By Vajrananda Nielsen, teacher of Natha Yogacenter
It is amazing how our lives change all the time.
He lives in his own development, with his own conditionings and passions. Sometimes life is bright and sometimes not so bright. Good times and bad times alternates, decreases and increases. But at the same time there is something that speaks further inside. Maybe he has not time to listen to it in the city and in the life of his, so quick and contracted.
But that thought came, if he should not soon go on a longer retreat. He consulted a clairvoyant astrologer about other things, but this thought about retreat came up again as a possibility: It would be really good to do it in July, August and September. But not if it was in order to hide from something. Okay, but it seemed quite unlikely that he would have time for that, and he imagined a summerhouse in the sommervacation in Denmark. Things contracted more in his life and he then send a letter to his spiritual master Gregorian with a lot of questions and among other things - if he wasn’t soon ready to start a retreat for about a month or so?
“Yes and why not for two month and why not go to Sirnea in Romania near Brasov?” was the prompt answer.
From the receiving of that letter everything was arranged, and where before he went about in his own little hesitating world, life was all of a sudden full of perspective. His room in the Ashram Prema was easily rented out and with a nice renter, - a friend found a cheap flight, his work consented and on top, he had an invitation to visit Arte Diem in Arcus, an art camp on the way (also in Romania).
As the days went by, his consciousness realized that his master’s eyes once more in this life was upon him: it was clear that now everything that happened was a matter of GRACE. All these synchronicities although his mind is a fearful mind, hesitating, doubt things……it was all put to shame, he was carried there.
He was, for example, picked up in the airport by car by Artemisa and taken to the library in the gypsy area. Was helped and the connection to Sirnea established. You need legitimation and proofs of the invitation. He was offered a place to sleep etc and etc. so many kind people full of hospitality. Beautiful once again to be in Romania. The tender summer air caresses his cheeks in a lighter, finer way than in Denmark. So much help and heart in Romania.
In Arcus the art camp was kept in and around a castle and he met with many nice people and got inspiration for his own art camp in
Denmark. But he also met with Oana, who was able to help him up into the mountains.
Sirnea is not easily reached. You have to buy food for one and a half month and there is no big shop in Sirnea. But again GRACE smiled. Oana had him sleep in the yoga center of Brasov and picked him up the next morning with a couple of friends. A man (Tudor) that had a jeep drove him out to shop, filled the hole of the back of his car with food and then off they went to Sirnea.
No cars normally go there, you walk, the roads are too bad. But this car did and drove him all the way together with the food. Oana offered that he might live in her house alone if he wanted!
There he was at his destination saying hallo to Dorin, the ashram leader with the 15 plastic bags of food standing in the grass.
It almost felt intruding to the ashram and the silence and beauty of this place. Cares and plastic bags does not belong here.
And everything had been going so quickly, new people, new sleeping place, shopping, on the road without knowing where to go……..
Dorin showed the place. The little room up the stairs and to the left, almost like a monk’s cell. One little window, one single madras and a place for cloth, - that was all.
Dorin showed the basement in the kitchen where the food probably could last some time. Then the rules and conditions for living in this ashram: 8 hours of sublimating and transmutation yoga, - here you don’t fall asleep, - and in the night you stand on your head in order to obtain conscious sleep! Or you can make 24 hours prayer, was also an option...
Then they took 4 buckets and Dorin showed him the way to the river. There is not necessarily water everyday, but maybe hot water once a week for a warm bath. The river is a place where has been build small cement place. The cows come here to drink. Therefore you have to take a metal device so that you get pure water. You might also wash yourself here.
Walking back it is 500 meters with 2 buckets full of water.
Dorin gave him a picture of Ramana Maha Rishi when he felt his love for this master. They talked little and soon the Dane was alone in his room unpacked. Full of aspiration for a good retreat. (There had been the observation that he did not have any resentment any conflicts with anybody in this new period of going to Sirnea, like everything also had been arranged in this way). Finally, finally just to SIT and LISTEN inwards, finally, finally the PEACE and the surroundings necessary for him……
And then the plan was made. It is important to keep up a certain discipline, some timescedules, and some goals. Every Friday a meditation with Mihai on the Self two hours, that was clear. And the model from the Danish silent retreat was also to be used. But he had to cook food and wash cloth and his body…and the yogatapas on manipura of 2 and a half hour….”what if I do not shave, then I will save time…”
It amounted to sit minimum three times three hours every day, - then he could always increase….He did not want to look in the mirror and no eye contact. The last tapas showed to be difficult in that small kitchen and because Romanians are so very helpful cooking for you. The whole house was keeping Mauna (silence) all the time.
