Thank you, Ramona - for me there is no other way to start my blog! Already my very first contact via Email with Ramona made me feel warmly welcome at the Ashram. All the questions I had since my booking during the preparation were answered by Ramona within one day! So now it is one more week before I leave for Vrindavan and I am really looking foreward to all the experiences and sharing them in this blog! Anja.
The backpack is ready to go – it is the same that accompanied me on my trip around the world in 1999/2000. Vrindavan, a city with around 60.000 inhabitants by the river Yamuna, awaits me with about 20 to 25°C – so there is no need to pack a lot of heavy clothing. The question I got asked several times within the last days was: are you nervous? What exactly is that: being nervous. It is a feeling that arises when you think about something in the future, over which you have no control and it fills you up with concern if you consider that something could “go wrong”. Primarily it is a feeling that is born if you have a certain thought. So if you don’t think about it, no disturbing feeling comes up! My answer to that question – if I was asked right now – would be: I am sitting here on the sofa in the living room and write these lines on my Computer – why should I be nervous? I deeply internalized it: When I am in this Instant with the whole of my alertness and concentration – only then I fully can benefit from the power of now. Am I, instead, in thoughts about yesterday or tomorrow in situations that cause anxiety then I won’t be able to get a grasp of this very power. And I really want – in any case – be capable to use this power – especially exactly then if there is a problematic situation which asks my full attention, so that I am able to meet a “problem” without sorrow or fear, but with awakeness, calmness and neutrality. This is so very logical for me that I will never ever cease to train myself to be fully present, to enjoy the present of presence. – I love to be an ambassador of the NOW!
after a good travel and arriving in the ashram finally this morning (friday) also my luggage arrived. During the days without it i really was invited to remain calm and humble. Although the most missing things I got from ramona and her family who are so precious!!! thank you to whole team for your warm welcome! Ramona gave me a tour through he school: all kids stood up when we came into the classroom, greeted and said goodbye when we left again. Since I do Ayurveda here I get special food which tates very dilicious. And everz daz I get a long massage - it is a little like paradise!
technique was stronger and didn't allow my last blog to be uploaded so now there is some more to tell. It is warm and sunny here and I heard that in Europes middle it is very cold - So I do enjoy the sun - already have a small sunburn in the face. i keep relaxing and every now and then I dare to leave the ashram to have some adventures. There is a poosibility to get used to this totally diffenrent way of living, different kind of being socialized. If you look and sense deeper you feel and know in our hearts we are all the same, no matter what way we were brought up. travelling alwys makes you feel more connetcted with all human beings on earth!!!
A little more than one week is over. I am still very much enjoying the everydays ayurvedic massages!
Yesterday I did some sweeping of the way between the two beautiful garednlawns and was deeply getting into meditating while doing that. I experienced what I had heard several times: you can become what you are doing. You do not to sweep, but you are the sweeping. It is like melting into the action.
For me helpful is also the beautiful weather - usually warm and sunny - only today it is a little cloudy but at the same time it is holyday today and a lot calmer then the other days.
The team is so great and I really keep enjoying my stay here! Namaste!
Who ever had an ayurvedic massage and food befor might have had a similar experience: You really get sensible for little things happening in your body. That way you are able to tell the one who accompanies you through the treatment - in this case here it is Yashendu, the brother of Ramonas husband - and right away the treatment can be adjusted. In becoming more sensible I deeply understood also for the body: what you resist persists. And if you surrender totally to the hands of the one giving the massage (for me it is Sumitra who has wonderfull skills) also you allow the pain to go away. It is amazing.
Life is an invitation to surrender life and trust in its flow. Then everything becomes really easy and you discover the beauty which has always been there - only your resistance made you be blind for it. - Wow, such effects th Ashram life can have on one if you are open to it and just let it happen!
On Sunday a long dreamt dream of mine came true: I got to see the Taj mahal. It really is as impressive as always and everywhere descibed. It really was crowded, but since it is so huge you tend to not see the humans any longer.
After having spent the days befor real quietly this trip to Agra was a real adventure for me. Things become more relative so out of calmness you do not need much attraction to be overwhelmed. Already sitting in the car, watching the driver handle the chaotic traffic and all the impressions on the streets I experienced mysel like a little child with open mouth - although I already have seen so much in my life.
