Yesterday’s Awakin circle in Santa Clara was extra special. That says a lot about yesterday, given that every Wednesday circle is nothing short of a miracle for me that leaves me transformed, inspired, touched. Yesterday evening the room was pulsing with love -- and collective love is SO powerful.
As the mic got passed around, so many people shared “I love you all” to a room full of mostly strangers, and so many others took Nipun’s invitation to share authentically from a space of heart, receiving and offering love in other ways -- from taking a deep breath, to expressing gratitude, to expressing that we felt like each other’s families, to sharing wisdom and kindness stories. There was a moment towards the end of the circle, when I looked around the room, and it felt like we were all one gigantic body morphed collectively that was breathing in and out together, and radiating presence.
Love and friendship were present in everyone as the circle closed. The hugs exchanged were longer, deeper. The smiles were wider and they crinkled the corners of our eyes without making our mouths and face hurt, like only smiles from the heart can. The voices as we shared “how are you?s” were radiant, sparkly, clear. There seemed to be a purity, vulnerability in the quality of our shared thoughts. There was something about the evening that had seemingly led each one of us gently by our hand -- from our heads to our hearts. And I believe that something was at least catalyzed by Jayesh Bhai’s beautiful reflections on love and friendship (translated with skill and reverence by Harshida aunty), and his embodiment of those reflections that has inspired so many to stay present in that field of love and friendship.
Until last week, I had been fortunate to read and hear of stories of Jayesh Bhai from friends. Two years ago, I had the good fortune of listening to him speak at a few events during his Bay Area visit. But in the past week, I had the tremendous luck to more closely witness and experience this forcefield of loving compassion that he is. As I desperately tried to remember and write down all his witty-and-wisdom-infused one-liners, as well as his piercingly sharp heartfelt and brilliant advice after each opportunity to have heard him speak, I realized that what I was really seeking was to internalize those insights, and be steeped in such a forcefield of love myself. I am hoping I was a good student this week, and soaked up all the wisdom and insights he shared, and all the non-verbal ways in which he taught. While the internalization and steeping will only come with cultivation and practice and time, for now, the words serve as helpful reminders -- and here are some of them from this week, their essence distilled, in case they’re helpful reminders to others!
Some reminders (from Jayesh Bhai's week in the Bay Area) on love, service, and non-violence
-- Cultivate patience for the long-haul (“10,000 year patience”), but also cultivate an attitude of urgent action (“just do it”)
-- Hold your thoughts, feelings, self - lightly.
-- What happens when you let your heart rule, when you put your heart at the center of your world?
-- What does it mean for your heart to be at the center (rather than your intellect)? It means your thoughts are humble expressions, rather than strong opinions; it means your action inspires, rather than forces; it means you don’t abuse your thoughts by making them weapons of aggression.
-- Non-violent breaths, non-violent thoughts, non-violent actions, non-violent beings.
-- What is non-violence? Constant gentleness.
-- When it comes to service, don’t put pressure on yourself (to serve), and don’t put pressure on the other (to be served by you). Again, remember: lightly, gently.
-- There should be no competition in service. Don’t serve because someone else is doing it, or to get anything from the act of service.
-- The combination of noble thoughts and loving action is powerful and can change individuals, families, societies, nations.
-- How do you cultivate loving kindness? Through prayer, meditation, small acts of service.
-- Do small acts of love and service. What are small acts of love and service? Be kind to yourself, take care of yourself, then take care of a loved one close to you, and then extend that to nature. Perhaps, pick up a piece of trash along the path as you walk. Perhaps, hug a tree that compels you. Or, maybe knock at your neighbor’s door and say hello.
-- Cultivate loving friendship towards all. Try to see yourself in others, and try to see others in you.