22 January 2017

HikingForest

After doing a #Hamtapass trek, trekking has become one of my "Dil maange more..." things. Also unlike any other sport activities it is something very unpredictable and brings down anyone's lifestyle to a survival mode. As of yet I have seen people demanding only two things when they hike, first is obviously some resting time and food. Everything else is offered to you by the nature sights

Hiking is not where people compete, and it demands unity. Not the fastest one, but the slowest one decides the speed of your group. Walking with the loaded stuffs makes you aware of the things you are carrying unnecessarily. So before I do our next long trek, this one day trek at Vijaynagar Forest was a perfect opportunity, specially when I had never been to the forests before.

We started early in the morning from Ahmedabad, and reached Polo forests around 9 am. In next 10 minutes after warming up, we started walking. Our organizer, the little young man was carrying his own rule book in his head, which included we keep silence and do not talk, do not touch anything unless required, do not pick up stuff on the way, do not break anything, and most importantly do not use our mobiles or camera. I really like the kind of awareness he was trying to create. I had no issues with not using mobile also, but I like capturing surroundings, and being a tester soul breaking rules always tempts. So I took liberty whenever the sight itself was loudly telling me to capture it. But the organizer was also kind enough to click us with his mobile and captured some of actions on the route. Don't have those pics yet though.

I expected to see animals but thanks to us humans reaching everywhere no animals appeared on the way. However I saw bear's nail marks on the tree and some new plants also. After hiking some 600m, and walking 10+ km, we reached the Harnav lake site, where we rested for quite sometime. Like everyone else, I selected my stone, put both legs into the water and I didn't realize when did I fall asleep hearing sound of waves. Around 3:30 we had our lunch, and then we cleaned up the lake site as much as possible by collecting plastic bags, bottles and broken glasses. I mean seriously how come people be so careless to leave there garbage behind. You want to drink in a dry state, then drink but do not for god sakes leave your bottles and its broken glasses behind. Few people swam in the open water, and as I am still recovering from ooty's cold I didn't dare. 

I guess we left after 6 pm. This ending time is what I don't enjoy. It always gives some mixed feelings. Before leaving the forest, I stand there on the side and was looking back at those trees standing so far. I told them don't let me go plz, but I guess they wanted the otherwise so I politely left the place.

#Tip: when you go trekking, plz plz plz do wear the shoes meant for trekking only.

so this is it...

13 January 2017

Our need of applying Adjectives

The need to identify and associate oneself with adjectives builds up invisible walls... one would not know when they got themselves confined and are now miles away from the truth...
People are connecting to only what they know or able to measure... If they don't or could not, they get offended... For example if one says he is a manager, everybody can figure out his role, like he must be managing something and can easily figure out the respect a manager deserves or hope for... But if one says, he is happy, then everybody finds him crazy... because happiness is something momentary, and nobody expects it to be a stable state. If you work you must have a title which should keep changing every year to show your growth. Housewife sounds degrading so change it to a homemaker. Does changing the title changes the job she does or the dedication she puts in her work. But to change how people look at you, needs changing yourself by adding adjectives. That's the way to build your confidence in a society, one is trying to prove to... The more adjectives you have, the more you would need to prove to...
Oh good you are working for women, or for specific kind of patients. But in that process of creating awareness for the unattended issues, one unknowingly enters into the buildings of closed walls who then does not let you know/hear truth screaming outside. The NGO who works for birds does not care if a cow dies unattended, and the people who save girl child feels proud if to be parents are wishing for a girl child. How come wishing for a girl child becomes right, when wishing for a boy child is wrong.
From ones' personal to professional details, everything needs adjectives so that our people can relate to us, can connect to us, but in the process we are loosing our senses to see and feel the very obvious. We think we are working for our freedom but we are not. Freedom is liberating, it needs dropping adjectives, unlearning the years of conditionings and building bridges and sharing what one has gained...

07 January 2017

Journey to Inner Engineering...

Before I start writing about my experience of doing #InnerEngineering course at Isha Yoga Center, I feel a need to describe the spiritual quest and how my beliefs and conditionings changed.

