Saturday, April 7, 2012

Param Sameepay

We walked with the river as our guide, an opportunity to listen and learn. A tiny step; an aspiration to be more like water and one day merge with the infinite. We dont question how long it will take, how many impurities we will encounter, but surrender to the course that will take us to the ocean.
On this journey, 15 of us volunteers from diverse backgrounds and countries embarked on Tuesday, 6th of March, through villages by the Narmada for four days. Along the way, we had only our service to those we encounter, and opened our hearts to in order to receive. This was our chance to surrender to what the universe provided us. There was no right or wrong experience.
Everything accepted as Prasad - without expectations.
Madhu Shares a montage created out of Rahuls pictures:
Param Sameepe from mammovies on Vimeo.

Siddharth Shares:
The initial seed for the journey was sown in January, after the Sabras retreat. At that time, it seemed so natural to set out walking, without any resources with us. But until a few days before the trip, we would always encounter someone who would shake us up a bit and question the sanity of such an intention. Once we set out, it was amazing to observe how there was never any sense of insecurity, holding on to the past, or worrying about what was to come. It was almost as if this complete sense of surrender had come about thanks to this beautiful community we had set out with. And that is the beauty as well as power of being connected with those around us through faith and trust. For the first two days though, I noticed that we were using our minds to an extent. We tried to speak a certain way or do certain things to receive. But a few hours of walking in silent contemplation on the third day changed it all. Immediately our minds went silent, we had nothing but our footsteps and The Now and our hearts truly opened. Everywhere we went, it seemed like our inner love was connecting with those around us, radiant like the full Holi moon.
It was this inner feeling that connected us with a village called Dilwada on the last night - an experience that stood out the most. As we cooked and stayed in the temple on the hilltop we were visited by a group of the villagers who spent every evening in a session of satsang together. Its impact was visible in the connection that they all shared. Every interaction with them spoke of a strong value and self-respect in the way they carried themselves. We may not possess too many resources, but if our connection with each other is strong, we can ride out most rough phases.
In the end, we are all on a journey across the river, from one bank to another. Some of us social entrepreneurs, others grass root workers, spiritual seekers - the list is endless. But there is a tremendous strength in crossing the river together - irrespective of our philosophies, just as long as we trust that there is love in our hearts, and a constant search for goodness in everyone.
Maria Shares:
The cars left us. Now we began our journey and gathered bottles of water. Reva, the eleven month year old daughter of Meghnaben and Madhubhai, was straddled to the front of father’s belly and clapped her hands. Gopaldada, the oldest among us at 87, carried a pink and blue flowered print bag and a rice bag stuffed with clothes.

We started to walk through cotton fields and banana crops until we made it to a small village. It was a village that Jayeshbai had been to seven years before. They still remembered him. A little girl had been burned, and he had carried her through the fields and arranged for her hospitalization.
It was a village of houses made from cow dung, which is good for insulation since it gets extremely hot during the summer. The villagers there harvested castor oil and cotton and mostly owned buffalos.  The children were quiet and shy, many of them with pure black eyes that reflected the light of the sky. We visited the temple there and spoke with the people. We went inside the houses and saw how simply and beautifully they lived. By then, night had descended.
After a trip to Narmada river, watching the full moon across a sand dune, I began to feel very hungry and expressed it to Jayeshbai. He took me by the hand and how to the back where the woman of the house was preparing a meal. He set out a plate and served me. The others gathered around and watched. I slowly became aware that the others were also hungry and that for some reason, I was the only one eating. I asked Jayesh, “why am I the only one eating?” He looked down as he mixed flour with water in between his fingers “It’s ok” he smiled. Eventually the food became ready, and the others ate too.
Later, I told him I had felt a bit guilty about that, and he asked me if I would feel bad about it if I had been with my family…and then I understood.
A simple yet lesson emerged about receiving and belongingness, as many other lessons on this beautiful journey along Narmada.
Prachi Shares:

So many paths all lead to the same place: the heart.
I walked and I walked and I walked.  I was asked to think about the journey and my mind began to race.  I couldn’t find peace in taking one step after another.  So, I gave that up, and I concentrated on my internal state of being.  Then, I wanted to see share how other people were walking.  Maybe that would be interesting, so I walked behind other members of the group to see how they were walking.  Then, I was tired of watching the other people and felt much more content in walking by myself.  I continued the journey and thought, maybe it’s just about finding peace in each step.
As I’ve been traveling, exploring, and writing, I keep coming back to these key concepts:
  1. All I Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten
  2. Intention.  Intention to change our character is more effective than intention to change our actions.  When both are aligned, well, then we’re golden.  When we do things with the right intentions, only the best will follow.
  3. It’s the way we walk that matters.  Asking yourself: What brings me peace? What makes me feel loved?
  4. Awareness and equanimity are both important.  Combining both leads to viveka—discrimination—and right action or inaction.
  5. Love removes all dualities.
  6. Life is the greatest teacher.
  7. True renunciation is leaving all the fruits of your actions to the Divine.
  8. See the good in all.  Even when something is triggering, do service and appreciate the good qualities in the other person.  With that, the good qualities will grow and the weaknesses will eventually fall away.
  9. Prayer (positive thought with devout faith) is extremely powerful.
  10. Life is joyous.  Meditation can help maintain that joy even when scary things come up.
  11. Fear is just excitement without breath support.  Breathe.  Breath is our link to the Divine.
~ More pictures here ~

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