Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Relaxation and Meditation at Chengalpattu

Well, it happened. The event in Chengalpattu was arranged by Sri Prabhakar Rao, whom I and Syamala met on the way to Chennai in October. It almost did not happen due to the severe depression in the Bay of Bengal. But when Mr.Prabhakara Rao understood that apart from Syamala and Varadharajan, six more from Arulzazhi Education Institution of Auroville are also participating in the even, he decided to risk it.
From the moment I got into the taxi at 6:45 am, there was a spirit of celebration and the mood was festive. It was like a picnic, with 8 people and Arvind, the 12 years old son of Dhanalakshmi. We had breakfast at one of those old, charming South Indian eateries, called Ganesh Bhavan in Achrapakkam. Syamala has been a patron of this restaurant since she came to Auroville in 1968. It has black granite tables, well lit space and the aromas of idly, chutney and sambar welcome you. It is now run by Iyer, Jr and they mean to feed you here. They plunk a plantain leaf in front of you and serve food like they do in South Indian marriages; till you say ‘no’. I enjoyed the authentic idlis, the accompaniments and South Indian coffee.
The weather was beastly with rain beating down incessantly but it added to the scenic beauty; especially as we approached Madhurantakam. It was captivatingly beautiful and you can have a sense of it from the pictures.

On arrival,  I was pleasantly surprised with the warm welcome and the gathering of more than 35 people ready for the event. The festive spirit was very much palpable. It was a pleasure to watch  the devotees of Mother in Chengalpattu do the arrangements for seating, sound etc with such enthusiasm.
The event itself was nothing less than magical best. I enjoyed it and feel immensely satisfied and fulfilled. It was a gathering of immense richness: people from all walks of life and ages, from the youngest Vijayakumar, 12 to the eldest – about 80. I am grateful for the time, attention, participation and the questions from the gathering and it is a gift for me to share this day with this gathering. What an event! 9 of us going from Auroville to ‘take Auroville outside Auroivlle’ and on a rainy Sunday, more than 40 devotees of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother congregating to participate in an ‘Adventure of consciousness’. It is indeed a great celebration of the 100th Anniversary of Sri Aurobindo’s arrival in Tamil Nadu. I am grateful to Syamala for creating this event inside of those celebrations. I have no words to convey how my heart is full to be part of this expansion of awareness and consciousness. A memory to cherish, experience to revel in, a ‘boon to keep within’.
We briefly visited the small but extremely well organized, center of Sri Aurobindo and I experienced peace and serenity in that wonderful space!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Well Being Workshop at SAWCHU, Auroville

This workshop is the foundation of my work and I offer it in the inspiring building of SAWCHU in the serene campus of Bharat Nivas, surrounded by the glorious nature, to the orchestra of birds singing. On the first day and the fourth day, it was raining so heavily and Auroville was so waterlogged that it is a miracle that we held the sessions at all: It is more than a miracle that we held the session on time. I ma grateful to the participants for making it happen.

Four of the participants from Being Well workshop attended this workshop too: Dominic, Mathias and one of the partner pairs, Joan and Emily. I feel very happy when I see participants from the earlier workshops come to another workshop because it reinforces my need to spread this work and my need for sharing and making a difference. I am grateful that Laila and Varadharajan were present for some of the sessions. There was also a young lady from Cuba – first time ever, not only in my workshop but also, the first Cuban I ever met! Human Unity is already manifesting in Auroville. Where else would you have people of 45 nationalities living together, inspired by the Auroville Charter.
This is also the first time that I hold a full day workshop during the Well Being workshop. I went to “Chengalpattu on Sunday for an event that was so full of inspiration and celebration! What an unforgettable 10 days, starting with the two days workshop at Savitri Bhavan on 7th of November.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Being Well Retreat at Savitri Bhavan

Being Well Retreat is the program I enjoy most and Savitri Bhavan is the ultimate venue! This combination makes this retreat very, very special for me and I always look forward to it with heightened sense of excitement and anticipation.  It was no different this time; the excitement and anticipation were further heightened. I enjoyed that.
It was raining quite hard on both the days of the workshop. What better place to be than Savitri Bhavan, doing a two day retreat? The rain added a background music that had its own random rhythm with light effects. The weather and the space were just magical and made the event extraordinary.
I prefer to start this workshop with emotional freedom as it helps to deal with the inevitable emotions that come up while dealing with the baggage of the past. We start each session with a meditation and much of the retreat gets done through guided mediations. The creative visualization part has a lot of fun!
Tomas , who attended a Being Well retreat last year and a Well being workshop recently, was again in this retreat. I felt very happy to see him. One of the very interesting things about this retreat was that there were three pairs of ?partners?. I felt very happy to see people in intimate relationships in the retreat as the joint participation creates a new kind of energy. A very special aspect for me was the participation of Smt. & Sri madhavi Rao. They are devotees of the Mother and have been in the Ashram since 1973. Sri Madhava Rao is a very erudite scholarly person with awe-inspiring knowledge of Mother and Sri Aurobindo?s works as well the ancient scriptures. What a gift to have their participation! They stayed in Atithi Griha guest house to attend the retreat and it gave me an opportunity to talk to them in the evenings.
What can I say about the retreat itself? It was two days of joy and a journey shared by the entire group. At the end of the two days, my heart was full with joy and gratitude for the opportunity of sharing the time and space.
To know more about Savitri Bhavan, please click on http://www.auroville.org/education/edu_centres/savitribhavan_main.htm

Monday, November 2, 2009

Rains, at last!

Day break at Atithi Griha (where I stay in Auroville)
My posts so far are program linked. This is my first post about my personal growth, not linked with a program. In some sense, my growth during the inter-program gap; in fact one of the longest inter-programs gaps after May 09; intentionally kept to do some of the other things I do.
I started a concept called Integrated Communication and Information Technology Infrastructure (ICITI) for Auroville. I have been working on this now for 18 months and it has taken a concrete and firm shape. The concept and proposed architecture are validated by experts and is gathering community interest and support. We had a meeting in Auroville on 28th October and I feel very satisfied! BTW, it would be the world?s first integrated, converged (data/voice/video as well as mobile/fixed) state of the art, city-wide community infrastructure in the world! Working on this project keeps the other side of my brain occupied. What I discovered recently was that there is a subtle interaction and interdependence of the two sides of the rain. I also think that this is my offering of gratitude for the world to have trained and educated me as an Engineer.
I was also working on web site to share information on the personal growth programs. I will soon share the URL.
At last, rains came to Auroville! Auroville is incredibly beautiful after a rain. I enjoyed some of my most wonderful early morning walks in the last 4 days. A rare, first time ever gift for me was to meet peacock in the Matrimandir garden. I am sensing a new capability to appreciate natural beauty. I want to share some of the beauty with you through the pictures. I am grateful for living in Auroville and grateful for the beauty and serenity it provides me.
Next week-end (7&8th November) is Being Well Program. It is my favorite program and Savitri Bhavan is the ultimate venue. Look forward to sharing about it in the next post.
BTW, someone asked me why do you share? Interesting.... Self expression, connect, share,  contribute, get contributed, need to make my own experiences more vivid and real for myself and bring clarity to the source of my being, doing and having?..
I am grateful for the web medium. What a medium to share, connect and communicate! I just love it and feel lucky to be borne in this era and use the web.

View from my window

 View form my work place

See the map of India in nature. I took this picture from the terrace  of Atithi Griha. The interesting part is that Atithi Griha is located in Bharat Nivas (Home of India) Campus!