Holding the Centre, holding the Self : A Prayer for Presence

A few weeks ago, a 16-year-old boy was lynched by a mob in a train in North India.He was coming home to celebrate Eid with his family. While my Pakistani friend and I were sharing our grief at the tragic dousing of more than a hundred people in the oil-tanker episode, another close friend in the UK  battling her personal health issues shared her online request for sponsoring baby clothes for a homeless Romanian woman selling magazines in the streets of Liverpool.

Our lives are so full.In a moment, there are multiple moments of hate, prejudice and charity.There is bleakness and uncertainty over political leaderships, there is flag-waving nationalism on the one side and there are xenophobic rages to wipe out the ‘other’ on the second.

We are in the crisis of choosing, holding and living.Adapting the meaning of life to mental, physical, political seismic currents; holding is the toughest exercise in disaster but utmost for survival.

I am shaken, saddened and petrified on a daily basis.Yet, as a Mindfulness practitioner I draw an image of circle around myself and ask: What does this current time of killing, chaos and bloodshed mean to me.How do I see out of the circle when enough darkness and madness envelops my entire being.How  do I to tend to parts and pieces with trembling hands and not let the house, the planet, the country, the body, the voice, the skin, the friendships, the shakiness fall into the jams of crushing voices, noises, words and newsmongering.

The news media is filled with venom, the social media is replete with fear and abuse.

The times are challenging.I see many of my friends – protesting, posting, reaching Social  Media, joining people in the streets, holding placards and some  sitting confounded at their homes, some working in front of their computer screens- discussing how this is just not the way, asking relevant questions-how can this be averted,echoing-how can we do better at where we are now, feeling this  collective social distrust, fully within themselves and others.

The media is at war, the perceptions are unapologetically unleashed.There are questions and there are interminable tales of anger, anguish and skepticism.Everyone is hurt, the injuries are valid. It appears, no more criminal to serve hatred and vainglorious war of words.Crime is played,used, made a selective tool to  feast on some unquenchable thirst of human grandiosity, a historical crime we should know by now- how it serves none and destroys all.

Gathering ourselves like scattered pages from albums: the one who questions, the one who answers and the one who watches with eyes huddled , our hands crossed in fear, doubt and grief, we experience the depths of our sadness, no matter what opinion we hold and  where we are in the world right now.

The hub of our  presence is -harsh, shaky and glum.We appear deeply terrorized by humans,by each other.Measuring whatever we have, let’s- hold our hands, our hearts and  invite our minds to preserve ourselves and offer our presence as a gift to ourselves, a gift that can be automatically shared by its beauty that has no agenda except compassionate flowering.

To cultivate our presence,to tap into our inner capacities,we can allow ourselves to  be open to a minute of STOP-a calm moment ,a token to  just be with our breath and hold our heart to affirm-I am okay to be with myself in all that I am in,I am okay to be with others if needed to be and be a vehicle of support if necessary to be but foremost I am okay to be with my presence.

We can assure ourselves of our presence.May I hold my peace.May I hold my trust in myself if not in anyone else in the moments of deep internal and external war.May I nourish myself to be fully alive, awakened and healthy to do all that I wish to in these moments of strife.

Here is my Breathing prayer for us all:

Breathing in,I am peaceful.

Breathing out,I am centred.

Breathing in, I recognize my deep pain and anguish.

Breathing out,I offer myself care and support.

Breathing in,I read uncertainty and chaos.

Breathing out,I offer deep compassion to all of us.

Breathing in,I see the world in pain.

Breathing out, I offer to be mindful and giving.

Breathing in-I touch,hear,see and smell my pain.

Breathing out,I tap into my heart and offer moments of joy.

Breathing in,I am fully present for myself.

Breathing out,I am fully present for you.

Breathing in,I am fully present for myself.

Breathing out,I am fully present for you.

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Fifi,our companion pigeon perched on a tree in Genjpauram village, I have been volunteering and teaching for six years.It was a delight to sit back and watch Fifi explore the branches,the ruggedness,the hopping and yet keep her mind focussed on my voice crying in happiness, guidance and affection.Fifi is blind,she is  an inspiration to feel,see, hear and believe.We may not have the capacity to define darkness but we have the capacities to explore, accept and live in it differently.Thank you, Fifi, for holding us in the murkier times and more so holding yourself through everything to be our support.

