- Health Coaching
August 2, 2012: A WEEK AT AN ASHRAM (Daily Journal) By Kevin W. Reese
On my way to the Ashram I felt anxiety. I didn’t know what to expect. Who would I be rooming with? Will I be able to handle the yoga classes? Will they have enough raw food for me? How would I handle turning my phone off for the week? Would I lose business opportunities not being “plugged in”?
I spent time on the open road evaluating my life while listening to Nas’s new album “Life is good”. Then it hit me! I need to write a journal everyday so I could document my experience. And on top of that…wait…shoot! I had to pee! I made the executive decision to pull over on the highway. As I jumped a rail, and went 10 feet into the strange woods, I saw two bees flying around from flower to flower as I was urinating. I wasn’t worried about being stung, just fascinated with their process, maybe they were fascinated with mine. I got back in the car and switched my CD selection over to the best of Bob Dylan. Back to my idea…The journal would be the end of the book I had been writing in my head!
After driving up the mountain for some time, I pulled into the Ashram and loved what I saw immediately. As a kid, my parents took me to a camp ground they belonged to and this property reminded me of that feeling. The smell of the trees, the dirt roads, the separation between buildings, the lake, the swimming pool, the people who have their tents set up. It was 60 acres of amazing. I went inside the main building and checked in. There was a blackboard on the wall with the schedule for the day. I learned everyday there are programs and activities and classes. It was overwhelmingly exciting. I was told that every building on the grounds required you to take your shoes off, with exception to the dining hall. I wish I had brought sandals.
I dropped my bags off at my dorm. It was a newly renovated room with 2 bunk beds. Next door was the woman dorm and we all shared a bathroom. I then started exploring the grounds and as I did I texted a few of my like minded friends about my findings. My queen told me I needed to unplug and turn the phone off. But I was excited! Then it dawned on me, if I turn off my phone, I don’t know the time! And I haven’t worn a watch in almost ten years! Crap! I decided to go into town tomorrow to get a watch, but for now, my phone is still on. LOL
I started introducing myself to people. I wasn’t looking to make friends so much, but I just love interviewing strangers. One guy had been coming there for 18 years. Another girl from Canada quit her job and took a bus for 15 hours to get here. Another girl was doing a work study and was living in the boathouse by the lake. I met my roommate, who lived and worked at the Ashram last year and just came back. He gave me some advice on where things are and we departed for the day. I stopped off at the garden and was excited to see lots of kale, I took a pic and Instagramed it through my Twitter and FB pages. I knew it would be my last social media contact for a while.
I then headed over to the dining hall to have dinner and saw one of the cooks doing mantra chants over the vegan food before people could eat. Although most of the food is vegan, I still had to choose carefully. Being a raw foodist during the warm months, I realized I was going to have to alter my diet slightly. My first meal was raw vegan coleslaw, veggie and mushroom stir fry, and fruit. I did not touch the soup, rice or potatoes. I was impressed with the spread and the joy of giving gratitude to the food. They had tons of spices, agave, seeds and nutritional yeast. Anyone that has nutritional yeast in with their spice/toppings selection is good with me. I ate alone as I prefer, and watched the people.
After dinner I took a shower and then headed over to the nighttime meditation program. I got there early and sat down. I was handed the Sanskrit Mantras on paper so I could follow along. One lady nicely told me to not point my feet towards the shrine as it can be seen as disrespectful. Then came in a lady with a shaman robe and a heavy accent. Another lady lit the fire and candles. She sat down with an accordion and begin leading the chants. After the chants was the silent meditation followed by more chanting. After the chanting she read some excerpts from a book written by Baba Bhagavanda who was the Guru of the Ashrams founder Shri Brahmananda Sarasvati. I loved the readings and was familiar with the teachings. One teaching that hit me was when he spoke of religion not being confrontational or violent. That no one should ever claim for their guru to be the only one to follow. It reminded me of what we learned in nutrition school, which is that food is the only science that can be proven right and wrong.