Full of zest and expectation he sat on the madras and started immediately.
Relax especially around the heart. If your mind (thought storms) gives you problems focus upon sense impressions: Sounds, smells, touch, taste and sight, but do not travel with these senses, but try to use them to become present with, here and now, and focus it in the heart.
There is a staircase on the other side of the wall and 8 rooms with a yogi in each.
All is quite, but everybody needs to go up and down this staircase and he hears their bare feet on the floor in the hall, - and the staircase makes sounds on many of the stairs.
Outside it is the area of the cows. They grass very close to the house and you can hear them chewing and breathing and each has a bell on. This is the first sounds he hears. The cowbells are heard near and far and sometimes he doesn’t know if it is cows from another hill, from other cows.
As soon as the mind is subjected to this “sit still compressor”, it reacts against. It refuses to be locked up in a room, to sit still and do nothing. Patiently it has to be brought back to the heart over and over. But it fights and returns and comes back with new attracting perspectives.
His Enneagramstudy and the personality type of his are really shown here to be helpful. How the mind operates! All the scenarios from his type is coming up, but he knows them very well and thus he is able to stay more and more quite in all the storms, in the eye of the storm. Already in the first days a certain presence starts to settle down. Soon a love for all the sounds, noises and bells starts to warm him. Soon there is an expectation and up on the toes listening to: When will the next sound come and put him into the presence? He begins thus to love the surroundings. And then who is it, that moves and determines all that goes on? Is it not Siva, God the Father? An experience of getting much closer to Him, finally again to be able to talk with Him in the heart and to feel his presence, - to want only to be in his room, to be with Him again, now, quickly back to the room, if he has been out, the longing after HIM, this sweetness in the heart, that everything is completely as it should be right now, in this moment, that he is the good, the kind, who just matures us to love through all the happenings, that the difficult things in life is the maturing itself, in all and everything, is the way to His all embracing love. To always have this faith and trust in His GRACE.
The first 14 days ended with a kaya kalpa in his room (turning it into a completely dark room). It is easy. The window is small and the gaps in the door are covered with the blue blanket. 3 days in darkness, the Sufis say, that then you knows your inner Guru (the one that shines in the darkness). Fresh cow milk from the so beloved cows is bought from the neighbour. But to pea and to drink has to be done in the kitchen and out on the old-fashioned toilet.
The darkness intensifies the experience of presence of the Divine inside and throws happiness: the room becomes a castle to him, a golden castle, everything moist with the eternally, fresh presence and CONSCIOUSNESS. It lives in himself, in the wall, in the madras, in all the sounds, in all the sounds from all the other beings that live so close to him, but seldom is seen. Beloved beings that comes and goes on his staircase, every body’s staircase. The staircase is golden, every bare foot on the floor, sound of morning wet feet that let go of the under layer, consciousness is closely related with all the movements and this is just the outer. The inner silence is indescribable, full, empty, empty, now more, much more room between all the inner images and thoughts, - his life as it has been passes revy, as with the people dying. He remembers people and places he has been, but that his contracted consciousness (in the busy life of the city) has forgotten, - dear human beings, that he would now want to reach out for and embrace with all his heart….But also this is the Mind, and carefully, tenderly it all is guided back to the Hearts Oneness and Goodness.
All the birds back in the nest. It is like the shoes at the bottom of the staircase. When all the ashramits are home, all the shoes is in the nest and a
SILENCE prevails. It is happiness. This is why God choose to put him here and not alone in Oanas house. You are just light in the darkness among other stars. You are just light, pure consciousness, pure BEING.
