Last summer, when I was in Berkeley for the Metta Mentors
program, I had the blessed opportunity to attend my first Awakin Circle in Santa Clara. Since then, for the next 12 weeks, Wednesdays were sacred, and instead of Wednesdays being fit into my schedule, my schedule was planned around Wednesdays. These silent evenings not only energized me but they also kept me grounded in my journey and gave me an opportunity to practice 'Being'. They were powerful and transformative.
While leaving Berkeley in August 09, Nipun had planted a pay-it-forward seed and I always held this dream of hosting Awakin Circles
in my hometown -- Mumbai. After my return to India, on many occasions, I thought of hosting these magical Awakin Circles but was always discouraged by the critical inner voice -- it’s a big responsibility, what if I am unable to continue, or do it regularly? I have crazy working hours and I hardly stay in Mumbai. I am not ready yet -- at least not to create something as powerful as Awakin Circles in California. How will Grand-Dad take it? My house is not quiet for 5 mins; how will there be a disturbance-free environment for one hour? I cannot sit for half an hour; how will I host meditations for an hour? So on and so forth. Basically a lot of excuses and mental drama.
For the last two weeks, I have been home on a break, once again standing at a crossroad in life trying to figure out which path to take next. I was struggling with my daily sits and was being very irregular. And then I came across Viral’s article: ‘ A Heart of Patience
’. Reading that, two things particularly really stood out for me. First that when we think we know, we expect to find a solution in the direction in which we are looking; when we don't know where to look, we remain open to all directions. Second that it's best to let go of our tendency to fixate on outcomes we'd like to see, and in time-frames in which we'd like to see them, because we don't always know what is best.
And then the final push came when I read a notification from Awakin website that read: "A volunteer has expressed interest in joining your local 'Mumbai' meditation group. If you are already hosting a group, do send them more information; otherwise, perhaps you could explore starting one." :)
I finally decided to stop thinking and just give it a shot! Even if it meant that this was the only Awakin Circle. I sent out an email inviting folks to come along to a Wednesday meditation at our home. I was really apprehensive about how this would work out. By 7 pm, we were 8 people (including my mom and my brother) all ready to sit in silence for the next hour. A little nervous, I introduced the concept. For the first 5 mins, my mind was wandering and thinking of all the imaginary logistical glitches -- hope the fan is not too fast, or is my phone in the silent mode, or hope no one rings the bell, etc. But then, I had one of the best meditation hours ever.
A beautiful Kabir song rang on my phone, when the hour was over. I thought of Santa Clara openings of people like Nipun and Somik. We then introduced ourselves and discussed the Awakin reading
of the week, shared our experience on the hour in silence and then had a home-cooked vegetarian dinner together. In this room we had school teachers, an ex-air hostess-turned-nutritionist, an actor/model, a student, a management professional who recently quit his job, a homemaker and me. Soon the room was buzzing with all kinds of stories from meditation experiences to life stories to kindness experiments around the world. As the participants left, 3 out of 5 wanted to host the next Awakin Circles at their homes! :) The room was energized. I could feel the energy and I could feel all of you close to me!
My deep gratitude to all you amazing Awakin Circle hosts (in over 24 cities around the world!) for inspiring me, supporting me and being a part of my journey. I am so so grateful to everyone in every Wednesday I have attended in California, and the folks who have knowingly or unknowingly touched my life and continue to help me grow and learn from all the wonderful experiences we share. The joy of hosting an Awakin Circle is truly unbelievable and a real blessing. Thank you all for giving me and my family this beautiful opportunity. My heart is full of gratitude to all the people who continue supporting the work of stillness and to to my ServiceSpace family. I love you all!
Once again, I am left with the feeling of having received more than what we gave.
Oh, and if you are in Mumbai, we're having another
Wednesday meditation -- next week, Sept 1. :)