10 Oct A Himalayan retreat: an experience to remember, bliss to cherish
Being our first association with Saadho Sangha, there was a lot of excitement while starting our trip from Delhi to Gaggal Airport to Zostel Bir. The morning gathering at Zostel provided the perfect start to the togetherness we were to experience during the Yog retreat at Rajgundha forest.
After a sumptuous breakfast, we were all off to Billing – the start points for the paragliders. Watching the paragliders jumping reminded me of the inner urge we all have to be free and to be guided by the hand of nature. The element of trust/faith was clearly visible while letting go by the paragliders. Being first time trekkers, while being informed by our guide of a 14 km trek in the mountains to reach our destination, we as well had let go of our inhibition of such a long walk.
Walking through the forests, steep climbs and smooth descents reminded me of life and its ups and downs. How much could we learn from nature but for our thoughts that take us elsewhere. During one of the breaks, Anishji reminded us of the purpose of the trip and the need to remain silent and listen to the silence of nature and how it touches our core. Anishji asked us to consider this trip as a pilgrimage as many rishis and saints have travelled this path and have meditated in caves and the forest and we should all take benefit of the energy available.
Being a 6.5 hrs trip, stopping for lunch, introduction amongst ourselves, guidance from our guide – Pawan, we reached our destination – Ishant Guest house just as the daylight faded and we were welcomed by chill in the air and the clear view of stars in the sky.
The next day started with Yoga lessons by Shivani in the open. The yoga lessons were a wake-up call to the way we treat our bodies. The emphasis by Shivani for the need for all of us to push ourselves, was a lesson in discipline that is needed to allow energy to flow freely in our body. After some lazing around in the open, it was time for a Satsang which was held in nature by Anishji.
The snow peaked Dauladhar range, Greenery all around, the soft rumble of the river and a cool noon, provided the perfect backdrop or a session on how to live the spiritual journey. A reminder by Anishji for starting from the basics to ensure a strong horizontal base and the talks revolved around being able to manage the I/Self, practicing inclusiveness and invoking the Cosmic energy was the way to leading a spiritual life.
In the evening after a revision of Yoga exercises indoor was another Satsang session held. Anishji shared with us the process to follow to lead a conscious life. The need to start with the body – its postures, its movements and the breathing awareness are the first steps. Practicing inclusiveness. Followed then by the awareness of our thoughts and our emotions. There are 3 types of emotions – Emotion of Food, Emotion of Sleep & Emotion of Lust. Ensuring awareness for Food & Sleep would assisting in reduction of lust. And last but not the least, Invoking the Cosmic energy. Absorbing these teachings, it was time to snuggle in bed for a good night sleep.
The next day started with a nature walk to the river. A steep descent got us to the river Uhl, which was flowing in its full glory from the melted snow of the Dauladhar range. The chill waters were inviting some of us for a dip and we obliged. A steep climb back and after rest, we had an indoor Satsang again. This time on a question of how to invoke the cosmic – Anishji shared the need for human beings to imagine a form while invoking the super consciousness. This method assists all of us to remain in sync with the cosmic awareness and experience our true self. Anandi & Atul took us through a bhajan session with their melodious voice & Guitar respectively. A perfect end to the Satsang and a reminder of higher consciousness presence amongst all of us.
On the last day, we had reminder lessons from Shivani on Yoga. A 6 km walk to our vehicles and a trip back to Zostel Bir had many a memory to reflect upon. The stay in nature, pristine beauty, spiritual talks, Yoga and the sumptuous simple food that we experienced in the last few days could be summed up as “THE ESSENCE OF BLISS”.