Spending time in Sayla

A few years ago, I spent just over 2 months in the Shree Raj Saubhag Satsang Mandal Ashram in Sayla, India. It was the first time I’d stayed beyond 2 weeks. I left London with mixed feelings about the trip, because it was clear that some people thought I was making a bad decision. For some, it was about me going during the Monsoon season. Others thought it might be a negative experience for me to go alone for that amount of time. Some felt I was ‘too normal’ (worldly, as opposed to, saintly) to go for such a long stay.

The feelings I had when I left were very different to those I had before I got there. I loved it so much that I wanted to Suraj to do something similar and reap the benefits of it, like I had.

You can read more about my first trip here.

Second long stay in Sayla

I left London on July 20th 2015 and returned on August 24th 2015. Bhaishree (my Guru) was at the Ashram when I got there, so I was in the presence of enlightened Greatness straight away! During this trip I indulged in, and gained from, so many things. Here’s a non-exclusive list:-

  • I heard Bhaishree’s Bodh (discourse), through which I was reminded and guided about how to live with increasing peace, calmness, non-violence and a type of happiness that I’ve not experienced before
  • I heard discourses from other Self Realised souls
  • I attended two retreats/Shibirs
  • I joined Bhaishree and others on a couple of short walks around the Ashram
  • I served Bhaishree and His team of Self Realised souls when they had breakfast, lunch and dinner

Guru Purnima

I have attended a couple of events to celebrate Guru Purnima before but I hadn’t realised the Greatness of it until I experienced it in Sayla.

You can read a bit about what Guru Purnima is here and here.

What was so special about the celebrating the event in Sayla? Those who are devoted to Bhaishree had a chance to share how they feel about Him, how they’ve changed since accepting Him in their life, how much they appreciate His efforts and more.

These expressions varied in forms. Some made cards and 3D models, others shared their experiences privately, some spoke about their feelings publicly during the event, whilst some were part of a drama, dance or song. It was humbling and moving, to see their devotion in action!

Part of all this involves analysing oneself and recognising the effect He’s had on our thinking, the way we speak and the way we behave. Self analysis is so important, because it’s the way we will see how much we’ve changed and recognise what we need to work on next/further.

Nivruti in Sayla

For me, one of the most important parts of being in the Ashram is Nivruti. Nivruti is about being ‘free.’ I see it as a time when I’m freed up from everything non-spiritual, so that I can listen, hear, grasp and put in to practice, things that will make my existence more purposeful, calm, aligned, focused and ethical.

So when I’m in Sayla, I don’t have to think about, or spend time, cooking, because the staff in the Ashram make all the meals. I don’t need to think about cleaning or washing clothes, because they have staff for that too. I don’t need to think about work, because I freed myself up from it, to get the most out of my time there. I don’t focus on creating relationships, networking or making friends, because I haven’t gone there for that. So when all the things I have to, or want to, do when I’m at home, are excluded from my timetable, I have lots of minutes spare. I use them to read, attend discourses, think, meditate and more.

Support network

Bhaishree has set the Ashram up in such a way that we never feel alone when we’re there, whether He’s there or not. He’s done this by making sure there’s at least one Self Realised soul there. This is really important because we can go to them to ask questions, express any doubts, share our fears and more. They are the support network that is an extension of what Bhaishree gives us. They are selfless and only want us to be free of the repeated cycle of birth, death and rebirth. Their purpose is to help us free ourselves from the conflict, confusion, tears, pain and temporary joy, that comes from deluded thinking.

Focus and strive

For me, being in Sayla is a time to focus on spirituality and strive. When I’m there, I challenge myself to think better and be better. I then hope to carry that with me when I return to London and that’s when I need to strive further!

One of the ways I challenge myself, is to sign up for the Ekaant Maun Shibir/retreat, as opposed to, the Araadhana Shibir. Both are similar. A few of the differences are:-

  1. The Ekaant Maun Shibir involves one more hour of meditation than the other retreat
  2. We complete a form on a daily basis to share our reflections about our experiences of meditation and how we’ve reacted to various catalysts
  3. We are silent for the 5 days  we have permission to talk to the Self Realised Souls but nobody else

What about you?

Do you have anything, which helps you live a better life in which you feel less pain and more peace? If not, would you consider finding something that would help you achieve that? I’d love to hear from you, so do get in touch.

What do you express more? Shame or pride?

by Heena Modi on July 28, 2015

Can you name some relationships in which you feel emotion?

Does that sound weird? We feel emotions all the time don’t we? I believe that there are some relationships in which we feel emotions more intensely than others. Then there are those, where we can hide, suppress or nullify pretty much, any sense of emotion.