Also in attendance was an older Indian man and his wife. They looked to be in their seventies and the meditation guide talked to him back and forth often. He was very knowledgeable and spoke of Gods being upset with humans for not giving back to nature, even when we eat. My journalistic mind couldn’t help but want to interview the older Indian man and the meditation guide. There was so much soul and knowledge between the two. I later found out that she stayed at the Ashram and was a teacher. The older Indian man was Dr. Sharma who is a retired professor who is one of the leading authorities on Sanskrit in the world. He stays at the Ashram every summer and teaches Sanskrit to those that want to learn.
I went back to my dorm and got into bed around 9.30pm. I was exhausted and relaxed. Soon walked in my roomate. Since he worked at the Ashram I took it as a great opportunity to get questions answered. I went into Barbera Walters mode. I asked why he wasn’t in the meditation session. He humbly let me know that he rather meditate alone. After I inquired, he used the analogy of the sky. He said the sun was the connection to your consciousness but some people have clouds in the way. He said those that mediate in those sessions are usually those who have lots of clouds and he prefers to go upstairs to the cosmic temple and meditate on his own. I loved the analogy. He has been meditating for 15 years and he encouraged me to keep going with my practice as I only started in 2009. I asked him how old he was, and he took some time to think. He then responded that he was 39 years old. I knew from the delayed response to the question that I was dealing with a different type of cat. I could tell he killed his ego a while ago. He was on an enlightenment journey.
We kept talking, and I learned that he didn’t have or want a cell phone and he didn’t watch TV. I would assume he was Muslim, by his Kofi, but when I asked if he followed a religion, he said he didn’t and that he considered himself a mystic. We started talking about the Ashram. He informed me that it is a retreat for most, but if you look real close, you will find the Ashram. That made lots of sense to me. I noticed that I had to lead the conversation. He had no problem talking, but I had to ask questions for him to talk. I asked him what time he gets up in the morning. He said at 5am when the sun comes up so he can meditate. He informed me that he sometimes goes back to sleep after but makes sure he is up for the sun. I found that discipline impressive and I understood it well. The Sun is life. That is one of the philosophies behind the EAT THE SUNLIGHT brand. I wanted to treat it like an Ashram even though my business mind wanted to interview people and make videos, and tell the managers about my health coaching business, and radio show so we could work together. I felt conflicted.
Although exhausted, I had a terrible time sleeping. I was conflicted between making videos and diving into the real Ashram life… or balancing the two. This brought anxiety. All night I tossed and turned thinking of that, among other things. I also wasn’t used to a small bed and another man sleeping 5 feet away. LOL This all made for a horrible night, and the anxiety went through me like electricity just knowing I had to be up in a few hours or I would be wasting my time and money. Before I knew it….it was 7.30am. Time for day 2.
I woke up tired but how could I be moody at an Ashram ? I wanted to do my best at keeping the same routine as I do at home. So I stretched and then opened a gallon of water and started chugging. My next step at home would be tea…so I headed to the dining hall and made a cup and drank on a swinging bench under a tree. I went back in the dining hall and enjoyed a typical breakfast for me full of fruit. I had 3 Nectarines, 5 slices of Cantaloupe, and a few Oranges. After breakfast, I skipped morning meditation and took off to town to find a watch. I found a Wal-mart and found a Casio watch…just like the ones I wore as a kid. Because I didn’t bring my wallet on my trip my routines were thrown off, so I didn’t have any plastic on me. All I had was my change from a pay toll on the way here. 19 bucks to be exact. The watch was $18 and change. Like I was negotiating at a pawn shop I told the cashier all I had was $18. The two old ladies behind me laughed, but it turned out the watch was on sale. The old ladies told me they would have gave me a few bucks if I was short. I expressed my gratitude and wished them a great day.
I got back to the Ashram and when I pulled in, there was a deer and two geese just chilling. I stopped the car and watched the deer. I had never seen one so close. It was about 15 feet from my car and it wasnt scared or bothered by me at all as it glanced at me several times while eating. It picked fruit off the tree and ate some grass. At that moment i was reminded why I don’t eat animal flesh.
