Three months later

I am waking up early this morning. There is a gentle breeze after the rain and the heat of the South is a little bit less. Just a little. I just returned from Bodhgaya where I did a ten days silent retreat. There is so much to say and there is nothing to say at the same time. Radha Nicholson took us through the teachings of the early Buddhist text; Anapanasati, day by day supporting us to go deeper and finding how happiness and freedom can be found just using attention on your breathing.

Something to study/contemplate/practice for a lifetime

The Anapanasati Sutta

The Anapanasati Sutra provides sixteen contemplations, or places to direct awareness. These are set into groups of four with the first group focused on the body, the second on feelings, the third on the mind, and the last group focused on wisdom. Larry Rosenberg suggests that, although the Anapanasati Sutra is used mainly in the Theravada tradition that he teaches, the Buddha’s teachings in this sutra can be of value to meditators following the Zen or Tibetan traditions. Those drawn to watching the breath, as the basis of their meditation, can benefit from knowing what may arise while they practice. The sixteen contemplations can be very briefly summarized:
  1. Breathing in long
    Breathing in short
    Sensitive to the whole body
    Calming the whole body
  2. Sensitive to rapture
    Sensitive to pleasure
    Sensitive to mental processes
    Calming mental processes
  3. Sensitive to the mind
    Gladdening the mind
    Steadying the mind
    Liberating the mind
  4. Focusing on impermanence
    Focusing on fading away
    Focusing on cessation
    Focusing on relinquishment

It sounds so simple, I had heard it before, many times, but never like this time.

The Heart/Mind – Chitta

I loved beeing in silence for so many days together with a bunch of dedicated yogis. The silence and stilling of the mind is so profound filling up the heart-mind with a whisper of emptiness, that is full of richness.

In early January I first arrived inSouth India and stayed for two weeks at the Ramana Ashram, so wonderful to land like that.

India has been my abode this Winter and I am so very grateful. In a few days heading back West again. And I am slowly preparing myself for the retreat I will teach in a couple of weeks. (In Swedish). Kirsti will be there and teach Yin Yoga everyday which has been found very helpful to go deeper more easily and work through the ”hindrances”

Before leaving India Im just writing a short summary with a promise of more later. Lets start with some photos. They are in a random order from the Library of Ramanas ashram where I worked on my book many days, from the last few days with family and my friend before leaving, from Bodhgaya, from Tiruvannamalai and the sacred mountain Arunachala Shiva, Radha Nicholson, me teaching at the retreat a little, a selfie from postretreat feeling very happy, my desk at Bose Compound where I spent five weeks, from the temple of Tiruvannamalai, Indigos book cover, a piece of art of mine (in read), The hatching woman, Ramana with his umbrella, and an image to honor the struggle of the women of Iran, may peace come in the world, and finally there are so many pictures more, but let this be a taste.

India is a journey from peace to chaos and back on the outside, with poverty, dirt and beauty living next to each other. On the inside there is a dive into the sacred, heartfelt presence, meditation and inquiry into the mystery of nothingness and everything, Going from the city of Tiruvannamalai in the very south to Bodhgaya in the north is also going from ”Shiva to Buddha” – same same, yet so different. You could say from form to emptiness, but that would be too simple. Somebody said its like going from Jerusalem to Mekka…. Shiva is worshipped in the south with the mountain as Shiva himself, representing the absolute – Bodhgaya represent on the other hand Buddha, the awakens one who taught us about silence, stillness and emptiness. The paradox fits me perfectly.

Hafiz: I Have Learned So Much

I Have Learned So Much – a poem by the 14th century Sufi poet Hafiz

So much from God
That I can no longer

A Christian, a Hindu, a Muslim,
a Buddhist, a Jew.

The Truth has shared so much of Itself
With me

That I can no longer call myself
A man, a woman, an angel,
Or even a pure

Love has
Befriended Hafiz so completely
It has turned to ash
And freed

Of every concept and image
my mind has ever known.

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