Similar it happens with me with the ayurvedic food. There are only slight changes every day but these - in the meantime I experience as great taste-differences since my palate got used to less strength in taste. So that reallt improves the sensitiveness for soft flavour.
Not only in means of food and trips it is nice to push your own reset button. If you do that befor leaving your own country it really helps to increase your scale of experience. Leave your measure tools for mind at home so you can experience another place on earth with your heart. Try to not let yourself be ruled by your cultivation, socialisation, conditioning from back home. Leave that, where it belongs and set yourself free of your value system, then there will be no reason for complaining and spoiling the time for yourself and the people around you.
I am thankful that I learned to do so - this also gave me the capability to stay calm when just a couple of minutes ago the power went off - as it does several times each day - and I was sure, all my text was lost and after 40 minutes just walking around and enjoying what I saw and not thinking of what had happened I was happy to find the lines back, when restarting the computer in equanimity.
So today my greetings from India reach the readers out of my deep serenity and gratefulness.
In the meantime my ayurvedic treatments have stopped and I started the meditation course. That effects my thinking and philosophing :-)
More and more I understand deeply that you really should leave behind all conditioning if you want to travel. Only, how can you leave behind what you are not aware of. travelling into a very foreign country can help - just be prepared that inside of you a lot of little devils suddenly pop up of which you never knew they live insinde of you befor! If you are open to them, do not resist them (then they will persist) but welcome them and dig deeper, when in your life you started to train them, you can get new friends, talk to them in love and understanding and then they will actually leave and you are ready to have a great time accepting a totally different lifestyle (as here in Vrindavan).
I remembered a lecture I once heard on youtube where was said about a situation that you find insufferable that you check three things: love it - change it - or leave it. Are you able to accept and even love the situation - than its fine. You are not? Then you change it, if you have the influence about it if, not, change yourself, if you do not manage that, then leave it! It is as hard and as easy as that and this sentence really helps to get to know yourself better and adapt to situations which you thought befor you never could.
Other I do really enjoy the sun, continue to love the food and the gorgious people. Yesterday one of the employees drew a beautiful henna disign on my right hand. That was a nice experience and if I am lucky it will last until I am back home.
Namaste to all! Anja
After I got my first henna desing on my right hand a second followed the day after. And these pieces of art where actually made by different people of the Ashram - also Ramona did one of which I took a picture which I might post somewhere when I am back home.
Today we were able to watch our Australian guest getting dressed in a Sari which she got for herself. All female employees here where saris while working - so beautiful! So two of them aktually got dressen Tracy in that meters-long piece and then, since she has black hair - she almost looked like a real Indian - sooo pretty!
Always when I do some work in the garden - to rake leaves - I have to think of Michael Endes "Momo". There is this character, Beppo, whos job is to sweep the streets in town every morning. And he tells Momo, if he looks at the whole street in front of him, he looses faith in him self. But if he only concnetrateson the very next sweep and only that, suddenly the whoe street lies behind him. That is true working-meditation! And I love it!
Another thing I came to understand while I am now doing these meditations twice a day is, that - yes - it is important t "when in Rome do as the Romans do" - BUT: do not ignore or even lose yourself. YOU are the one travelling, YOU are the one experiencing. So if you try to deny yourself there is noone left to experience. Only with friction youcan actually experience yourself in feeling there also is something which is not you. Only in realising duality you can experience yourself and that which is not yourself. So for me that really is respecting myself within my respect of the other being / situation / culture...
And that made me remind a wonderful story which I do read often back home. You can find it here:
So today I send you greetings from my heart asking you to focus on respecting yourself in love. If you do so - actually - it is not possible to hurt anyone, because there is nothing but respect.
From back home after a save trip back to Germany I want to write some more lines about experiences during the last week.
After four weeks together with all the people of the Ashram I slowely felt to really be softened by the whole atmosphere. I motherly fell in love with the 6 boys living there, enjoyed playing a little cricket with them, running around or even to some light wrestling like little boys like it. I didn't know I would like it, too, but it was just fun!