When I got to my dorm, I put my phone away, put on my new watch then went to attend my first yoga class. I had anxiety because I’m not good at yoga yet. I didn’t know what to expect. I thought a lady asked me “is this a half hour class?” I replied “No, I think it’s an hour” she said “No, I said Hatha”. Oops. Boy was it intense, I was just happy I wasn’t the only newbie as the guy next to me was tight too. The instructor was awesome and guided us well. I did my first 90 minute yoga class. I was pleased with myself. After, I wanted to go for a run as I’ve been itching since I got here and there are some hills I want to climb. But I knew it wasn’t smart as I am probably going to be sore in the morning from the HATHA yoga.
I went to lunch and was pleased to see greens! I loaded up, added banana, sesame seeds, nutritional yeast, cranberries, tomatoes and cucumbers. After that was dessert, 3 watermelon slices and some corn on the Cob. Although not raw, I enjoyed the corn and passed on the other goodies they had on the spread including soup, cashew rice and vegan shepherd’s pie.
After, I walked the trails to burn off my lunch. It’s amazing how many hiking trails are here, I still have much more to explore. I came back to the dorm and my roommate was reading. I asked what he was reading spiritual poems. He said they were friendly reminders. Some how we ended up on the topic of Gandhi. He told me Gandhi had issues with Ego that he admitted and that’s what made him so identifiable. I then took off to the living room area to write what you are reading right now as the effects of the HATHA yoga begin to set in.
I grabbed one of my books and a few magazines and spent a few hours on a swinging bench under the trees reading. It was very peaceful. However, just a short time ago I heard a guy say a bad storm was coming. I never hesitate. I went up to him and got confirmation. I then went to my car and found an AM station which was running weather alerts saying hail, 70 mile an hour winds, Tornado warning and lightning. Great.
Ok. Step 1- I moved my car away from big trees. Step 2- I changed out of flip flops and shorts and got my jeans and sneaks on. Step 3- Look at my surroundings….my dorm is underground and there is a glass door, but I can manage that as there is not much glass. Plus, there is a basement in the main house which I scoped out from day one. Step 4- Go get dinner. Storm will be here in an hour or less and I needed fuel. While there I will tell whoever I can about the storm in case they didn’t know. I knew I had to let the people in tents know. On way back to dorm I need to decide whether to grab my CERT bag out of my trunk. Instincts say yes. I should have my gear with me even if it is us just losing power. Next step, Guess I’ll be turning my phone on after all. I want to text my queen that I love her…but she will yell at me for not being “unplugged”. LOL ok…maybe my emergency prep skills are about to be tested.
Storm is over. It was wicked but didn’t last long. I informed all that I could and some people showed gratitude. I went around to all the tents and made sure no one was in them. I did end up grabbing my CERT bag. When I got to my destination I had the opportunity to get to know some Ashram folk more as we waited out the storm. Of course, I was peaking out the window often making sure I could hear for a “train” like sound. I asked one lady if she worked her. She replied with a smile and told me that she lives here. Come to find out for 10 years and currently in one of the tents. I was intrigued and told her I wanted to know more about her life. She replied “You need to find out who you are, and what drew you to this Ashram.” How do you reply to that ? Ok, you don’t!
I came back to the dorm and my roommate and I talked for a good hour. I am learning a lot from him. He said if society falls apart it won’t affect him because he isn’t caught up in the world. We spoke more on the Buddha and Gandhi and I asked him an important question…”When did you kill your ego”. He smiled, as if to say “thanks for noticing”. He explained that his old ego, the one he visualized for himself may be dead, but the scars always remain just like a bad burn. He said the karmic impact is always there and the memory is always there. I told him about my ego and how I’m in nutrition school. I told him it’s a hard balance to learn the human body and have a serious spiritual practice like how I wanted to. He said maybe the health is going to be my contribution to the world. After the convo he left to break his fast for Ramadan and go meditate. I found it amazing that he was observing Ramadan, yet didn’t consider himself a Muslim. I missed my meditation session because of my convo with him, but I don’t regret it. I’m exhausted from not sleeping well the night before, so it’s time to relax. I turned my phone back off as the “emergency” is over…and I laid down wondering what my qeen is doing this very second.
