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Nadine's Blog

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Gorgeous day at Parkdale



Parkdale Beach, originally uploaded by deen.

Beauty

Alandi, originally uploaded by deen.

Take down a musical instrument

Let the beauty we love be what we do

There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground

Rumi

In every moment

(Reposting this as someone hacked into my site! Was originally posted in Sept 2009)

I recently completed the Learn to Meditate level 3 course at the Shiva School of Meditation in Mt Eliza.  As always, Swamiji’s wisdom, humour and teachings were uplifting and inspiring.

Tranquility

Swamiji spoke of Gurdjieff’s method of Self Remembering. Wherever we are and what ever we are doing, look inward to the self as well as outwards to the outer world. Swamiji said don’t leave your self out of it – practice self remembering in every situation. We spend out time looking outwards but need to learn to keep a focus inwards at the same time.

In every moment of our life, there is a possibility. In every moment, we have two choices. If we are present in each moment, we can see there is a choice to take the energised view or the depleted view. The energised view uplifts, is buoyant and abundant, while the depleted view drains our energy and contracts our feeling.

Meditation lets us understand that, in each moment, the choice is actually ours. We may think things happen to us but in the moment our action, our reaction, the way we see and respond to that moment is our own choice. As we strengthen the connection with the self, we develop with wisdom power to make the uplifting choice, the one which brings us closer to peace, happiness, love, contentment and balance. As we continue our practice, we will make the right choice more often.

We need to ask ourselves if  there is a better view we can take in any situation. Raise your view, raise your understanding and come to a higher view, a higher understanding. When we see ourselves taking the negative path, being affected by depression or anger, ask ourselves – is there a better way to look at this?  We can build our energy by looking for the uplifting choice in each moment.

The self is always there – look for the choice in each moment which brings you closer to it and experience the natural peace and happiness which resides within you.  Swamiji read a Zen quote:

If you distill your vital energy,
protect it to the utmost and nourish it constantly
then the whole universe becomes
a divine elixir

A parade through Model Town

Dey’s party was all we anticipated it to be and much more! About 20 of us waited at the Singh Sahib hotel for the bus to arrive, filling in the time by taking photos of each other dressed in sauve Indian attire. Even the bus trip there was great – Jorge, Prasad, Nirunjan and Viju sang some fantastic chants to get the mood lifted more than it already was!

Once we arrived in Model Town, we picked up Monima’s family and friends and headed closer to where we were to meet the parade. We left the bus and walked up a dark street, unable to see what was waiting for us. Suddenly, musicians started playing and bhangra dancers leapt into the street. Absorbed by the sound and movement of the dancing and music, I was suddenly surprised to see two enormous elephants step into view.

The elephants were beautiful – they were decorated with paint and color and slowly ambled through the streets as we walked to the restaurant, still surrounded by the dancing and musicians. Prasad was the only person courageous and agile enough to ride on one of the elephants – the rest of us where either wrapped in saris or worried about the overhead wires which the mahouts were ducking under. The whole experience was awesome and overwhelming – the colors, sounds, excitement, elephants and sense of celebration were amazing.

Once we arrived at the restaurant, more dancing took place with the bhangra dancers performing acrobatic moves and the guests joining in. Dey welcomed each of us with a garland of flowers at the door as we finally made our way up to the restaurant. The rest of the night followed in the same fashion – a Chennai band, more bhangra dancing, disco and fantastic food. Dey managed to throw an incredible party amount the color and craziness of Delhi – a totally memorable and amazing night…

The following morning, we packed and made our way to the airport to catch our flight to Ganeshpuri. We made it here and have filled the last 10 days with more incredible experiences – palkis, yagnas, sannyas ceremonies, aratis, satsang and even a tinsy bit of meditation!!  Ganeshpuri is a place which is so removed from the ‘real’ world that it is difficult to focus on reading and blogging so I’ll work up to more detail of our time in this amazing village over the next couple of days…

Painted elephants

Friday was the day we had reserved for a rickshaw tour of old Delhi. I remembered catching a richshaw tour on a previous visit near the Red fort so we decided to head out in a couple of autos and meet outside red fort, at the bottom of Chandni Chowk.  We sent Joh and Gary off in one auto, Maria and David in another and then it took Dey and I another 20 mins to find an auto who would take us into old Delhi.

