By Linda Abrol, Netherlands,
Honestly, this was the most challenging retreat I have ever attended. And I can tell from experience, for I have been attending holistic retreats ever since 2004. Now that the time for comfort zone spirituality (quoting Rajesh Kamath) seems to be over and the real thing is being chosen by many, we all plunged into an unknown zone of sitting for hours without much sensory diversion (apart from snoring – a so-called zoo according to Mohanji), fully focussing on our inner world.
Initially, Mohanji supported huge inner cleansing by asking for two group Mai-Tri sessions on consecutive days. We were blindfolded, no eye contact or communication was allowed, we had earplugs, and while walking to the diner room or the toilet, we looked down to the ground in front of us. The simple fact of being ignored by the other participants brought up a lot of stuff for me. We tend to take everything personally and attach the energy of the present moment to some past traumatic experience. In the past traumatic event, we took some conclusions that were actually meant to prevent a similar painful feeling in our futures but, in reality, transformed into convictions and patterns that only prevent living a life of wholeness.
During the start of Empowerment 5, these convictions and emotions initially rose quickly to the surface. But since I have done so much emotional and mental cleansing over the years, they didn’t cause huge inner turbulence, only discomfort. With the help of the instructions given by Mohanji, I could simply watch them. But I couldn’t escape the restlessness that arose from the feelings. Later I found that it was because I didn’t really allow myself to freely feel what I was feeling.
I mentalised my feelings by witnessing them. It was another form of suppression. Witnessing is great as long as one doesn’t resist feeling the feelings which I did unconsciously. The restlessness caused by feelings of worthlessness, misunderstanding and ‘being tolerated instead of loved and appreciated’ came up for me because I was being ‘ignored by others.’ The inner system – because of past trauma – translates the fact that somebody didn’t look at me as ‘being judged and being considered as trash’ whereas the truth is that they didn’t ignore anybody but simply focused inside as per instructions.
The feeling of discomfort invited me to think: what do I miss most in this setting? I wrote down in my writing binder: Acknowledgment, exchange of love, touch, and a loving glance. I carried some inspiration cards in my suitcase, and in the evenings, I would randomly pick one, and the first one read: ‘Stay happy with yourself’. It shifted my focus from looking for an outer acknowledgement to allowing inner safety to surface. The simple text turned into my ‘mantra’ for the rest of the week whenever I caught myself in self-judgement.
I had come with high expectations of breaking through everything that kept me away from the deep silence and consequently elevated experiences, but they seemed, except for a few wonderful moments and hours, to remain out. I noticed that when my mind would drift off from the breathing technic, we were instructed to do, I tended to tighten certain facial muscles. After loosening them consciously, my mind reacted by relaxing a bit as well.
Fortunately, I was quite balanced during the rest of the five days. Only initially, the restrictions of sensory input caused some adolescent feelings of rebellion. When Mohanji advised us to focus on our purpose and vision instead of resisting the rules that were made to benefit us, I was able to remember that I was there because of my deep longing for total liberation.
Yet, the silence and closure to the world of the senses seemed to bring me little except muscle pain and resistance, and I wondered what shift was already taking place subconsciously; for after all, Mohanji had promised: no one would go home empty-handed. The resistance kept playing tricks on me no matter how I tried to relax into it and accept it. I could not find the switch to turn. As we had been advised, witnessing’ was what brought us closest to (relative) peace.
But the various energies of other participants, the noises, the snoring and the emotions of the people around me caused my head to be always active and in vigil mode, except when Mohanji spoke and the period shortly after He left us to meditate till lunchtime. Then I sank into bliss. Not the deepest form of ‘total dissolution’, but a wonderful calmness, love, acceptance and relaxation and the feeling everything is ok.
So, when I started asking myself what were the benefits so far, if any, I found to my surprise, that there were quite a few:
I felt lighter because of the simple – and, in my opinion, tasteless – food.
I was getting clearer in my head by the day.
I was again taking every step and making each movement with conscious attention, just as I had done for so many years after meeting Sathya Sai Baba in 1991 and before mobile phones made an appearance in my life.
It was not until that moment that I consciously noticed how I had grown in ‘being a witness in difficult circumstances’ over the last six dramatic years – during which my life had been turned quite upside down by moving house, by a completely new business venture, two accidents with chronic, physical consequences, two parents with dementia and their transition to the other world, the parting of my parental home and more. I started to consciously feel gratitude again. A Mai-Tri session during the retreat allowed me to sit without back pain. More gratitude.
On the morning of the third day, a shift seemed to happen. Both in me and in the group energy. I woke up with an inner message from Mohanji, asking me: ‘Absolute calmness, what is your trigger to come out of that calmness?’ I replied automatically, as if from a higher knowing: ‘Misunderstanding.’ I parked the message in some part of my brain and proceeded to the event hall.
Two days of group Mai-Tri had cleansed a lot of clutter from the entire group’s energy, and the air felt lighter. Mohanji watched us with happiness, mentioning both the cleansing and the determination of the whole group, young and old. I am highly sensitive to group energy, so, together with the group energy, my own energy got elevated. And the high energy frequency that emanated from Mohanji stayed with me until lunchtime.
Soon after lunch, the restlessness came back, but this time I watched the rising thoughts with more interest to find out their origin. I discovered that more than ninety per cent of the disturbing thoughts that kept me away from calmness were about misunderstanding indeed! That was a revelation. It was all about mentally trying to make people understand my good intentions and trying to avoid their anger and irritation. And the more I tried, the more misunderstandings showed up in daily life, making me feel insecure, lonely, unloved, useless, etc. And why did I do this?
Because deep down, I was still afraid that misunderstanding would cause a whole village to stand up against me and throw me from a cliff. The anger on their faces never left me, and the incredible pain of knowing that these were my loved ones whom I had tried to make happy and healthy but now seemed to hate me so much. This was a previous life memory, of course. And every time I see anger in anybody’s eyes, the cells in my body fear I will be murdered. The good news of this revelation is that when this one memory will be desensitised one day – and I firmly believe help will come my way – ninety-five per cent of my restlessness will be gone!
Part 2 to be continued …..
|| JAI BRAHMARISHI MOHANJI ||
Edited & Published by – Testimonials Team, 21st January 2023
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