I slept way better than my first night. I used the nature noise Ap on my iPad and wore headphones. It knocked me out around 10pm. Maybe this will be good for home? When I awoke at 7.50am I went to my car to get a new gallon of water and chugged away. I am certainly sore from the yoga but not as much as I thought I would be, it’s mostly my upper body.
I headed to the dinning hall for tea and breakfast. While having my tea outside on my tree swing, an Israeli man started chatting with me. We knew each other from the previous day when I warned folks of the storm. He was one of the people staying in a tent. I got into Barbera Walters mode yet again and started asking questions. He lived in NYC and was here to relax. As he ate his oatmeal, he said he liked being here because it forces him to eat healthy. He asked me how I normally ate. After explaining raw foods in warm months and macrobiotic in the winter months he agreed. He took an Ayurvedic seminar here at the Ashram. I told him I was a health coach and realized I liked saying that. His response in his thick accent ”Wow so you could teach me a lot?” I shook my head yes. He started taking advantage of my knowledge and he asked many questions. I didn’t have a problem with it. We spoke raw foods, complex carbs, and the differences between Smoothies and Juicing. My big advice to him…Do not drink fruit juice because it spikes your sugar. Eat your fruit, drink your veggies. He understood. I looked at my new watch and saw I was behind schedule. I went in the dinning hall for breakfast and consumed 3 bananas and a big bowl of cantaloupe. I then headed off to the meditation program.
I saw purple for only the 3rd time ever during meditation. Problem was I couldn’t hold my trance long enough… maybe it was because I had to pee. When I awoke, there was still 10 minutes left, so I waited in silence while everyone finished. I didn’t stay for the final chants or readings as I was itching for some cardio exercise…and I had my eye on the hill from day 1. I’m back in the dorm now and about to go get on this hill with my iPod. Wait…let me stretch first.
I ran the hill 3 times. It was no joke. My legs quivered while the rocky 4 soundtrack played in my headphones. After, I started walking. I found an elementary school across the way off the grounds. I jogged 4 laps around the school and then went into the empty children’s playscape. I used a pole to stretch my limbs but I could barely pull myself up from being sore from Yoga. If anyone is wondering…yes I went down a slide. I also swung on a swing for a little bit. When Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” started blaring in my headphones, I couldn’t help but run one more lap.
When I got back to the Ashram, I explored a trail where I ran into a small cabin. There was a doormat that read “Namaste”. I peeked in. Nice small kitchen, small living quarters and small bedroom. I wondered who lived in there. Now, back at my dorm, time for a shower then off to the dinning hall for lunch. I can hear chanting upstairs as I think Dr. Sharma is leading a poem chanting class.
Before walking into the dining hall, I met a 6 year old Indian boy. He said he was staying in the shade because it was too hot. He told me he could throw a stick into the lake from here (the lake was at least 100 Yards away). After he threw it only about 15 feet he said in his tiny voice “Ok, I was wrong, but I didn’t know I was wrong until I tried it”. Then he walked away.
While waiting for lunch an older gentleman struck up convo with me. He asked me if I cleared out the tents last night before the storm. I told him I went around but didn’t find anyone. He asked me if anyone told me to do that. I replied, “No, it was just instinct”. He replied “Good for you, I know I didn’t think of it”. Indulging in more convo I found out he lives here full time. He said he was looking for a place with yoga and meditation. He said he likes this Ashram because it was loose whereas others are strict. We got distracted by some woman who was examining the rice they put out. She pointed that the bottom was burned and was toxic and they shouldn’t serve it as it can cause cancer. She was making a scene and the Chef came out and wasn’t happy to say the least. I wanted to jump in and tell the lady almost all cooked food is toxic and too chill out. But I stayed out of it. They served vegan chili. Sigh. One of my favs. I put a scoop next to my gigantic salad as a small cheat. Oh boy, it was the best chili ever! I went back up and my food addiction kicked in. I had 2 more servings! My first non raw meal in a long time…and too much of it. I was stuffed and felt like crap for the next few hours. Luckily my body is a machine, and I will spare you the elimination details.
