When Awakin Circle Hosts Swap Stories :)
Last week, Sheetal and Sachi had initiated a beautiful call for a few Awakin Circle hosts. Below are the notes from the call, and given the beautiful inspiration, we now intend to host these calls regularly.
As about 12 of us from different parts of the country gathered in front of our computer screens for a conference call excited to see each other, share and listen to stories from various Awakin circle’s around India, Sachi opened the call with a wonderful reading – ‘ We are the one’s we have been waiting for.’ – By The Hopi Elder’s.
Raghu bhai opened the round of sharing with a story of deep friendship and kinship with Dr. Arun, a healer, naturopath who came from a humble middle class family and soon became such an integral part of their Sangha. How his untimely death brought so many people forward to speak about his goodness and he wished that the energy his death brought forward in people had been present when he was alive instead. It would have probably helped Arun much more. Raghu bhai felt that we should be much closer to each other as a Sangha and look for ways to complement each other. We should look beyond what a person is saying, pay good attention and gauge his personality in order to truly complement and meet that person where they are if we are committing to a Sangha.
Bhuvana shared how the line from the passage,’ we need to take ourselves less personally.’ Resonated with her as she felt that she took herself too seriously even when really not needed. When she watched shows on television on national geographic for instance she realized that we are not the only creatures on earth but are just one of them. She felt glad that this call had materialized and this sharing made her feel a part of something larger and not alone.
Shalini shared how she too sometimes took herself very seriously and would question herself if she felt that she had cooked too simple food or if she had to put Simran to bed during the awakins. She felt that was she really doing her best? But even when one person shared how the space offered in Awakin’s had shifted their lives or had brought them peace, she felt validated that it was the space by itself that took care of everyone. Whenever Deven and Shalini travelled, one uncle and aunty who attended awakins regularly at their place would offer to host the gathering in their home instead. This couple’s son initially was least interested in the awakin and would go sit in another room during this period. However, as Deven , Shalini and Simu moved base to Goa recently this couple continued awakin’s at their place (without the food offering) and now infact their son also joins them and takes charge of hosting and reading the passage etc. Everything done with the right spirit is what matters at the end.
Jignasha shared how hosting Awakin’s for her in Baroda was challenging initially and how she would go blank sometimes and wonder what to do. Whenever she visited Mumbai however and attended the same awakins at Sachi’s she would feel very rejuvenated and energized as a participant. She realized how she could be fully present for others and decided to bring this same presence for the Sangha back home in Baroda. An intention of being present and holding space for others is what she carries and is now enjoying attending Awakin’s in every other city as well by offering her inner space and complete presence as an offering to the gathering’s.
Mayuree shared how she was very grateful for being a part of a larger Sangha and recognizing how much meaning it added to their lives.
Leslie spoke of how he had attended various forms and practices of meditation in different groups and had found them to be exclusive, whereas what the world needs today are open spaces where people can go unconditionally and Awakin’s do give people that space. He felt grateful to all who had opened their homes for others.
Meghna resonated with Raghu’s sharing of a sangha as she went down memory lane back to 12 years ago at her first awakin in santa clara. She only witnessed magic week after week and how 6 years of being an awakin host has brought about so much inner tranformation for herself. She shared how it was pouring very heavily last wed and water logging took place everywhere. Usually the Awakin regulars show up beforehand and help her host the evening though that day nobody had landed up till 6.59pm. She was worried about putting Reva to sleep as well as hosting the awakin circle and how she would manage. Suddenly Reva tells her,” Mama don’t worry, lets both of us sit in silence.” Meghna was stunned at that sentence and suddenly realization dawned on her that this was also a possibility and her 4 year old showed her the way. Nevertheless 6 people did show up inspite of the torrential rain and the awakin went off just as it always had.
Neeti shared how her journey with Awakin’s had been so wonderful in the last 2 ½ years of hosting it every Tuesday in her home in Nigdi. She had never done a vipassana and yet just started hosting because she felt it was her hearts calling. She remembered an Awakin when Nipun bhai and Audrey were visiting her place. An elderly woman who attends awakins at her place was sharing how during her younger days when she was working in Mumbai, there was a complete blackout in the city as china had declared war. She had to walk home from work and with severe difficulty she undertook that journey. While walking she felt an unknown presence guide her and walk with her. When she reached her home finally she turnd around to thank the person and saw nobody. She however was sure that God himself had helped her reach home that day. She carried a lot of resentment towards the chinese for this war, however that day as Audrey who is of Chinese origin served her food after the awakin, something broke down within her and she felt all resentment and pain leaving her. She had forgiven China after all these years.
Swara shared how she sometimes held herself too tightly and would like to relax and let go. She found it a little difficult being an awakin host and trying to balance the energy of the various people who attended the circle’s. Challenges on how to engage with certain people etc. She also shared how they recently did an internship for a youth group and by design it was so wonderful that magic took place. She felt that awakin’s too by design brought so much transformation and how every week she looked forward to them nevertheless.
Nisha spoke of taking ourselves less seriously and when we don’t understand everything, it is best to let go. For her, she found a new sense of meaning and depth to Awakin’s ever since she started translating the passages into the local language for the people attending the circle’s so that everyone understood and participated. She now looks for older passages which can be translated with proper depth and essence for others and this has become an engaging activity post awakin’s for them. She mentioned how it was nice to cultivate equanimity during meditation and then lead that equanimity into action like smile card’s stuffing at santa clara awakins or food distribution at Pune Awakin’s.
Trupti shared how when Jiggy started the awakin’s in their home in Baroda, she was so against it and would walk off. Slowly she started welcoming it into her life and now that she has been in Mumbai over the last few month’s and was not able to attend awakin’s due to the distances she decided to just sit every Wednesday wherever she was and connect with the collective energy of the Awakin’s. She felt very grateful to the Sangha.
Shashi shared how every awakin circle has changed him and brought so much transformation to his life. During a circle in Bangalore, the host Hiren bhai started sharing and crying in a room full of strangers how he felt he brought negativity into his home. How the space created in an awakin opens up people and their vulnerabilities. It has also helped him to look at himself objectively and the power of community has helped him grow.
Sachi shared how grateful she is to Dinesh uncle and Harshida aunty who have taught her so much through their being. She also felt grateful to Mayuree and Leslie for hosting awakin’s and being a solid support whenever she is not in town. She spoke of how her high expectations from herself sometimes create challenges for her as when she thinks of awakin’s at Santa Clara and tries to match up to that level, she is sometimes hard on herself. She is looking forward to her Mom meeting Harshida Aunty and Dinesh Uncle when they visit as it would definitely help the awakin energy to be taken forward.
Sheetal shared how he is addicted to Awakin’s and every Wednesday at 7pm, no matter in which part of the world he is, he has to sit in silence. He spoke of how he loves to host awakin’s and when travelling even more so as it gives him an opportunity to share it with so many hosts in different homes. It doesn’t matter who is sharing the silence with him, it could be a dog, a bird, a being, anyone. Its just the commitment to that sit which he has cultivated over the last ten years that inspires him to go on. He shared the story of a saint he met in Udaipur who spoke of ATITIHI DEVO BHAVA. Service is not about running here and there trying to do something, instead sit in your house and do your sadhana sincerely and treat all those who come to your door as God. The Awakin’s have given him an opportunity to do so all the more as every Wednesday, you never know who shows up at the door and gives you an opportunity to serve.
[If you'd like to join the next call, in July, RSVP here.]