The thing is…we don’t all feel the same level of emotion, in the same types of relationship. For example, some people are very emotional about their siblings, others aren’t. Let’s list some relationships.

  • parent and child
  • siblings
  • student to teacher
  • niece or nephew and uncle or aunt
  • cousins
  • spouse
  • partner
  • shopkeeper
  • the owner or employee of our favourite local business
  • employee and boss
  • patient and doctor
  • grandchild and grandparent
  • childhood friend
  • work colleague

There are so many, aren’t there? This list isn’t exclusive, so there will be many which have been left out of this list.

Why is emotion important?

Try and think of one relationship where you notice what the other person does and you usually have an opinion about it. When they behave ‘well’, (according to your expectations), do you feel a sense of pride? Do you like the type of person they are? Do you want to see or experience more of it? When they do things that you think are beneath them, an action that results in them letting themselves, or others down; do you feel anger, shame or some other form of dislike?

Do you think these emotions remain hidden as long as they’re not expressed verbally?

What do you focus on, or notice, more?

Are you the type of person who notices what you like more than the things you dislike? Or are you more in tune with things that you don’t like to witness?

Depending on the type of person you are, it’s possible that you’ll express what you notice more in some way. Whatever you hold on to, usually finds a way to come through, one way or another. Whether it’s your body language, facial expressions, a sigh, the words you use etc.

Why does what you notice matter?

Your outlook has a lot of power. It has the power to uplift yourself and others, or it has the ability to dampen your mood and have a negative impact on others.

For example, if you nearly always notice, feel negative about, and disapprove of, the things your child does or says, do you think they’ll embed the feeling that you are proud of them, or will they think you’re mostly ashamed of them? In the same way, does your partner make you feel as if they are proud of who you are, or as if you are a thorn in their side? I’ve only used two examples, but I think they can be applied to any type of relationship.

The choice is ours and it’s not too late to change our outlook

I know of adults who aren’t sure if their parents were ever proud of them or not, because the ‘child’ sensed that they were constantly letting their parent down, or that their parents nearly always saw them as being, not good enough. Some relationships can’t be turned around and this might be because all parties may not be alive any more. However, where there’s determination and motivation, it’s never too late to change the way we perceive situations, the things we focus on, and the memories and feelings that we hold on to.

An opportunity to reflect, evaluate and develop

Are you in a similar position to me?
Do you need to change the way you view certain people?
Like me, do you also need a shift in perspective with certain types of situations?

How will you make that empowering, compassionate, and feel good shift?

What will you put in place to see things differently? When you see something you dislike in someone else, can you use it as an opportunity to identify your own shortcomings? Could it be the catalyst for you to encourage yourself to remember something they consistently do, which you admire? In order to remind yourself that people can change for the better, could you think back and recall something (negative) that you used to do, or a way that you used to be, which you’ve now remedied?

If you can think of any other strategies, do get in touch and share them.

Hope for Horses UK

9 July 2015

Can you imagine someone investing in a horse and then leaving it for dead? I met Mark Johnson a few months ago. He started the campaign, Hope for Horses UK in February 2014. I was quite shocked to find out that someone would buy horses, leave them in a land that’s not fit for purpose, breed them and […]

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Find out why I created the eBook ‘The Way to a Vegan’s Heart’

2 July 2015

My first ever eBook So I have some news… I created and launched an eBook, called The Way to a Vegan’s Heart: Delicious Recipes to Help You Eat Well, Cook Quickly and Feel Content. For those of you who are vegan or interested in cooking vegan meals for yourself, or vegan friends and family; this book […]

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Does every moment present us with a choice between heartbreak and liberation?

16 June 2015

If you could choose between heartbreak or liberation, which would you choose? Comparing how someone interacts with us and others Can you recall a time when you saw someone whom you like, admire or love, show more affection to someone other than you? Perhaps you saw them treat someone else better? Did they speak to them […]

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Seema McArdle’s views on racism, homophobia, Islamophobia and xenophobia

7 May 2015

I attended the National Union of Teachers conference this year was delighted to hear Seema McArdle speak up for groups who are being negatively labelled, victimised and unfairly punished! Her message definitely deserved the standing ovation which followed! Below you’ll find a slightly edited version of her speech. It’s SO worth reading! Our media and MPs […]

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The thief that steals from us all the time and we don’t even bat an eyelid about it

15 April 2015

What do we do to PREVENT thieves from stealing our things? We put locks on doors We add locks to windows We install a home alarm and service it annually We ensure that we’ve turned the alarm on when we leave the home We add tracking devices to our car We set a complicated security […]

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