After lunch I went up to the cosmic temple and meditated. My mind was cloudy but I still pulled off at least 10 minutes. While I was leaving my roommate walked into the temple. He said he was taking a break from work with some prayer. I asked where. He brought me into the other room. Wow, it was a huge comfy room meant for group meditation. It was amazingly beautiful. He said that is where he goes and it’s only a year old. We then chatted for about 10 minutes as I asked him more questions about the guru that started this Ashram. He then left back for work.
I grabbed my iPad and a book I wanted to finish and headed over to the gift shop which is a place I had not been yet. Go figure, the cashier was the lady from yesterday that said finding myself was more important than knowing her life. The journalist in me was determined to get her story out of her. I got it! She told me that she was ready for the next step on spirituality when she moved here. She said there are about a dozen people that live/work full time on the grounds and it is much like a community. She told me that the guru that started this Ashram wanted it to be open to the public and not be strict. He wanted people to come to get away and hang out by the pool, and maybe they would end up inspired to do yoga or meditation etc. I wanted to know more, but a customer came in. I window shopped and picked out a few books and CDs I wanted to buy before I left.
Downstairs I cracked open the book I was reading yesterday and made myself comfy on a couch next to a fan. Across the room was the resident public computer. So different people were coming in and out. The girl who came in from Canada came in first. She told me she isn’t used to eating healthy and her eczema cleared up since being here. I let her know it is because she isn’t eating processed foods or animal proteins. I asked questions about the work study program she was doing. Then came in a guy who I noticed from my yoga class. He said he comes to the Ashram every year. He is a writer and whipped out his laptop as his current project was writing a textbook for teachers. I finished my book and started to walk around the grounds before dinner. I really want to check my text messages and emails…but I passed on the opportunity.
I went to dinner and the writer asked to sit with me, I agreed. We talked about his book and how he is going to pitch to the publisher. He gave me much knowledge for when my book is ready. He told me he gets more work done at the Ashram because he can focus better, get his meals and do his yoga. I can see why so many people love this place.
After dinner, I went back to the living area to study for school. The same lady who told me not to point my feet at the shrine walked in. She sat next to me and asked questions about my iPad. She started to talk about how the “powers that be” want us to get engulfed in technology. She was talking my language. I started asking questions and probing her knowledge. She said she studied the illuminated back in the 60′s and knows the end goal of the elite. I didn’t spit too much knowledge as I rather hear her speak. The old me would have already promoted www.Truthisscary.com by now. She ended up talking about the Ashrams guru and I went back into Barbera Walters mode. She told me the story of how she met him, how she joined the Ashram and what it was like back then. She spoke of how he wanted the Ashram to be open for anyone and how he didn’t judge. She spoke of how he died as a small child and woke up at the funeral. She spoke of his stroke in his 70′s and how he grew his beard for the last ten years of his life. She told the story of how he became an MD because he wanted to know how the body works. I could relate to that as that is why I started studying the body as well. She told many stories…too many to write. She quizzed me on my knowledge of health and I passed with flying colors. She said it would be awesome to have someone like me to have an effect on the kitchen as she felt there was too much soy products being made and not enough raw foods. The overall talk gave me a sense of the Ashram community from past to present.
After that long convo and barely any studying….I headed back to the dorm and took a shower and went upstairs to meditate in the new room I was shown earlier in the day. I brought my iPod so I can listen to some meditative music. My roommate was up there as well doing his nightly prayers. I returned to the dorm and he soon followed. We ended up in more deep convo. I asked him what guru or prophet he felt most connected to and he said it was Mohamed. He told me Mohamed was misunderstood by the masses and went on to explain himself. Soon after I began to tell him of my studies on the Sumerian tablets, the Annunaki, and the Pineal Gland. This talk lasted a long time. I retired for sleep later than expected…around midnight. I fell asleep to an audio teaching of Astral Projection that I have in my Ipod.
I woke up at 7.30am super tired. After my morning tea and fruit, I attended morning meditation. While meditating, I felt myself swaying back and forth…simulating how I feel when I sit on the swing under the tree. I knew i wasn’t on a swing…making for a weird experience. After meditating, I stuck around for some teachings. I learned more on the concept of “I AM” and the teacher spoke of the sunlight, the darkness, and and becoming immortal. On my way out, I noticed a bookcase in the living room area. I began to scan for a good book to read. I was drawn to this small book called “In My Soul I Am Free”. I read the back and it seemed interesting. What the heck was Eckankar? I borrowed the book and went back to the dorm.
