James

“Two weeks ago, I had finished another Z Meditation Retreat. It was a beautiful time during the retreat and I emerged feeling vital, fresh and alive. I was happy and content. I then had a new schedule created for my daily life around the Z Meditation Center. The new schedule filled my days from dawn until dusk, starting with exercises including walks studying, meditating writing and meeting students. I was enjoying the schedule, but inside me there was restlessness present. I look back and see that I was not practicing what I had learnt. I thought that I was, at that time, but hindsight shows that I was lost in my dreams. The schedule added variety to the days and life. I was surprised when Ajay asked me to go to Delhi if I wanted to buy a guitar. The “desire” for the guitar was no longer there and I felt initially that I would not have any reason to go. I decided almost out of reflex – why not? It would be a good practice to try my meditation practice in a more hectic environment Just to see, it would be nice. So I went to Delhi with Nitin.
Initially the trip was great – actually the whole thing was great, but I was not prepared for the overwhelming insights I would get about myself. Initially, I found that things did not affect me much – pollution, street vendors, crowded buses – whatever I saw became like a movie. I quite enjoyed watching it go by. I spent some time in Ramakrishna Mission and meditated which was beautiful. I could watch my thoughts and remain completely separate from them. It was a fantastic experience. I bought some books and read ferociously. For the next few days, the words that I read were like honey water that was quenching the thirst for understanding.
The mental phenomenon that was occurring in this entire duration was a continuous river of contemplation and thought; though sometimes, I think that it was also lethargic mind or confusion and running in circles. I wanted to understand and practice what I had learnt. But I ended up in a very unbalanced way. I am not sure when it started exactly. Perhaps on the bus ride from Delhi, my mind started on its frenzy. I would try and see what it was.
It was in the bus ride back that gave the first hint. A man started smoking on the bus and my first reaction was to tell him to stop, but I did not. I just wanted to accept it, but then I wondered why it was that I did not ask him. Was it cowardice or acceptance? I started to wonder if I was just becoming callous under the guise of meditation.
Needless to say that when I got back to the ZM Center, not having slept at all, and having my mind run in circles the entire time, I was not my normal self. This is when Ajay introduced me to the seventh mantra and recommended me do another retreat.
This next retreat proved to be a roller coaster on its own. The old conditionings needed to be watched and removed again. I understand now why Ajay asks us to do the cleaning daily.
I am very much connected to Jesus and related very well to the devotional aspect of offering myself to his service. My mind this past week has become immensely centered in this devotion – I found refuge in the prayers.

Many things emerged this week. I questioned myself deeper than I have ever done. What came up surprised me. I thought that I had handled these conditionings but found that they were buried deeply, and were not dead yet.
I should be perfect and people around me too. I liked that others do things with perfection and so should I. I was putting so much pressure on myself to achieve perfection that I lost the enjoyment of living.

I discovered that I had been living my life for others. I had stopped caring for my needs and I now needed to love myself. I did not know how to live if I was not living for someone else.

My biggest problem is ‘’ approval of others’’. I try to impress people around me and make them happy and make them accept me. I have suffered a lot due to this reason. Now, no more.

This retreat has mercilessly shown me my own reflection. It has shown just how rolled my calendar is. I am seeing that all my life has been spent in the service to others and living in others’ identity. I have not taken time out to see and appreciate myself. In the pursuit of perfection I think that I have tried to over look things that might show me my imperfection. I now want to live in peace, free from all these imperfections in me.
Thank you so much.