Moved By Love Retreat March 2015

Posted by Khushmita Sanghvi on Mar 19, 2015


"A flock of geese fly together in a particular formation usually, where each of them has two geese behind them flapping their wings in unison. As each bird flaps its wings, it creates an uplift for the bird immediately following. By flying in V formation the whole flock adds at least 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew on its own. When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to go it alone and quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird in front. When the Head Goose gets tired, it rotates back in the wing and another goose flies point. A particular trait noticed in them is that if one of them gets injured or wounded during the flight, he leaves the flock and goes down to the ground to recover. Two geese also follow him to make sure he is fine and stay with the injured goose until he is strong enough to fly again or until he breathes his last, after which they again join the flock and fly."
People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going more quickly and easily because they are traveling on the thrust of one another.

With this beautiful story shared by Shaalini, we opened the March 2015 Moved by love retreat at ESI. As 35 of us sat together in a sacred opening circle, the seed question of "what is our highest value that we honor or wish to honor in our lives." got each one of us thinking and many heartfelt stories were shared by each participant.

Sister Asha spoke of selflessness and how she decided to make one girl smile everyday, while Shweta shared how she wishes to find happiness and joy within herself at all times. Aditi shared how a rickshaw ride changed her perception towards the power of prayer and instilled deep faith within her, whereas Anil spoke of the power of truth " to thy own self, be true." Vipul spoke of how earlier he valued only clarity but later he realised that clarity without compassion is a knife that cuts through everything. He now tries to balance both clarity and compassion. Rish shared how the quote "Be Kind. Everyone around you is fighting a hard battle" inspired him to be more compassionate.
Ritika had tears of joy when she realized that the universe had guided her to ESI, Sughad for a retreat just when she was really thinking deeply about sanitation solutions for tribal women she was working with near Mumbai. Mona shared how we could feel the oneness when we remove the conditioning that divides us. Meghna shared how every moment is an opportunity to practice love and Monica shared how she practices non-violence in Karma, Dharma and Vachan - as she was growing up, if she happened to step on an ant, her mother would say "You just killed someone's mom or dad." Many such beautiful sharings set the intention for what turned out to be a magical three days as we all put our values above people and even above ourselves.​

As our values became our roots, and love became the manifestation of those values, the presentations contained stories of various ecosystems, individuals and pilgrims purifying themselves through Satsangs, seva and Sadhana and even the young children who seem to be playing outside during the retreat, but are definitely soaking and learning from the environment they are in as was apparent from the various stories we heard.

An energetic and insightful 'Improv' session with Rish and Sima, broke the ice and got us all bonding together which further turned into a beautiful celebration at Seva cafe with some wonderful spirited sharings by Harish, Ritika and Ani didi alongwith soulful music offerings by Nimo, Bhumika, Sahil and Vipul. Harish from compassionate clowns shared how his 'turnover in love' keeps increasing while Ritika spoke of how she does not want to 'speak to impress but would rather speak to bless'. Ani didi spoke with love and compassion of her wonderful journey to Manav Sadhna and how it changed her life.

The second day of hands too had us all in different groups heading to villages, schools or ashrams to serve. As each person had their own unique experience with seva, whether it was cooking at the Kabir Ashram or clowning and singing with the kids at Sughad school. In the evening as we gathered back, some beautiful reflections were shared by a few of us. Dipankar shared how as he held a small child in his arms in the village, he went through a wave of emotions and felt like a mother in that moment. He was filled with compassion and love for all of life and with tears he called up his wife to thank her for all the support she offers him in his life. Catherine shared how when she came to Ahmedabad last year and cleaned the streets, she found it filthy and thought she was cleaning garbage, whereas this time she felt a shift as she picked up litter at The Kabir ashram. She felt a deep connect with mother earth and felt that she was purifying the earth, nourishing it and allowing mother earth to breathe as she collected the layers above the ground.

Through hands, we serve..
Through service, we love..
Through love, we create a more beautiful world..

We had the blessing of meeting 93 year old Dwarko Sundarani ji (one of the last living disciples of Gandhiji and Vinoba) during the retreat as he swept us all of our feet with his wisdom, grace and presence. He spoke of Samuhik chitta Shuddhi (Collectively raising/purifying our consciousness), Satyam (truth) Sanyam (patience) seva (service) as tools on the journey and stressed on the importance of "Maata Sadi" (the century of honouring and cultivating the qualities of a mother with love and compassion within each one of us). Arun Dada, a loved and respected elder and disciple of Vinoba too shared his poetry, songs of wisdom with us and blessed us all with his presence full of love.

As we reflected on the blessings of having such compassionate beings amidst us and the grace we received, we bowed down in humility and surrender to the universe following the sacred pilgrimage of three steps and a bow with a simple message from Rev. Heng Sure " Forget the harvest, As much as you seek, thats how much you will be obstructed. Don't seek enlightenment, just Bow." Mukesh bhai, who never fails to be with us in almost every retreat and brings so much stillness and calm amongst us with just his presence and years of inner cultivation through silence and meditation led the way for us as we bowed to the universe.