My plan was to go jogging, have lunch, take a shower, then read the new book and or study for school. However, I felt so tired. I put my sleep mask on and laid down. I didn’t fall asleep, but got some quality rest. I got up after about 30 to 45 minutes later and started to read the book. It’s about Eck guru Paul Twitchell who started Eckankar in 1965 and was considered a prophet, healer, and soul traveler. The stories in the first chapter blew me away. Eckankar is an ancient science to the path of God. I grabbed the book, and headed to the dining hall to read more and eat. I will jog and shower later, this has caught my attention.
So much for jogging. After lunch I came to the computer center to read more of the book. All of a sudden the skies opened up. Because there are so many people here today for the Ramayana play being performed tonight, all the actors ran here which was the closest building to get dry. It’s kind of hard to read when you have so many folks making noise and walking by in costumes. Walking back to the dorm may not be a good idea because I have flip flops and an ipad in hand. On another note, this book is amazing and I am halfway done. Where is Mr. Twitchell to stop the rain when you need him? (inside joke between me…and the book?)
It got too hectic, I tucked my iPad under my shirt and ran back to my dorm and took a shower. I headed up to the living area to finish the book and ran into a lecture that Joan Duvall was giving. She is the Ashrams guru and founders oldest disciple. In her 80s she beamed knowledge. She spoke on how the guru changed her life and how the guru picked her to continue his work. She told amazing stories of the guru and his guru. She spoke of using meditation to escape the ego. She said that people that get angry and show it have never meditated at a high level before even if they think they have. She spoke of anger, jealousy etc being what happens when your ego gets rattled. A kid in the audience asked what he should do because his friends won’t listen or take him serious when he speaks of awareness. Her explanation was that you can’t teach to those that aren’t ready to learn. She said he had the “savior syndrome” which is when people have the need to save people and preach. I could identify with that for sure. I wanted to ask about what she knew about soul traveling, but we ran out of time. The thing I loved most was that her husband was there and towards the end he was tapping his watch to signal the time was up. It was very cool to see old folks still in love…and both spiritually advanced. Ok, I’m heading off to dinner. It is only drizzling now.
After dinner, I came back to the dorm to finish my book but that didn’t happen. I ran into my roommate and I started telling him about the book as I was excited about it. Soul traveling is so far out there of a subject it really isn’t to be discussed with anyone unless they are open minded and like minded. He claimed he never heard of it, yet was so open to hear about it. When I brought up tidbits that I learned and related it to the Bible or Quran he would reply, “That makes sense”. Of course the convo went forever. Lesson of the day from him…your code of ethics are first priority, and then your duties follow.
After the talk, I went to the performance hall for the Ramayana play. They worked so hard on it. The costumes were outstanding. And seeing the Indian children all dressed up was precious. I’m back at the dorm now about to read my book. I hope to sleep in tomorrow as I plan on doing a water fast.
I slept in till about 9.30am. My roommate was up getting ready for his day. We spoke about the concept of “I AM”, the ten commandments, and the overall goal of all religion. I headed over to the dinning hall to get some tea after my morning lessons. I grabbed my book of course. As I was getting tea, this gentleman was staring at the back of my book. He told me he knew of Eckankar, but didn’t know the details. I went outside and before I could open the book, another guy sat next to me and asked me if I finished my book yet. It was clearly a segway to finding out what it was and striking up convo. I found out he has been here since June as he comes with his wife every summer. He told me he has been to other Ashrams, but he likes this one because it is so loose. That seems to be a constant theme. I told him I was a health coach and wanted to talk raw foods and juicing and he loved the idea of some programs.
I then went to my bench under the trees to read. As I’m reading, another guy asked me what I was reading and what it’s about. What is the deal with the attraction of this book? I headed over to the work area to finish reading and use the Internet. Another guy I had met asked me if I was heading over to lunch, I told him I was fasting today. He saluted me and said he should do the same but he was too skinny and he didn’t have the willpower. I assured him he did and that it is simply maintenance of the body.