Spending most of the time in the garden sometimes by myself - than I actually turned creative and invented some ideas of small "landart" just using whatever was lieing around me - or together with some of the employees who spend the whole day in the Ashram and since they have a long siesta (break because of the heat), just sit together in the gras and be (out of the surrendering to the fact that we are human beings and not human doings).
They all are like a big family and so also little Apra has many "brothers", "uncles" and "aunties" in all those who are not really related with her. So that is really a big difference in a growing up between a child in India and in "western world". I got the feeling that we really lost the ability of naturally live together in a big community - all in peace without getting in conflicts and have to split apart again. Maybe there is a chance that we get back to that way of living. Now being back in my classical 21st century style single living and feeling some withdrawl after 5 weeks of being part of that big family, I have experienced that I am able to live this way, also I am able to be all by myself. I don't fall into fear if there is nothing and nobody. I am thankful also for that ability not to constantly have to have running the radio or TV or need to read or clean ir whatever but just can BE with myself. Out of this knowing that both forms are possible for me I feel totally optimistic that whatever way life will choose for me will just be right because I can fully accept it.
The best way - as I now found out for myself - to experience that huge change from living by yourself to living in a familylike commune (which is what means Ashram) is to take your time. I came up with comparing it to that beautiful story og the little prince, who, on his trip in Earth he meet a fox who teaches him how to be tamed. The slow advancing to each other (which also was coused by some shyness that I deeply came to feel inside of me) made it poosible for me to really get invovled into the group - it was such an amazing subtle and gentle way to get deeply acquainted to everyone - even though we couldn't verbally communicate mostly because only a few speek English.
This soft, gentle feeling also got through me in general - I am pretty certain that it has to do with the light ayurvedic food and the massages. Having experienced myself as a tough person through the first 20 years of my adulthood it seems as if I now slowly turn from yang to yin. A more senteint side of me is coming to the surface and also cause a transperance to some deep sadness that must have lived inside of me for so long. Classically conditioned I always forced myself to leave deep sadness down in the "basement" and ignore it, whenever possible, tell my self: don't worry, just be happy, just enjoy. But after a couple of years of strong insights which made me more stable I now felt ready to really go through the sadness and not deny it any longer (what you reisit, persists). So on one of these last days in the Ashram I took all my courage and faced this darkness inside of me. I was like a tunnel with a black heavy energy. I didn' t try to run away from it any longer and just accepted it. Then, after some minutes I started to see a little light at the end of the tunnel. Still, I did not start to "run" (visualized) towards the light but stay with the darkness which then suddenly turned to be a soft, tender energy which finally carried me all the way through this tunnel. The light, finally, turned out to be a strong, poweful feeling of inner peace. I came to understand that sadness fundamentally is based on a primordial joyousness which does not know a contrary (and therefor should be called a different word which does not exist, because every word in our dualistic language always has a counterpart). No dark without light, no yin without yang, no joy without sadness. If you deeply come to understand that you find that real joy is only to be felt if you are also ready to feel deep sadness. Sadness in itself is no sorrow. The sorrow arises out of a resistance agains the sadness. Surrender to sadness and you won't suffer from it but through it reach a deep joyous feeling, like a bliss.
Five weeks in Jaysiyaram gave me a lot of opportunities for transformation. Each sinlge one out the Ashrams team had their very own indiviual part of my deep experiences there and for that I do want to THANK YOU ALL - EACH OF YOU from my heart! Yours all Anja
Almost one week after getting home I slowly seem to really land here. Five weeks in such a foreign part of the wolrd don't leave you without deep impact.
I remember how thankfully I thought of back home's possibility to always have warm water coming out of the tab, the shower. Now being back I realized how much I take that for granted and use it quite unconsciously. I do want to change my behaviour about that and really enjoy what I have got here and also do it with even more mindfullness. The same with electricity, since there I was always intense to get my updates written befor the computer suddenly shuts off and I might not have given it all my thoughts yet.
I do remember also a conversation with one of the other guests. She just was reading a book, giving the idea of getting up blindfolded in the mornings to test yourself how good you know your home surroundings and to train your other senses when your eyes are no help for you. And I replied that there is the idea of brushing your teeth with the other hand to train both halfs of your brain. I have yet not done either of it but defenitely want to start doing it soon. I have the feeling I was not able to integrate that yet because I was kind of bathing in the sadness of not being in Jaisiyaram anymore.