Spending childhood around grandma got me hear a lot of epic stories. My parents had sometimes caught me reading saint's miracle stories just before my exams days. Also I used to accompany my grandma whenever she would visit any satsangs. So from childhood I started learning good vs bad. I would almost give God my wishes as command and he would generously fulfil it. I am not sure when I started sensing future events(ofcourse not all though and a few) in way that I would almost know what question and experiment I am going to get in exam. I never used that sense in a profitable way nor I tried to develop it as it used to generate more burden.

When my grandma passed away at the age of 95, it was a big loss for my family. So I started reading Gita - the holy book after her death, thinking her soul would benefit from my readings. Day by day I was like going more closer to God. Three years after that suddenly when my dad passed away, I was in a complete shock. All beliefs of me having a sixth sense suddenly started stumbling. I was so angry at God that when you gave me a sense to know a stupid thing before hand, how come you didn't make me sense this loss I was about to have. From this point I started to loose my senses in a way that I would get confused to select a normal thing. It was like a blank space inside. I would not pray, reading Gita was out of scope. I was turning myself into an atheist and armed myself with sarcasm when it came to Gods and religions.

But something was struggling to live within myself. It was hard to accept my father's loss and I wanted answers to all my whys. So to make a peace with God I restarted reading Gita. This time I was reading it with more involvement and slowly I started accepting things. I can summarize my learning in a way that now I would like to imagine that my father must be chilling somewhere else on this planet(coz I don't know if life exists on some other planet as of yet).

Few years later I attended a Vipassana - 10 days meditation, where one stays mute for 9 days, skips night meal and do meditation for almost a whole day. This is where I started enjoying silence and got to know about karmic chains, what a simple breath can achieve you and could look beyond castes and religions with more open mind. This course taught me not to believe anything which I have not experienced myself because then it's meaningless for me. But by this time, I became a confused atheist, who was starving for spiritual growth but not by traditional ways where I don't know what am I doing and why. Of course I believe my intuitions but I started refusing all non-sense ways people perceive religions and Gods. I wanted to set God free, and make myself more responsible for my future and present.

I kept reading and decoding spiritual articles and videos here and there. This is where I happen to listen to Sadhguru's video. His ways to present complex things logically but in more simpler ways could easily convince me. My understanding was getting better. The most precious thing I have learned by listening him is "Nothingness".  I can not explain it, but sometimes for few seconds I have experienced the joy of nothingness. I really want to embrace Nothingness. The quotes I wrote about my experience with nothingness are "Everything is there, wrapped carefully inside Nothing" and "I came from nothing ... and will dissolve into nothing.. I owe everything to nothing and nothing is where I belong..."


#Inner Engineering Journey

We checked in at Isha Yoga center around 10 am on 29th, made our registration and headed to our room at Nalanda cottages. The site was so wide and surrounded by green mountains. Saw little kids playing in a school uniforms, ducks were digging in the small pond which had so many colorful lotuses, birds were flying over by singing their love songs, and some local people were doing some rituals in their traditional dresses. Ladies there drive the three wheelers which run on batteries, and they would help elderly to reach their rooms or other halls whenever needed. This helped Mom who suffers from knee pain. The next thing I did was to switch off my mobile, shutting it helps to focus you know :)

They gave us an ashram tour so that we know what are we going to do in a next few days. The first session started in evening where we have been introduced to the course and then some of the fellow mates gave their introductions. I guess there were some 120 participants including my sister and I. Mom didn't participate, you know it's not her age to meditate yet, and also because the course language was in english so she would not understand the instructions. See how learning different languages helps, and many still don't feel right yet to unite over a single Indian language.

From next day we were supposed to be present at hall at 6:00 am, and then we would do Upa-yoga shortly after a prayer. It was a combination of "Yoga, Meditation and Sadhguru's video lectures. We were not given a schedule before hand, so we would not know when we would get breaks, lunch and dinner, or what we are supposed to do at what time. But teachers and volunteers made sure we get everything right. Teacher would repeat instructions as many times she were asked to, and would also help anybody who faced issues in doing asanas, even after the session completes.