When the body needs a little rest and he moves, the need to go and pee comes, not before. It is as if this soaring towards God gives continence in the watering. But he has to go down the staircase and out in the light. Opens the door, the hand protects against the strong light. It is completely white from 100 sheeps just outside the door. It is an everyday day in Sirnea, but for him they are overwhelming in their beauty, these animals….Go carefully through them and to the toilet. He has a little stick to put under the door so that it remains open when he sits down. At every trip out here from the dark room, from his minds thought storms, he has forgotten this overall beauty that prevails here:
We are in a valley, in a big “cup”, surrounded by mountain peaks to all sides. In front, and which he observes now from his sitting position, are the Sphinx-mountains. There are always new things to see in this landscape. And behind are the Kings-Crones-Mountains. The clouds and the whether changes quickly in the mountains (like the mind in the room) colors, nuances, forms, rivers, wind, rain and everything is my Tripura Sundari.
A couple of cows pass by the door of the toilet very close and take a look at him sitting. How blessed I am, he thinks. And often the thoughts go to his master in utter gratitude, - Gregorian.
In the kitchen there is always small fresh bunches of flowers at all the small pictures of Grieg. He goes there to drink some cow milk from the fridge. Alexandra (who often cooks food for him and to whom he is very grateful and who often is the one that put these flowers for the master) and Iulia, are the ones that loves him thus with flowers.
He hurries up to the cell, preferably not meeting too many other impressions (as he is in his kaya kalpa), Back to the room of void. This is the way the day goes: Outside the beauty and love of Tripura Sundari and inside the room the void of Siva. He oscillates between the two...
After the Kaya Kalpa it nocks on his door. It never does, we are collectively keeping mauna. It is Dorin with two posters. One of Gregorian and one of Shivananda. Humbly he asks if he can put them on the inside of the door. Yes please do! It is overwhelming after these three days of darkness. What state is Grieg having on this poster?
The Divine GRACE! When Dorin left, he sits down watching the two enormous masters on the door. Especially the Divine Grace state of Grieg and tears run.
Two saktis invites him down to the river to get washed. He said yes. There had to be a meaning with him being placed I these unlimited beautiful surroundings. Down in the bottom of the forest the river runs. They walked in silence without talking, without knowing anything about each other, like blank papers. What a peaceful situation. How easy. Nothing to deviate from the minds 1000 stories. Just him and two Rumanian women and then this vital nature. He understands the nature. It reminds him of Denmark when he was a child. The purity, untouched nature, the vitality. Anahataland: you are loved, loved, loved. Butterflies and insects, sheeps, horses. Peasants, men and women shouts to each other from different hills to hear news. Shouting to the cows, nicknames….today Sakti opens up to him and leads him through her nature…..
What is there, that I can absorb it in my heart
What is there, that I can burn it, full of an impetuous enthusiasm,
What is there, that I can drink it, since I am drunk
Intoxicated by the ecstasy of the divine enlightenment.
Some poems from Kashmir by this master, Abhinavagupta inspired very much. And they help his aspiration to soar high. The understanding of both him and of the few things he read was, because of the silence, very, very deep.
It was no longer necessary to put the questions “Who am I?” Or to check if now again it was just imaginations or daydreaming from past or present. It became more and more easy and deeper and deeper to find silence. Still there were certain days and hours where the same thoughts of fixation would come up. Some of them are more rooted than others and almost brings sweat and agitation with it. Sometimes they would come almost before he started to sit. It needs again the patience and a lot of LOVE.
The three hours in the morning: ATMAN CITTAM = awareness, attention of the soul. Here the sounds are good to use. A flame immerges in the chest. Like a candle. It becomes sharper, clearer as days and prayers increase in intensity.
The three hours in afternoon: MANTRAM CITTAM. Awareness that you are a divine energy on its way to God on one of his beams. Sakti.
The three hours in the evening: CAITANYAM ATMAN. Awareness of the will of God, the Divine and Absolute, Macrocosmic Reality.
Atman seeked realized on three different paths.
Amazing how the sensitivity increases. He thinks upon something or somebody and immediately it is there. A human being, a God or Goddess, a scene from his life, an idea, a state. He has become transparent, has become the perfect mirror, the inner witness. Moments where he just is!
Once he was not able to practice yoga. He used every moment to try to be present with the prayer of the heart:”Lord Jesus, son of God, have mercy on me, a believer!’
Then that flame in his chest came for the first time in his chest and he also saw it in the others! It was a state of fearlessness, inner peace, energy, strength and joy, courage by knowing who you are.
