Gandhi 3.0: The Good in Me Bows to the Good in You
Sixty path creators from across the world responded to a compelling invitation to spend 4 days around Gandhi's 66th death anniversary and explore modern manifestations of Gandhian values. We called it Gandhi 3.0. From politicians to businessmen, spiritual cultivators to social entrepreneurs, the diversity of the gathering was held with nothing but ties of noble kinship or 'Maitri'.
The intention was set in the opening circle, with beautiful reflections of Vinoba Bhave: "When we will all see our role in society as servants, we will all light up the sky together like countless stars on a dark night. Don’t think of society as the sky on a full moon night. The moon's harsh light blinds us to the true and humble work of the stars. But on a moonless night, the true servants shine forth, as though they are connected invisibly in this vast and infinite cosmos."
The intention, was to tune our eyes to see the true and humble work, the divinity in each and every one of us. And that happens only when we create a field of 'Maitri' around us. Often, this field takes on a more tangible, palpable form, and on Day 3, it was visible for all, when Prasad (a renowned author and corporate mentor) held the mic and shared how he's been making the shift from an Expert Mind to A Beginners Mind. It was the unconditional care he received through meals specially prepared for him, gifts that came his way just when he needed them in a manner that he felt even his family would not match, that helped his process of emptying. It was an ocean of love, as he said, that nourished him from within and breathed life into words of love that otherwise would have been platitudes. On the last day, Ritu came up to us and shared a letter she had received from Harsh, a volunteer at the gathering. 2 days ago, Harsh had heard that Ritu hadn't brought along any warm clothes. Promptly, he offered her his shawl which she was grateful to receive. Towards the end of the gathering she was preparing to hand it back to him, but instead received a letter from him. In it, he shared how his mother had gifted him this shawl, and as a child he would wrap himself within it to feel warm and secure. All through the years, all it took was the shawl to keep him warm, irrespective of the weather outside. In the past when he would lend the shawl to friends, he would ensure he received it back from them, but this time, he was moved to do otherwise. He now saw the shawl as an attachment, and wanted Ritu, to accept his gift. It was a gift that went beyond rationality, a gift that could be of little value to Ritu once she went back home - but when we acknowledge the roots of Maitri that fueled it, we realize it had the power to spark revolutions in our hearts.
From washing each others dishes, to gifting beautifully crafted offerings to one another, to listening deeply to what was shared - there was a flow of gifts offered to each other in the smallest and subtlest ways. When we hold space in this way without short term agendas, its difficult to capture the essence of what transpired. We thought the best way to share the beauty of what we witnessed through a few snapshots. All through the retreat, I was practicing deep listening and here were a few phrases from all of you that moved me:
|The good in me bows down to the good in all of you.
We share to become empty
We have borrowed our future from our grand children.
I came to say yes to both Gandhi and Buddha whose whole life was a work of 'Maitri'.
When you don't know you are open to infinite possibilities .
'Be' like a still tree - In stillness we give and receive.
To really listen to others, we must first learn to listen to ourselves.
The head is always looking towards the sky, but the feet are what ground me.
Gandhi didn't focus on Results, rather he focused on Relations.
Become a master of yourself, not of the world
The world is not made better by trying to change it. It is made better when we become instruments and allow change to take place through us.
Your job is not to drag the world, kicking and screaming into a new awareness
Your job is to do your work..Secretly, silently, sacredly ... and those with eyes to see and ears to hear will respond
You're the blessings that exist, the small things that are bliss, the gift to realize that everything is a gift
All wisdom traditions come from the good, the true, the beautiful
I am you noble friend and I will stand by you for the rest of my life
Can we be like this beautiful rangoli, where each flower adds it fragrance
Can we be a mirror to someone else's light
Can we hold space like midwives for what is emerging whether it is painful or joyful
I came here for all those who didn't come here, and wish to take this light back to them
A chirping bird brought me here and I feel so held in your light and warm embrace
Buddha says 'Be an island, be a refuge. Go down, touch the land, be here.'
Every heart can change and it will open, just give it time
We have been cut off from the earth and the spirit will take time to heal and reconnect
Now I say yes first and let the mind follow later. I pray that all statuses, boundaries, divisions disappear and pure commitment takes place
I sit here with an open heart and commit to put in everything I can into this circle
Mela dilon ka aata hai. This is a carnival of hearts, so much to learn
I want to walk with the new generation which is exploring non-violence. Josh ke saath hosh bhi hona chahiye
When a raindrop joins the ocean, is it lost or is it found?
I have proof that the seed we are planting is bearing fruit
Everything around you is your teacher
I just want to serve the elders and allow them to connect, to see the beauty that emerges
Madhu opened our gathering with this touching video:
And together, we built the story as Ellie incredibly managed to capture all the micro-moments of love from our 4 days together:
Shaily captured lots of photos that speaks volumes about the invisible bond that connects each one of us so deeply:
Thank you simply doesn't suffice to express that gratitude that all of us feel for each other. The only way to honor receiving such gifts is to attempt to pay it forward -- and I promise to do so.