There we got many surprises. The first surprise was that the teacher was not of Indian origin, not that I had issues, in fact she was very kind, energetic and full of life and helpful. There were also a few participants and volunteers from other countries. When we were touring the ashram, we saw many people meditating in the lonely corners. On the eve of 31st, when we got out after evening sessions, everybody was in awe seeing rows of diyas(lamps). When we went to dining area, each table had been set with candles and we got so happy that tonight is a candle light dinner.  One would mostly get a very basic food when it comes to meditation courses, but we have been fed very well, and food was yummy and we had many varieties to choose from. I guess I gained 2-3 kgs. For next two days we practiced Upa-yoga and its sequence, Sadhguru's videos helped to understand better and clear mind. We have been taken for walks twice, and the second walk was almost like in a forest and we mostly walked on water full of rocks. We have been told to keep silence and be aware of self and what we sense or feel. I remember seating quietly by water side on a rock, like everybody else, and suddenly people started throwing water onto each other and the silence turned into a joyful fight. I was saving my clothes from water through out the walk but ended up in wet. Once we went out in the ashram, where we played many games, and then danced on the beat of dhol. 

During this stay we visited Dhyanalinga twice and Linga Bhaviravi. There is a Suryakund for gents and Chandrakund for ladies where they can take a dip. They play a very nice music inside Dhyanalinga may be twice a day when people sit there in a silence and nothing more is required. Some people felt a very different vibrations while being there. The silence is the only prayer one does there. To be greeted first with Namaskaram(with folded hands) is a very normal thing there, and even foreigners would do that. Also I have been referred as Akka(means sister) many times which sounded a quite new but good to ears.

The new year, the first day of the year, where we were taught Shambhavi-mudra after finishing the session of Upa-yoga. We have been told not to worry if somebody behaves in a different way during the practice as somethings are common to feel. I remember a few started crying as I could hear the weird noises. My eyes were closed but first thing came to mind was how come this happens and why they cry. Few minutes later I saw myself laughing and I was shocked as the next thought was how come I. Though I controlled a bit but I laughed few times. Later my hands started shaking on which I didn't have any control. All stopped after a while when the session was done. Just after that all headed to the dining area. The tables were lined up in a row such that most people could sit together on a new year. We were served food on a banana leaf which is a traditional way to eat in South India. Everything was very pleasant outside, but nobody was talking as of yet. All were in a complete silence and were trying to ponder what they practiced and what they felt. I could not differentiate whether I am feeling good or bad, but certainly I felt more comfortable with silence. Later we practiced the same mudra in evening and again I felt hand shaking. But this time I was calm while witnessing it.

After the session people shared their experiences and we had a blast together by dancing together and then later in circles. Nobody wanted to leave. We were not talking usual things but still we were enjoying standing there. Later after a dinner few people left as it was the last session. Those who were staying the night, set there together and sang many songs. The next day after a morning practice to clarify doubts, everybody said goodbye, and we too left the center after having a breakfast at the canteen. We then left for Ooty - a hill station in Tamilnadu, where we stayed for 2-3 days and then back to home


To summarize the practice, the learning, the experience, I would say: 
All the Upa-yoga on physical level are helping to lubricate the body parts, some of the asanas are the ones I have been told by doctors to do to keep my operated left knee healthy. The practice need to be done twice a day till next 40 days and then once a day till 6 months. So far so good and we are balancing meal and tea times to keep the practice going. As for experience I used to sleep less, I never saw it as a problem as it was more of a habit which I have from my childhood days. Being up at night was normal and I mostly enjoy it, but that creates a problem on my running days as I would never have enough sleep. Doing this practice(today is just a 7th day), I feel I am sleeping as soon as I go to bed. Earlier I used to wait for sleep for hours even after lying down, but these days I am like sleeping within a few minutes. Hope it goes on like this. As for learnings I am trying to bring myself back to the present moment as soon as I find myself wandering off. Then the accepting the truth of the moment(read current situation), and the most lovely thing I heard Sadhguru says, was, "The problematic thing is, when you don't do what you are actually capable of doing and let your skills go waste". I am like a happy go lucky person, I can live and survive at anywhere and on anything(Yes I believe so). What I can't live without is only a freedom to choose what I want to do and what I don't want to. I guess I have left many things and places when I felt a shortage of freedom, and that naturally made me shrink my capabilities and be happy with whatever I'm doing. I am still happy, it's just that I would now explore all my capabilities. As far as God is concerned I would want to perceive him/her in a form of energy rather than in any idol form, which connects with each being