Unfortunately we didn’t plan for how busy the bottom on Chandni Chowk is and just how hard it would be to find each other. Joh and Gary had been literally been taken for a ride and were not dropped off near red fort – their auto driver took them up into Chandni Chowk in the hopes of getting a commission if he took them to a shop.  But all worked out and we met up – we’ve used our mobiles more in a few days in India than in a month back home!

While we were waiting for the others, Dey and I met Poorna, a rickshaw driver and arranged a few bikes to be ready to take us on the tour. Poorna and his team turned out to be fantastic – they kept us all together, took us to the places we wanted to see and didn’t push us to shop at places where they would get a commission.

We headed up Chandni Chowk and turned left to access the narrow, winding lanes of old Delhi. The colors, crowds and bustle were just as I remember – completely filling our senses. The first stop was a Jain temple tucked into a small side lane. Most of the walls were covered with beautiful murals and mosaics but some had been painted over with thick cream gloss paint. Luckily, an Indian man living in Belgium has sponsored work to have the temple repainted and we met the artists who where working on the massive task. 

We were shown the mineral rocks which are used to make the colors for painting the temple – Lapus, ochre and others. The process is amazingly labourous – the rocks are crushed in a morter and pestle and then gound for over 8 hours until they are a thin liquid like watercolor.  The work to repaint the temple is estimated at 6 years and when we saw the care and effort which went into the preparation of paints, researching the designs and painting the murals, it is not surprising.

Then we walked on through the lanes to find the oil shop where Maria needed to buy oil for Swamiji. Amazingly, Poorna was able to locate the shop so while Maria bought loads of Heena and other oils, we stocked up on essential oils, watching as they poured the fragrant liquids from their larger storage bottles into the small ornate bottles we would buy.

Next stop was the spice market at the top of Chandhi Chowk. As we approached, the pungent spices can wafting through the streets. leading us closer to the market. As we enter the enclosed market, the smells were overwhelming, making us cough and our eyes water. Heading up the dark, worn stairs to the top of the spice market, we could look down into the enclosed space which used to be an elaborate palace in far gone times or take in the breathtaking views across the old Delhi skyline.

That night, we met Jackie and David in Connought Place for dinner. The Banana Leaf is a South Indian restaurant which serves great dosas so we had a fun night exchanging tales of India. We caught the Metro home which turned out to be a great option – remarkable clean and organised and much calmer and quieter than an auto.

Yesterday, Joh, Gary and I headed back to the Jain temple in old Delhi as Joh had arranged for us to have a painting lesson with one of the artists. Jenul is one of four brothers who are working on the repainting of the temple. Jneul is originally from Udaipur, the latest of many generations of artists in his family. Knowing we would have limited time, Jenul had drawn us each an elephant which we then colored. The process is quite slow but we were all very happy with the results. After 3 hours, we were only a third of the way through so Joh and Gary went back that night to continue the class. None of us finished the intricate brush detail on the elephant so we have a project to work on once we get home!

Last night, more people arrived for the party, Kylie and Roger, Devindra – Dey’s trekking guide from Nepal, Rosie and her family from Ganeshpuri, Vinod – a travelling monk and some of his friends. Dinner up on the rooftop terrace was a great way to spend the evening with such a varied group of people.

Today, party preparation have hit full steam. My arms and feet are colored with henna peacocks, drawn by the mehendhi artist who I met earlier in the week and Dey has headed off to Monima’s to finalise the arrangements. With promises of parades, elephants and banghra dancers, it should be a great night!

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