting on the brown, beaten, rock filled paths. I finally catch a glimpse of the native villagers, and find myself flabbergasted at the enormous expressions of love through the pinning on of miniature brooms on our shoulders, and the thoughtful placement of colorful tikkas on our forehead. We slowly paraded into the ancient city, drawn compellingly into a circle dance, jubilantly singing the beautifully crafted songs native to the villagers of Lilapur. As we crossed our feet, turning side to side with each gallant step around the platform, I witnessed the joy that came upon the faces of each child, smiling as they saw foreigners unable to embody the beat of the music in their movement, unable to sense the joy of the dance in their hearts.


Reflecting on this time in Lilapur, I stand in amazement at the stark contrast between the way my daily life operates, and my overwhelmingly unique encounters with the villagers. Each interaction I engaged in while in Lilapur was full of genuine joy, from the wonderfully heartfelt hospitality in the homes of villagers, to our bumping camel rides throughout the village. The partnerships and relationships I fostered with children while in Lilapur weren’t based upon the isolation or exploitation of others. It was based upon the inclusion and the esteeming of other individuals. In my interactions with friends and peers at school, we base the premise of our friendships on self destructive behaviors such as sleeping as least as possible, refusal to help our friends struggling in their academic or personal lives, for the sake of our own survival. I experience on a daily basis the constant complaints of friends about the flaws in their endless amounts of privileges such as food, transportation, or living quarters, which even I engage in occasionally. In thriving on self-destructive behaviors and constant complaints, we feed our minds with negative food, and as a result, we produce negativity in our lifestyles, and particularly in our interactions with other human beings. Meanwhile schools such as Riverside challenge their students to thrive on the enormous privileges they possess each day, deliberately practicing an alteration in their perspective on life.


Studies have shown that the mental, or the non-physical, heavily impacts the physical body. Toxic attitudes, and mentalities full of deleterious thoughts produce an unhealthy body, unsafe for us to inhabit. One imperative way for the body to release toxicity exists in the ability of it to excrete waste or to defecate. Similarly, when we relinquish harmful mindsets of degradation, griping, and of unappreciation, we create room in our hearts for joyful thoughts and experiences, such as those found in the profound connections with the villagers of Lilapur, The deliberate practice of unclogging our mind, creates free flow for open mindedness in our interactions with a cross section of people, stripping away our comforting misconceptions and preconceptions. We are also provided more opportunity for our hearts to grow in its capacity to express compassion, empathy, and a renewed sense of joy in our conversation, in our interactions, and in our dance.


As I danced around and around in Lilapur, I basked in the carefree weight of my body, flailing in the air, feeling and smelling of one who defecated properly.