I send you heart warmth from Rishikesh, one of my favourite places on the planet. This sign above Be good, Do good, Be happy is at the foot of the driveway of the family we stay with here. We read it multiple times a day and it really reflects much of the attitude.
To be in India's Himalayas and on the Ganges is very powerful. It has become a spiritual Mecca where people pilgrim from around the world to find themselves or lose themselves. Bells and chanting may echo in the streets around the clock and you'll find temples and churches everywhere the eye rests. The streets are filled with people on foot, noisy scooters, dogs, cows, monkeys, vegetable stands and markets. There are as many faiths here as colours in a kaleidoscope, but there is space for it all. There is a sign outside of an ashram we go to for silent sitting meditation: One Truth, Many Paths. All have a common dedication to non violence. Both eating meat and drinking alcohol are prohibited here and that definitely affects the energy in the air.
February to April is a time when a number of Sages and Spiritual Teachers will come here and offer Satsang or Dharma talks, yoga or meditation intensives. We have had the opportunity to attend satsangs with Mooji Baba and Shanti Mayi. In a Satsang some people from the audience will ask questions and these questions become the direction of the teachings.
On our second day with Shanti Mayi, a rather upset woman composed herself and asked for help. She said she was struggling with grief. Shanti Mayi did a double take and asked first “why are you struggling with grief rather than just being with grief?” I felt for the woman's grief and even more the struggle with possessing it. It hit me that being ok with not being ok is something that I too have wrestled with over the years. It is something that is all too common. Oh my God, we failed at peace and happiness.
A dear friend and teacher of mine still brings up that my determination to be only an example of the light can be too extreme and that I should take more comfort in my shadow side as well. It too has not only a right to be heard but is an important part of ourselves to honour. If we try to snuff our grief and shadow how will we know how brilliant our light can be?
We all want to be happy in life and liberated from suffering. Why is it that there is no dignity in being with our suffering. The western mind may ask you how you are but only equipped to handle answers such as “fine” or “good”. So how do we move with honesty and compassion towards our struggles and grief and the suffering of others?
I was conversing with another friend on this topic and she told me that within her family when someone said they were fine that it really stood for f***ed up, insecure, neurotic and emotional. This made me laugh and it stayed with me to reflect on when I’d find myself reach for the answer "fine" to someone’s inquiry.
How do you embrace your own or others grief and suffering? There has been no era or location on the planet that has been exempt from it or ever will. Yet we struggle to express or embrace it. If we learn to hold our grief with understanding and compassion the mental critic will lose its grip on how we handle our suffering. We will address this more during our wonderful Haelen Retreat in Ireland this September. There is still space if you want more info, email me email@example.com.
There is also one spot left for the May 12 - 18 Mindful Journey to Ireland if you want a unique taste of Spring on the mystic Emerald Isle. Visit https://www.mindfulnecessities.com/pages/experiential-meditative-retreat-ireland
Enjoy until March 1st
F E B R U A R Y N O B L U E S S A L E
E N J O Y 2 0 % O F F S I T E W I D E
Aways with love, a lotus and a smile from the exquisite Mother India,
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