I finished my book on Paul Twitchell and still feel amazed from it. I even did some Google and Youtube research on him and his subject. Of course tons of negativity about his teachings etc. I could write for hours on it, but I will spare you that lecture. Afterwards, I went to the cosmic temple to meditate, but it didn’t go so well because of the headache I have from water fasting. Clearly there are toxins in me trying to get out and I need to do better with my eating habits. Although, I am not used to water fasting as I usually juice fast. I’m thinking I will break fast when the sun goes down. I have some raw flax chips and apples in my car.
After meditating for only 10 minutes or so, I switched my ipod to an audiobook I have of the teachings of Buddha. I stayed in the cosmic temple for a while listening. Even though I have listened before, I understood the teachings more now. I decided to walk around the Ashram while listening since it was a beautiful day.
Allow me to try and paint a picture for you… Walking out of the temple there was a young Indian man meditating. By the garden was an older man learning how to speak spanish while a woman was in the garden working. By the pool there were kids swimming with adults relaxing around it while one man played acoustic guitar. Not far from the pool was a motorhome. The dining hall was almost ready to serve vegan pizza with beet/cucumber salad while listening to the sounds of Bob Marley. People gathered right outside on the picnic tables talking in small groups. Kids played and some people danced to Bob. I grabbed a cup of tea and hung around listening to my headphones while people walking by. The deer pranced through the grounds eating grass and apples off the trees, just looking at the humans as we do the birds. By the dinning hall down the hill on the outside stage, a woman danced while my roommate was down there playing a bongo drum. People sat on the grass hill eating and enjoying while another woman did yoga. I walked back up towards the garden as another man sat on a bench drawing. I got to the garden and sat down on a lawn chair which had 2 large tree stumps as tables and switched my audio over to a Jim Rohn lecture. I was thirsty for knowledge today clearly. This is what the Ashram grounds looks like on a nice day. You get the sense of community and freedom.
This peacefulness got me reflecting on life. I thought about what it would be like to give up my radio show and other clutter that probably made me spread thin. I thought about my future and I thought about my past. How the heck did I end up at an Ashram? I came back to the dorm and showered. I’m going to pass on meditation tonight because of my headache.
My roommate invited me on the patio as he was doing maintenance on his dreads with raw shea butter. I asked him “Why do you think this world is so complicated?” he replied “It’s not to me anymore”. I told him more about soul traveling and my learnings. We talked about how Jesus and Muhammad both spoke of this technique in the Bible and Quran. And how about Jesus who spoke of finding the Kingdom of Heaven and it being within you? Or Jesus being in two places at once?
Later that night, I tried a technique I learned for soul traveling for the first time while laying in bed with my sleep mask on. No luck except I kept seeing a lightened dot around my Pineal and it slowly moved up and down. Later when I actually went to bed I felt something. My body became warm and tingly and I heard almost a crackling of frequencies in my left ear. Almost like radio static when you flip through stations the old fashion way. I woke up startled. My roommate was on his side of the room just getting ready for bed. I told him what I felt. He said, “ What you heard is called the unstruck sound”. He told me to be patient and go at my own pace. His advice calmed me down, I went back to sleep and definitely wasn’t trying no more techniques for the night. But what would have happened if I didn’t get scared and jolt up?
After waking up, I thanked the universe for another day and another year. I’m 33 years old today, and I am away from the constant reminder of it. I am going to starve my ego today and not look at my phone or email. No one here knows its my bornday nor will I tell anyone. All the texts, Tweets and Facebook posts are not important at this very time. I am confident that 33 will be my best age so far, as I am in the best shape of my life, starting a new career I really enjoy and am learning more about myself and my spirituality.
After my morning tea and fruit, I attended morning meditation. When I came back to the room, my roommate walked in. I asked about last night. He said he was getting ready for bed and I woke up dazed and started asking questions. He gave me some advice “It will happen when you are ready for it to happen”.
I’m sitting in my room contemplating going jogging or to yoga class at 11am. I yearn for jogging, but yoga is what I know I need to improve on. I should probably go to yoga and just hope it’s not too advanced.