He is no longer tied by the room and the sounds. God is everywhere!
When he practices his tapas on the hill, God is in the leaves that falls, in each their rhythm, in each their place, in the watching of their flight, - and in the swallows that flies so virtuous. How God can move in many ways! The sovereign master behind all! He looks now only for Him, HE is the breath, the body, the grass, the sky, - EVERYTHING. And in this is his peace. This is the GRACE, to be allowed to experience this, is GRACE.
His life was before Sirnea not anything to be super happy about. He often felt alone.
And now he lives in a tiny little room in a house with people he never speaks with and hardly knows. Knows not even their names, and he is just so happy, so happy and in love with everything around him and in himself. How can God be so omnipresent, potent and all-knowing?
God makes naulis. God is heard like a river down there in the forest. God is barking like a dog tied to a chain. Look how he flies in the air. He hears HIS footsteps on the staircase, silent and sweet.
He is just a witness to his own movements, to the sounds God makes in the stomach. He is the most blessed child right now, on this beautiful earth!
There is a fly. A real big fly that humming comes rushing (approximately once every hour) in through the open window. He always salutes it. It just comes to check if everything is well and if he is doing his tapas. Yeah it actually comes to wake him up. It never sits down to rest, no, it just flies through the room and out again.
There are three fruit trees that he eats from. Nice plumes. He collects these fruits for the house also when he practices his naulis. Three days after (and after he just had written in his dairy that here was no danger in this nature) he comes back and finds all the trees ruined totally. A bear has been on visit, a hungry bear, for it also took a sheep. The neighbor had been sitting up the whole night and howled like a wolf to scare the bear away. Dorin asked the Dane not to be out after it got dark!
When people come here to live a couple of weeks, 7 days, a couple of days, they come with very serious faces. They are clearly new. It is so beautiful to watch their faces getting relaxed, become calm, beautiful again – like they always should be! Like when they sleep at night and is totally relaxed, like children! That is the natural state! And the purity of Sirnea and the silence in the hearts, provides pure and relaxed faces. And then the deep inner joy that is felt by all from having again found themselves! It is a happiness that is free and pure, it does not cost anything, does not have to live up to anything, it is spontan and simple, as when we were children. It is not puffed up and doesn’t show off. For there is nobody here that has cravings or manipulates you. You have been left to yourself and your inner space. Your inner state is always happy and for him it was now proven, - nothing else is needed!
The last week is the most difficult one. The mind and the desires become again alive. They now that they are soon free. So the temptations are big to say yes to invitations from women. Don’t you come and visit me, or you can shorten your retreat, etc. Or just a couple of visitors that has bought lots of fruits and foot. Big watermelons and juicy grapes. The footresourses of his is almost used and there haven’t been fruit like this for long time. The visitors are generous and give and it tastes so good. But with it the mind starts running. It wants to talk, to socialize, embrace…..
But again he gets the wild “bird” in its proper nest……
The last days the weather is strong. Rainy, thunder, and then the last two days: Just very, very quite. Everybody except Simona has gone home. One of the people that live here permanent comes back the last days. The sky is completely blue and it is so quite, so quite. He has changed cosmic power. To Bhuvanesvari. Goddess of the Space. Sirnea shows itself in this way.
He is on the highest point of the valley today. A Rumanian flag is raised for the heroes of Sirnea. Three horses are grassing on the hill under. It is as if Sirnea wants to show herself in all her glory. It is God summing up his retreat the last days. It is an overwhelming silence. Today is painted on the sky the next stages of deepening to come. That’s how it is. Everything has as an ending the next beginning in it, the next chapter.
Next morning he is up early. Walks with his few things over the mountain brim on his way away. Said goodbye to the dog, the cows, the fly, the horses, the sheep’s and the people. The two women at the neighbors’ farm say that it will rain. We say goodbye. It is a cloudy and foggy day. A contrast to the last days.
Walk the 4 km. to the bus. And who stands there? The boy of the neighbors of 9 year old. His life is here and mine goes away. Say goodbye to him. We have a kind of mutual understanding without words. On a walk of silence I enjoyed his young and free being. The neighbors know that we do not speak.
I break my Mauna and say goodbye or was it LA REVEDERE?
Summer 2006, July, august and first of September.