 

Mindful Kids Workshop:Lessons for Adults

I have learnt many qualities from children while conducting sessions. I have noticed over the years that while adults unknowingly want to impress and easily feel alienated if they don’t connect or if their acquired layers of intellect are not accorded space in the groups, there is an unseen reactivity worth noticing in our pride, presence and heart ; whereas children usually with their rawness, their honesty of presence and openness of hearts easily sail through such difficulties where it takes grown-ups years to  find the shore.

How ironic that we often label certain behaviours childish and grant ourselves permission to be wise, mature and above kids, whereas we know how our very tantrums and machinations make our life equally difficult as those of others surrounding us.

It is a beauty to know nothing and remain open to what comes our way, children don’t have to struggle with this ground, whereas we appear like we are stuck in the sand when we profess something and walk something.

There are many lessons in behaviour, good-will, kindness and heartfulness, we can learn from children, provided we leave our hubris of being an adult aside and just watch them at play.Most children are naturally mindful with their gifts of curiosity and generous openness to explore.

Mindfully spending a minute watching a young one playing, writing or eating can open many layers for us to reach.The key is to keep the adult, supervising, sermonizing aside and notice how the child opens a wrapped gift, feels the bite of their favourite food or gaily dance watching their favourite cartoon on screen.

My favourite is to watch them talk, notice their exchange, their ability to be happy, unhappy, forgiving, compromising, celebrating in a minute.The idea of friendship remains the anchor, rest everything around keeps rising and falling into the ground of their play.

May our minds experience the child in us!May we taste the happiness of being a child in our hearts!May we know that not knowing is not painful and sometimes knowing can also be stressful!May we learn the mindful play of change!May we be the children of hope and joy!May we be happy and eased as we learn, walk and explore!May we thrive in growing, knowing or not-knowing!

 

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Children at VVIS offering Loving Kindness to the world.

Are we coming?Yes,we are!

There is no end

to arriving,

there is no end

to opening.

Every wait

is a longing

in  its own making,

Every wait

stitches the songs,

bandages the soul.

So,are we coming?

Are we walking

following,running rippling ,

denying,judging,walking,

forgiving,fluidic and falling.

Are we coming?

Yes,we are holding:

laughing, meandering and suturing,

wearing our oceans and

washing our fears,

grieving and celebrating,

yes,we are catching,

look no behind,

we are walking,singing,

forgiving,running.

We are…

Sarabsri (Copyright)

 

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Framing the Dark

 

 

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The dark has a banquet

of

intimacy and depth,

of  mystery

and  passion,

of wholeness,

and flow,

in not differing,

in not knowing

anything else,

another color,

another emotion

of

rawness,intellect,civilization

or sense.

The layering after layering

is an invite in dark,

a marriage of steps,

a symphony of

rest,

a walk in the womb,

a pause in the talk.

just dark and

dark.

In all the attention,

in all the gap,

no awakening,

no call,

no  brighteness,

no light,

just dark and

dark.

In all the sameness,

in all the cellullarness,

in the wetness,

in the birthing

before the dying and

deconstructing.

Just dark

and dark.

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Meditating with Dogs:Deep love

 

No matter how the tail wags,

no matter  how the hunger hurts,

no matter how every second

something crashes the attention,

no matter who gets the most in the bowl and

who always misses the point,

no matter you are left in the morning

and you meet others at night,

no matter how bad is the wait,

and how crushing it is to remain by the gate,

no matter how unrewarded is the job,

and how petrified is the loved one’s mind.

It is only with deep love,

we catch the ground,

it is only how you receive ,

not what they give you is the end,

the gentleness of a hand on the paw,

the smile that greets gratitude on the lips,

the smile that travels from tails to tips,

the mouth that forgives and wonders in bow,

the love that needs no labels and names,

the love that focusses without shift and blames,

the love that shares more than it seeks.

It is only this deep love

which matters in the now and the end.

Dogs teach a lot,

when we want to hear,

when we are ready to hear.

Sarabsri

copyright-Sarabsri

Sadness with silken bows

Holding the selves

in   miseries and stories,

 we walk by

wrapped

yet naked;

in twisted lips

and honorable shames.

Burdened with cover ups,

we smile

with plastic wonders,

devoid of any delight,

our words

bulldoze and

utterances pack us tight.

We criss-cross

and mourn spirituality,

every second is a plight.

We hold hands closely

in distance,

our kisses bring us

no insight.

In the baskets of

our polished bodies,

we lift our sadness,

dressed in silken bows

like gifts and hampers

we are yet to know.

—-Sarabsri

copyright-Sarabsri

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