Ok, the yoga was tough. My hope is that no one ever asks me to perform a bridge ever again in my life. LOL My muscles throb, yet my soul feels calm.
I finished my classes for school. It took longer than expected because of all the convos of people coming in and out. It’s great having spiritual people around to have a like minded convo. I got a chance to speak to the head gardener and expressed my interest in working under him in the future. He gave me the details and he admitted that his teachings would depend on my seriousness. The thoughts started racing through my head…I could come back and get an education in gardening and BD composting. Tell me that isn’t appealing?
I just got back to my room and there was a note on the door. My queen emailed the Ashram and they taped the printed email to my door. It read… “Hello, my boyfriend is a guest at your Ashram and has been unplugged by my request since Wednesday. I am wondering if it would be too much trouble to give him a message for me telling him that my son and I love him and wish him a happy birthday. It would mean so much to us and I’m sure him”. Wow. It doesn’t get more emotional than that. Love is an amazing thing. She is an amazing woman.
After my surprise, I walked down to the lake and sat on the boat deck and just did some reflecting on life. I went to dinner, then came back to dorm for my enlightening convo with roommate. At this point there is no sense and documenting what we talk about because the info is so diverse and profound and words do it no justice. I am inspired.
My last full day here. I was looking forward to a visit from a friend of mine who wanted to check out the Ashram. After breakfast I had some more great convo with the roommate. We spoke about the Bible, Sufi’s, Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, MLK, and Mosses. I told him about the ripple effect theory and used Dan McDonald as an example. He helped me and now I help others. I explained to him that his ripple effect will go through me as I’ve learned so much from him. I encouraged him to start a YouTube channel so he would have a platform. He giggled and smiled and waved it off. “I don’t think so” he said, “but if it’s meant to be then it will be…for now…you can take the ripple”.
After our convo, I went for a nice jog. When I came back I ran up the massive hill and was greated at the top by the deer. An amazing creature she is…she came about 10 feet from me as I threw her an apple from off the tree. I took a picture while she was so close.
I am contemplating making my first blog and breaking out the camera. I was thinking I can give a summary of my stay and let them know about this journal, as it will all be up on the Internet when they see the video. Instead I ended up talking to someone that works here about conducting a workshop on juicing and raw foods.
Once my friend got here I showed him every nook and cranny of the Ashram and we went to dinner. At dinner I seen my roommate getting food from afar. I joked “you got plenty of greens?” he said ” Oh yea, the ripple effect works both ways”. LOL I also ran into the Israeli man from earlier in the week and I gave him props for all the greens he had on his plate. He said he was listening with a smile. I’m glad my wisdom didn’t fall on deaf ears.
After dinner I sat out by the lake with my buddy just talking about the Ashram and soul traveling. He told me of a friend of his that had the skill. My mind was boggled by how much things made sense now. Once you have a grasp of soul traveling, go back and listen or read all the teachings of many Guru’s or Prophets.
Tomorrow is check out day. My roommate moved to the staff building. He is probably loving it because I talked his ear off every day. I realized something today. He never really spoke on anything I didn’t ask or bring up. It’s like he was a walking library and I had to take the books off the shelf. There was a reason I ended up rooming with this cat for 6 days.
I didn’t sleep well at all the night before. Maybe 2 or 3 hours? After tea and breakfast, I went back to the dorm to pack, took a shower and finally grabbed my camera to go cut a Vlog from the other side of the lake. I did it in one take and realized the mic was off!!! GRRRR, take 2. LOL
I reflected on my stay on the Ashram. I felt it was an amazing experience and would be even more amazing next time. I thought about the Paul Twitchell book and how it came about. How nice it was not having anyone wishing you the uncomfortable birthday wishes. How free it was with no one knowing I was on radio. I thought about the teachings and the community.
Time to leave. I wanted to say peace to my roommate, but I didn’t run into him. I decided to write a note for him and left it in the housekeeping mailbox. It read…”Nashid, keep letting your life be the message. The ripple effect is powerful”. That said, I pulled out of the Ashram banging Led Zeppelin’s song “The Light”, and back to society I went…
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