[Originally posted on Gandhi 3.0 feed, after our retreat in India at the end of January.]
Koti Koti Vandan. Kindly accept my deepest gratitude for allowing me to be a part of this divine space... Gandhi 3.0. I have no words to express how I feel about my experiences with truth and unconditional love, both during the retreat, and now as I enter my day-to-day life activities.
The divine company of pure souls and the zeal of the volunteers was awe-inspiring. Volunteers were people with a golden heart. They had just one goal of love, share, and care. They all were epitome of self-less service to man-kind!
ESI- the sacred-space was over-whelming! The purity of the space was super-imposing. Each and every particle in the space was filled with deep compassion and unconditional love. Such environment was “just right” for inner-transformation. This space contributed in more ways than one in taking me one step closer to that goal. The quotes of Gandhi and Jayeshbhai, THE Gandhi 3.0, were awe-inspiring and have left a deep etch in my heart. The warm welcome of the trees, birds, soil, paintings, quotes, smiles, bird feeders, toilet-cafe, Safai bus, Peace pole, expanse of lawns, amphi-theatre, open meditation huts, Maitri Hall, Residences and the loving souls present in the precinct made me connect with the divine that much more closer.
The retreat has been a complete transformational experience for me in more ways than one! It is difficult to express my thoughts in writing, but I will make a sincere attempt to pen it down.
The initial two days at the retreat were very good with lot of sharing with fellow participants and kind volunteers. In hind sight, those two days were just "average", with no major impact on my inner-self. On day three, after a path-breaking, heart-to-heart talk with David Loyal, who ignited a spark in me of “Unconditional Love”, and our subsequent visit to Gandhi Ashram, I could see the beginning of the self-transformational process. From the pure confines of the ESI to the realm of the outer world, inter-acting with outside people at Gandhi Ashram, probably helped me in the transformational process. That night, there was a constant tussle within the head and the heart, the conditional and the unconditional, the conscience and the unconscience. This kept me semi-awake with various thoughts rushing through my mind and which eventually led to an outburst. The outburst continued even whilst doing daily chores, during the hour of silence and during our sittings in Maitri Hall.
Probably my first outburst in thirty years, I though this would probably last till the end of the retreat and as usual, would wean-off once I return into the realms of the material world. However, after coming back to Mumbai, days passed by, and my outbursts at smallest acts of kindness showed no signs of withdrawals. This sudden change in myself confused me and I had to seek the intervention of the divine soul, Nipunbhai! My inquiry revolved around whether I have become weak in my pursuit for salvation. The hour-long discussion with the kind-hearted soul re-energised my belief in the transformation and reiterated that it is actually the melting of the ice, sankharas and vikaras which just required an equanimous observation. My family members opined that I had become too emotional. But with the affirmations from Nipunbhai, I continue to tread the journey of spreading kindness and compassion with hugs, patience and empathic listening.
Having returned to Mumbai on Monday, there was an incident in my office, where an office boy who was asked to withdraw couple of tens of thousands from my bank account was pick-pocketed whilst returning. Not having the courage to inform me, he came along with the HR personnel to inform the same. Immediately my head started working as usual and I started thinking of the usuals - how do I recover the amount, whether he is telling the truth, etc. However, there was an inner calling which didn't listen to the head. After sending them away, with a little reflection within, I again called the office boy after a while and just hugged him. I told him that it is OK, and that even if I was in his place, nothing could've been done. This incident brought tears in his eyes and ripples in the office. I was not too keen that this incident be discussed anymore in the office and requested our HR to close the issue forthwith. I really don’t know whether what I did was right or wrong, but I allowed my head to be over-powered by the heart. What I failed to understand that despite losing the money, why there were tears of compassion and kindness in my eyes? Why was was I not upset? Why was I deeply moved with compassion and love? Why was I feeling happy? Probably, this was a god-sent test on me! I hope I did well in this test and the almighty would "just" pass me out, if not with flying colour!
I feel there is too much suffering surrounding us and such little acts of kindness only helps us in strengthening our own practices of kindness, compassion and unconditional love.
As I continue in my journey of experiences with truth, I seek your goodwill and compassion for the good of man-kind.
With bows and bows of gratitude to Nipunbhai and the entire Service Space family, and with service to man-kind, I surrender to the power of the ultimate divine!
Metta to all ...