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Thursday, February 4th, 2010

Typical day at the ashram:

  • 6:00 morning yoga, meditation and pranayama (breath work)
  • 7:30-9:30 Breakfast and Kitchen Seva (selfless service)
  • 9:30-12:30 meditation and discussion12:30-14:30
  •  Lunch and Kitchen Seva14:45-18:30 meditation and discussion
  • 18:30-19:30 Dinner and Kitchen Seva
  • 19:30-21:30 Satsang and discussion with Guruji21:30-23:00 video of Guruji’s speeches

The Art of Living (founded by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar) is the world’s largest volunteer based, humanitarian and educational organization that reaches over 300 million people in over 140 countries.  The Art of Living develops community outreach projects all over the world (such as reforestation, building rural schools, disaster releif, health and conflict resolution.  The Art of Living also offers numerous courses which teach pranayama (breath techniques) and meditation which enable you to connect with your inner self and to discover the light of love and happiness that shines in all of us; that which is hidden underneath layers of the mind, intellect, and years of suffering.I did my first course in September 2009 in Boulder, Colorado and was blown away.  I reached a depth of meditation where I had my first glimpse of my true Self, the part which is hidden under layers of judgement, guilt, criticism, anger, fear, and the mind.  It is similar to the experience that many people so similarly describe as “near death experiences” ; bright light of energy, wholeness, a tremendous feeling of love, freedom, surrender and complete presence and contentment.  A door within all of us is waiting to be unlocked, and opened so that the light can flood through and into the universe.  Age, religious affiliation, or beliefs do not matter, just be open to it… be open to yourself. Know that something which is doubted is something that is always possible.

“prayer is asking, meditation is listening”- Guruji

To find courses in your area, you can visit The Art Of Living

“The Art of Living Course gives participants the practical knowledge and techniques to unlock their deepest potential and bring fullness to life. Whether happy and successful or feeling the stress of poor health, disappointments, or fear, every participant is cared for and comes away lighter, with effective techniques for releasing mental and physical stress and increasing his or her health, energy, peace, self-knowledge, awareness, and joy. “

-AOL Website

Talks with Guruji

(notes from discussions with Guruji during my course)

Life cannot be defined, otherwise you are limiting it.  We are pursuing happiness but the only way to succeed it is with awareness.

The heart wants the past, the mind wants the future, and the ego wants the obstacles.

When we find joy within, our outside reflects that joy

Basing your life on words is very superficial.

Silence is the goal of all answers. If an answer does not silence the mind, it is no answer

Only Silence is complete

Smiling with all the existence is Silence

Purpose of words is to create silence.

When you make service the sole purpose in life, it eliminates fear of others and gives you meaning

Love is not an emotion, it is your very existence.

When you love someone, you see nothing wrong with them, when you love someone, you want to see them always happy and you want them to have the best.

Love is the highest strength, yet it makes you absolutely weak

Love cannot tolerate distance, and hatred cannot tolerate nearness.

When there is Love, there is no ego

In the company of one who is living Love, you also can’t but spring into that Love.

Love is that phenomenon of dissolving, disappearing, merging, becoming one with.

Love is the phenomenon of total letting go.

The seers, the seen, and the process of seeing all merge. The knowledge, the knower, and the known, they all merge, become one & that is Divine Love

God is the Seer himself. Who sees—that is God

God is love. Being in love is sharing that love.

Knowledge is a burden if it does not set you free.

When you follow fun, misery follows you. When you follow Knowledge, fun follows you.

For one who has awakened in knowledge, there is no more suffering.

Do not say that you want to surrender. Just know that you already are surrendered.

A person who cannot surrender cannot be self reliant

The greatest power is in surrender, surrender to the Divine.

Meditation erases the impressions and improves the expression

Break through the barrier of the rational mind and find freedom for yourself

Freedom is your very nature. Only with freedom do joy, generosity and other human values blossom

Just an intention to be free makes you immediately free.

Discipline protects freedom. You can choose to focus either on freedom or discipline, and this makes you happy or unhappy.

Have respect for the Self and no one can take your self respect

Someone does not need to be great in order to be respected. Respecting life makes you great.

Ego is separateness, non-belongingness

The head level is safe for the ego. The heart level breaks the ego. The soul level dissolves the ego

Death brings you in touch with the reality of life.

Wake up an see your life is too short. The realization that life is short will bring dynamism to your life.

Breath is the link between your body and your spirit and your mind

Drop all the divisions of the mind. This is what is holding you back from enlightenment. This is what is holding you back from your very nature. Drop those right now.

Your own judgement brings the barrier and separates you.  When you are judging, you are judging your own self, but you are super-imposing it on this, or this, or this, or this, or this.

Abiding in the self you become the valentine for the whole world. Spirit is the valentine of matter and matter is the valentine of the spirit.

The world appears imperfect on the surface but underneath, all is perfect. Perfection hides; imperfection shows off.

Sincerity is being in touch with your Depth.

You are total. You are full. You have all that you need. Do not underestimate yourself.

Abundance is a state of mind within you. If you just look at “lack,” the lack increases in life.

Over-indulgence in anything reduces the beauty.

See a mistake as a mistake, not as “my” or “his” mistake. “My” means guilt; “his” means anger.

The Self is the center of the whole creation.

Truth cannot be understood through proof. Anything that can be proven can be disproven also. Truth is beyond proof or disproof.

Events cannot stick on to you. You are like the pure crystal. Niranjanah—untouched, unstained by anything.

You are Divine. You are part of me. I am part of you.

When heart speaks and heart listens, harmony is produced. It is always so. When head talks and head listens, argument is produced.

Birthday Presence

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

After finishing my double scoop butterscotch ice cream cone, I wander into the divine bookstore at the Art of Living International Ashram.  I pick up the book “Silence” by his holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (Guruji) and opened to a random page.

“A poor man celebrates the new year once a year.  A rich man celebrates it every day.  But the richest man celebrates it every moment”

 I chose to flip through that particular book because I was practicing silence for my meditation course, an entire 5 days of it.  It was my 23rd birthday today, but I didn’t get any birthday hugs, kisses, or spankings.  No party, songs, candles or gifts . . . just presence.Complete awareness of myself.With the assistance of my lovely friend, Neela, I wore my birthday sari and felt like a princess at the birthday cake ashram, but more importantly I felt like Me.  And I’m not talking about “Aubrey” I’m talking about Me.  The person who starts the sentence, “I am . . .”I shut my eyes and let Guruji’s words touch my heart.  Why only one day a year to celebrate ourselves?  Why only one day a year to celebrate each of those so dear and close to us?After another typical day at the ashram, I do my Seva, sweeping the kitchen in my sari with a matching colored broomstick and washing dishes, and return to the ashram for our 9:00pm meeting, to receive my real birthday gift . . . a small group meeting with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the one who gifted me with the knowledge to know who’s birthday it really was that January 17th, 2010.