Each of us carried within ourselves reverence and tears at what had unfolded before us and within us and prayers and blessings flowed through all with a simple message from Jayesh bhai as he said that a collective should honour its values above everything else. A true Sangath (collective of conscious souls) is formed by expansiveness of the heart and inclusion of all.

Love all, Serve all.

Jai Jagat (Victory to the world)

 

Posted by Khushmita Sanghvi on Mar 19, 2015 | permalink


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  • Purvi wrote ...

    Truly grateful for what magic this space and collectiveness creates every time.

    Thank you every one for holding this space and making it so beautiful. Special thanks to Jayeshbhai, Mukeshbhai, Khushmita and Shalini for pouring all their spirit in this retreat.

    Deep Gratitude & Love
    Purvi

  • Nipun wrote ...

    So wonderful to see all the photos and smiles, and to know that Dwarkoji joined as well. (And is that white hair I see on Mukeshanand head? :))

  • Audrey wrote ...

    So beautiful to read and see this. :) Thank you so much for sharing, Khush! These photos and stories are like a breath of fresh air-- and they inspire me to keep tapping into in these values in small, daily ways, in our own little corners of the world. :)

  • birju wrote ...

    i am grateful to read these vignettes! look forward to learning more of the ripples :)

  • Rushabh Gandhi wrote ...

    I always feel a lot of gratitude for all the energy and efforts put in by everyone on the backhand who make it possible for us to be with ourselves without worrying about anything else!
    Beautiful story by Shalini ji. Thank you! :)

  • Sima wrote ...

    Lots of love and gratitude for the beautiful space created at this retreat. There were so many blessings, noble intentions and love poured into every activity, every interaction and every space of being - and it was deeply felt every moment. Hugs, smiles and bows of gratitude to all! :)

  • Prachi wrote ...

    What a beauty to be able to share in the reflections and the pictures. I am grateful for MBL and the extended community every day. Thank you for posting.

  • Prarthana wrote ...

    words speak emotions and eyes experiences... wonders on head, hand and heart!
    when head exhausts and aimless hands surrounds, its in the heart that the truth is found. Thank you one, thank you all.

  • Catherine Peyreaud wrote ...

    Gifted by the Divine I had the opportunity to attend theMBL retreat. I came back to France overwhelmed of inner joy, my heart smiling wide opened, my body dancing fulfilled of energy, my soul nourished by so beautiful and inspiring persons and with a clear question of what could be my next and concrete step. what shall I do with such a gift, how can I share it, spread it.. my brain is still full of ideas, full of opportunities to bring love here, so close to me can also be done. no need to go f  See full.

    Gifted by the Divine I had the opportunity to attend theMBL retreat. I came back to France overwhelmed of inner joy, my heart smiling wide opened, my body dancing fulfilled of energy, my soul nourished by so beautiful and inspiring persons and with a clear question of what could be my next and concrete step. what shall I do with such a gift, how can I share it, spread it.. my brain is still full of ideas, full of opportunities to bring love here, so close to me can also be done. no need to go far away to see that needs are every where. Even 2, 3 hours meditation to cool down by brain were not sufficient to decide which first step will be ... the only thing I can say right now is, from the deepest of my heart, MERCI, Gratitude and my Love to all of this beautiful community, to all the volunteers, to Jayesh Bai, our inspirer, to Mukeshbi. i'll be back, for sure. In the meantime, I will have the great honor and such a joy to welcome in Grasse (France) Madhu, Sheetal, Audrey, Any, and Mukesh at the end of April. can't wait to continue the journey!!!!!!!!!

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  • Patjos wrote ...

    The Goose and the Shepherd We set off from the reed beds and marshes north of the Great Lakes and spent half the day just gaining height and waiting for the right wind. We easily covered four hundred miles that day and what with the climbing and circling it was by far the longest flight that I’d ever taken. When we were settled that evening in a vast meadow, I looked around for my brother who was just that little bit younger than me, but I never saw him. I went over to ask Mum but she qui  See full.

    The Goose and the Shepherd

    We set off from the reed beds and marshes north of the Great Lakes and spent half the day just gaining height and waiting for the right wind. We easily covered four hundred miles that day and what with the climbing and circling it was by far the longest flight that I’d ever taken.

    When we were settled that evening in a vast meadow, I looked around for my brother who was just that little bit younger than me, but I never saw him. I went over to ask Mum but she quietly turned away, just as Dad stepped in to tell me that my wee brother never made it over the lakes. By the look in his eyes I could tell he thought we’d never see the little one again. Even so, we rested and fed and I listened to talk about the journey ahead, snow covered mountains for hundreds of miles ahead and never a place to rest till we should cross them. With that and thoughts of my brother I was already feeling more than a little anxious. Mum made sure that I ate well and often led me towards some small insect nests and told me not to worry.