In the mornings I get into my car and see myself driving a lot more relaxed since traffic is regulated here so you can really trust its system. I think back of Pankaj, the driver, who was full of concentration and serenity taking his passengers along the twolined roads which were used as if there were four lines, all between the cars, trucks, carriages with donkeys, horses or kamels, riksashas, motorrikshas, tractors, dogs, cows, bicyclists (and still by night withou light and hard to make out). He surrendered to the necessary slowliness which was absolutely required to survive and let survive. (There is this wonderful title of a German novel called: The discovery of slowliness - I did discover that in India).
At the beginning of my time in Vrindavan I was surprised by the leisurly way of working, taking a lot of breaks. (Later I did understand that it also had to do with the heat and with the fact, that this was not a just a working-team, but also a community living together during daytime.) I thought of the "ever praised" diligence of the Germans and how much more effective they do their work. But everything affects everything. In western world people drudge to quickly earn a lot of money, the account is filling up and there is no time left to even spend the money, or others need it to fill up their flats with stuff they do not really need to live. How much stuff do I have here that I do not really need! But if you don't have "stuff" you also need no money to take care of it and renew it. Then you also would have more spare time - but: "HELP! What shall I do with that time. If there is nothing to keep me distracted I suddenly have to listen to my innder vioce and feel myself and I have not learned how to cope with that." - This is probably what a lot of people would shout out, because they are unable to spend time with themselves. So, slowly I came to understand that the little "clockwork Jaisiyaram" works just very well without anybody drudging along be distracted, instead following the tasks that need to be fullfilled with calmness and easygoingness: to prepare the ingrediences for the meals together in the garden and enjoy doing that together, working in the garden when it is cool enough for it and otherwise just sit together on the lawn and do some hennadrawing or other, just spend some time with the grandmother or carrying around the little one and share her dilight in everything that is new to her and to let be everyone how he just naturally is to be part of the whole. So you do not need to worry about things that you don't really need in the first place but can really enjoy what LIFE really is within a community.
Here I remember the little story of the mice who get prepared for the winter. They all gather food but one who is lazy and there is now way to encourage him to help the others. Most of them become mad at him. Winter comes and all live in this little cave. Winter is long and all get tired of it after a while and suddenly this little fellow starts telling neat stories which makes time seem to shorten and winter go by a lot quicker. And now they all know why this little fellow belongs to their group and they are all really thankful for having him!
Oh yes I would right now get back on the plane to fly away from this cold, uncomfortable, grey weather and back to sun and warmth and this beautiful oasis of the Ashram, to get back to this lovely community.... if there weren't these monkeys. I do move with so much more certainty and freedom through this town and nature here. There I never was able to fully relax because I have not the slightest idea of how to estimate about their behaviour. They are so cute and I loved to watch them, but as soon as they seemed to get aware of my interest they tended to get closer instead of getting away. I now that their claws which really are no claws can't be dangerous - but they have awfully pointed teeth which I got to see. They boys were always taking care of keeping the garden free of monkeys in chasing them with sticks or throwing stones after them. But I thougt: well, they are clever and can learn from us humans and one day they will start throwing stones after the boys. My indiviual fear of monkeys grows out of one experience having been bitten by one in Bali. As the wound got infected I started searching a doctor and when I finally found one to trust, he told me that it was just time because it could have turned into a deadly blood poisoning. So I guess I would never really be able to live in Jaisiyaram even though I would right away love to abjure all materialism.
At the same time, friends of mine start to call and welcome me back home and I feel that after my body landed here five days ago now also my mind and soal gets back home. I start to deeply integrate all the experiences which got into my heart being accompanied by a lot of emotions. Now I look back on all the joyfull aftermaths and feel thankfullness to having been able to open up consciously to all the emotions I am capable of That's what LIFE means for me!!!
From deep inside my heart I send greetings to all members of the crew of spaceship Earth - which we hopefully can escort for a very long time on its journey around the sun with ever growing respect and love for one another and Earth itself.
Anja Rohlf, Neubulach