Meditation and yoga teacher
Time in Japan:
Where are you from? The east coast of Australia, near Byron Bay.
What brought you to Japan?
What do you do here? I work for a spiritual organization based in India and am posted here to Japan. We
have 2000 workers like myself all over the world, and we try to cover every country.
Is it a religious organization? No, it’s not a religion. The word religion suggests dogma, things that you have
to do. It’s not like that at all. We’re about spirituality, your individual
connection with the oneness of being, and that cannot be controlled by someone outside of
yourself. We teach yoga and meditation as a way to get in touch with that.
What’s the name of your organization? It’s called Ananda Maga, which means path of truth. Modern Tokyo seems to be the
exact opposite of spiritual.
How do you cope? To me, Japanese people have a very deep spirituality but it’s covered by the
material city, kind of pushed away in the rush of television and trains. But in their
sense of aesthetics and beauty and in their behavior and respect for one another
there’s a great spirituality. The roots of the society here are not materialistic.
Outside Tokyo it’s so different. I’d love to get on a motorbike and travel the
country, to get in touch with the old spirit of Japan.
Which other countries has your work taken you to? I’ve lived in Taiwan, in Taipei, for five years, in Germany before that, in
Sweden before that, and I’ve lived in India on and off.
So where does your money come from? It’s a big problem. We run meditation classes and teach a few yoga classes, and
I’ve just started running a weekend retreat program in English. As I said, we’re
based in India so we don’t get any financial help. In fact, we’re supposed to
help them. But our lifestyle is such that we don’t have a lot of money and don’t
need it anyway.
How long are you planning to stay? I just don’t know, as long as I’m posted here. I could be gone tomorrow or I
could be here for the next two years.
What do you like most about Japan? I love the refined behavior of the people. My friend was in Kobe when the earthquake
hit a few years ago and she said that although there was no food and water, it was
freezing cold and the store fronts were broken open, nobody looted them or took anything.
What' the weirdest thing you've ever seen or experienced in Japan? I was going to say myself! Especially for Japanese people, to see someone who looks
like a nun in bright orange must be a little strange.
If you could take one thing back from Japan to your native country, what would it be? Its a difficult question, because what suits here wouldnt necessarily go
down too well in Australia. Perhaps refined behavior. But it would be very difficult to
change Australians. Otherwise, the sense of aesthetics, beauty.
Where would you like to be when the big one hits? Id like to be here, and if I survive it there will be a lot of people who will
need my help.
You have to spend the rest of your life trapped on the Yamanote line. You're allowed to
take one book, one CD and one luxury item. What would they be?
The CD would be some nice spiritual chanting, a notebook to write down my thoughts and
some children because I love being with kids.
Didi runs weekend
retreat courses in yoga and meditation. Call her at 0424-64-8961 for details.