    We set off again after a few days. It was still the middle of autumn and although we had far to go I remembered what Dad had told me before we set off, that with each day we’d be leaving the oncoming winter further behind us. At first I flew well and I could feel the strength in my body, the power in my wings. I always managed to stay close to mum or dad just as they’d shown me when they first taught me to fly. But then I lost sight of them as we rose over a storm below. Then not only did my strength begin to fail but my good hopes and courage too. I slipped farther and farther back down the line and eventually settled in with a much slower flight of about twenty slightly smaller geese. This was a pace that I thought better suited to me but then on looking round I saw that there were no longer twenty but only four of us. I couldn’t bear to think what had happened to the others. My heart sank. Far in the distance, far over to the west flew a thick black line. I knew that there went Mum and Dad, and with them my hope.

    That evening I rested on a hillside where the trees gave way to a spread of open grassland. There wasn’t much to eat as I had to share my meal with the many sheep which flocked there. How could I go on now I wondered? Just the four of us, how would we ever manage that distance on our own? Did we even know the way? Then came the Shepherd, quietly lulling a tune, gently trodding the grass, watching his sheep, then gathering them for the night into a nearby stone pen. He was some sort of company and my heart lifted a little as I watched him light his fire and brew his tea. When the night came down I looked around for the others but they were nowhere to be seen. I shuffled as near the shepherd as I dared, just for companionship. I slept as well as I could and in the morning he was still there, opening the gate of the pen to let his sheep out to graze. I didn’t wander far and in the evening he returned lulling his tune and setting his fire.

    “Little goose, little goose,” I heard him say, “You seem to be lost little goose.” I listened and he went on. “I know that you understand my speech, I have a way with words, you know. You see it’s like this, little goose, you’re sad and lonely and wondering what to do. Oh, I know, we’ve all been that way at one time or another, I recognised the look. You’re probably wondering where you went wrong. Where are the others? Why does the journey have to be so long, so difficult? And your heart is sad because you are missing your loved ones, sorrowful because you think of the ones who never made it, that maybe you’re going the same way. Well, little goose, I’ll tell you a story.” Then he opened up his backpack, tore up some bread and threw it down for me. I settled down to listen while he brewed up his tea.

    “Long long ago, you see, the people couldn’t fly at all. Wait a minute! Did I hear you say that they don’t have any wings? Oh, not on the outside they don’t, they’re on the inside, hidden away you see, better protected there. Anyway, the great father of all geese and people, well he told them a story that taught them to fly, to fly on the wings of love. Does it sound silly, to fly on the wings of love? Surely you know yourself that when you were wrapped in the wings of your own Dad you felt that anything was possible?” I chewed my crust and said nothing.

    “Anyway, he told them a story that taught them to fly and then by and by, a little at a time, some began to listen, just a few here and there. Then they began their long journey home and like yours that journey is difficult, sometimes fearful and often full of sorrow. And then for hundreds and hundreds of years they taught one another. Sometimes the others listened and learned to fly too. Sometimes others laughed at them and said we know better. But those who listened learned to fly and so passed the story on to others who were also ready to listen.

    Sometimes this one or that one would take the lead and the others would form a great V-shape behind them and they would fly on for many years like this. And although many never did complete the journey, still they played their part and without them the flock would not have got this far. Sometimes one near the back would think he should be the leader, only to find that when he got to the front he didn’t know the way after all. Than back he would go to hide himself among the flock. But mostly the one in the lead found himself, or herself there quite by accident. Then they would often wish that they were further back in the flock. But of course that’s not the way it works, you don’t get to choose the part you have to play, not when you’re trusting in love. The ones who were the best leaders were the ones who knew to put their trust in the wind, to soar high above the storms, and remember the sound directions given to them by their fathers who had gone that way before them.
    And so they turned the story into poems and songs, paintings and books and put them up as signposts for those who were to follow. And the people learned to read them and even watch out for them. They sung, not only of the joy of reaching the land once again, but of the sorrows and sufferings and why these were so very important in learning to fly well. Yet even nowadays they haven’t reached their destination, they still fly on in hope, ever more realising the importance of the flock, the importance of sharing the burden. Setting aside differences, so that they can come together as one in the same love that has carried them this far. Helping one another let go of the earth and all that keeps them tied to the ground, so that they become free to fly away.”
    And then it was morning. Had I slept? I still don’t know. The shepherd smiled and looked up at the sky and beckoned with his crook. “Go little goose,“ He said, “Go. Go tell them.” My eyes followed the direction that he pointed and there I saw the most wondrous sight I’ve ever seen. Ten thousand geese flying out of the east, and every voice I heard seemed to be calling out to me. My heart leaped and raced and I was on my feet and into the air.

    I flew round and around the hillside, honking wildly as passed over the shepherd, gaining height and soon I was amidst the flock once more. My joy was full and I felt like a king when I saw that it was my own little brother right there in front of me. Together we flew on and on and on.

    And that’s the story. That’s the story I tell to the young as they wait for their flight feathers to grow. A story, not of me, not of a shepherd, but the story that we all share.

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