A bhandara creates the environment for feelings of gratitude, love and wonder and also the urgent impulse to evolve. It is a rejuvenating jolt to boost our growth. The first ever birthday celebration of our beloved Shri Kamlesh Patel accentuated all of these very significantly. Abhyasis from every part of the continent gathered in large and small groups to celebrate. Some highlights of the gatherings are recorded below.
In Birch Bay, Washington, as well as in centers across the country, we all got a glimpse of how Heartfulness workshops are shaping up in various centers as coordinators from Seattle, Vancouver and neighboring centers shared their experiences in reaching out to their local communities and corporations. We also had the wonderful opportunity to experience first-hand a heartfulness guided relaxation/meditation session, where we meditated with and without transmission, as a new seeker would do. I was amazed at the stark difference between each of the meditations, convincing me beyond a doubt that experience can achieve more than words when approaching new seekers.
Older children attended a Heartfulness session of their own, where they practiced the relaxation technique, and then were encouraged to share this process with their parents. After the session the general feedback from the children was that they felt ‘de-stressed’ and more energetic.
The Orlando Center hosted a full day program of Heartfulness sessions and meditation for forty-three participants on September 27th and 28th. We were delighted to welcome all Heartfulness aspirants as well as long time abhyasis along with newly formed Heartfulness abhyasi groups of Orlando, Oxford and University of Central Florida. Groups that had never before met instantly connected with each other in a very natural way.
A brother from the Oxford Center gave an excellent talk about his personal growth in this practice. He encouraged all participants to list the main factors that motivate us towards regular meditation as well as those obstacles that discourage us from doing our practice. For each negative trait brought up by participants, we watched an appropriate Heartfulness video addressing the issue. For example common problems like time management, difficulty in perceiving light in the heart, or thoughts during meditation were all addressed beautifully via the videos.
It was very inspiring to hear new Heartfulness aspirants voluntarily share their personal experiences about how they found renewed energy and enthusiasm within, after starting the practice of Heartfulness meditation, and how they were inspired by other experienced Heartfulness meditators in the group.
Technology today has made the world a smaller place and we were all happy to be able to connect electronically to see and hear Kamleshji on his birthday.
At the Molena Ashram on Sunday there was also a short workshop on the topic of ‘Égrégore’. Also, careful study of ‘Ways and Means’ and ‘Realization’, chapters from Reality at Dawn, as preparation for participation in the gathering, inspired conversations during meals and at other informal moments. Additionally, a wonderful article from Kamlesh bhai, ‘The Yielding Heart’, covered valuable lessons about not holding on to hurt in our hearts, and the importance of opening our hearts to what we receive. It struck a chord deep within, and it seemed like our collective hearts resonated with its meaning.
At the Sunderland Ashram the audio of two chapters from Reality at Dawn, ‘Ways and Means’ and ‘Realization’ was played while the words were simultaneously presented on the screen for fifteen minutes before each satsangh. By the end of the gathering, we had seen and heard both chapters in their entirety. The abhyasis shared an enriching experience of seeing it on screen as it was being read. All seemed to grasp it more as it was followed by satsangh.
One highlight of the program was a panel discussion in which four abhyasis shared stories of their initial contact with Kamlesh bhai and gave us all a rare glimpse of him, which motivated us to move towards our goal with renewed determination.
It was suggested by a brother, that a team be formed to organize and conduct Heartfulness programs in New England.
From Winchester, VA, a small center far from others, three abhyasis express their gratitude:
“Due to a three or four hour drive back and forth from Winchester to our D.C. Center, our local center celebrated together within our Master’s heart and yet separated via distance.” (Petra)
“Every week, I sit with sister Petra and the abhyasis of our Winchester Center. Since moving to Leesburg, about an hour away, I’ve had to miss some individual sittings, group sittings, and events like the birthday of Kamlesh bhai this past Monday. Thanks to long distance sittings, I’ve been able to connect spiritually and feel the divine light in the heart, both from our Winchester Center and my home.” (Kelsey)
“I was very fortunate to be able to celebrate Kamleshji’s birthday at my center in Winchester. We met for satsangh at 6:15 a.m. before work and again at 6:30 in the evening. We also had a lovely meal after our evening satsangh. It was a very special day.” (Mary)