The night before initiation day, I could barely sleep. I was too excited and when I finally did fall asleep, there was a power cut and with that, the mosquitoes attacked. For a long time I lay on the bed contemplating getting up and lighting the mosquito strip or waiting for the power to be back. Finally I got up, lighted the strip, but had trouble going back to sleep again. I don’t really know when I fell asleep because the next thing I knew, my alarm was beeping, signalling that it was time to get up. Got up, got ready, packed a few things that we were supposed to bring that day, and went to the venue. This was a different venue than the one where the course took place.
After an hour’s break, we were asked to assemble back at MARC. We were not supposed to eat anything but by this time a lot of us were hungry and were expecting to be served breakfast. Oh, but that was not to be. After doing the practice taught over the previous days, we were finally told that breakfast was served. Reality was very different from our expectations ( 😀 ) but tasty nevertheless. It was really, really good and filling. I loved it.
The course continued as scheduled. Just before lunch time we were initiated into shambhavi mahamudra. By this time, I could feel the exhaustion creeping up on me. All I wanted to do was lie down and fall asleep. What an irony, I thought. In my excitement I could not sleep in the night and when finally the moment was here, I wanted to sleep. This wasn’t ideal at all. So much for living in the “now”!! Sigh.
As the initiation was happening, I felt a stir – a momentary, fleeting movement – at the base of my spine. Because I wasn’t in my best form, I did not think much about it. I brushed it aside as my back giving me problems after sitting down for such a long time. After the initiation, we were served lunch.
Lunch was a 10-course menu, all prepared by Isha volunteers and all of them without lighting a fire/stove. All the items were, of course, sathvic/positive pranic, devoid of onion/garlic and other negative pranic foods. Wow!, so much variety! Who knew!!! I finished all but one item on my plate.
The rest of the day was uneventful. We were asked to practice shambhavi mahamudra once more at home that evening and we dispersed by 4:30.
I digress here. When I reached home and opened the main door, I thought I was going to get a heart attack. Every flat surface was covered with Fearless’s toys. The sofa, the table, the floor, the bed…everything in all the rooms. Then there was Fearless himself running around naked with a car in his hands. I am never going to be able to get this image out of my mind, ever. OMG. I had expected the house to be messy, as usual, but not a naked kid in the midst of it. It was then that Fearless saw me and told me he was going for his bath. Needless to say, all my frustration, plus the exhaustion, was directed at Ashwin. His reaction was priceless – “No use of Inner Engineering at all. You haven’t changed one bit!” LOL. This is another thing I am never going to forget. I used to tell him the entire one month before joining IE that, after the course my “waen waen” (that is the expression we use for our “tu-tu-main-main”) will stop and that he is going to miss it. Seems, the poor thing took it seriously and was hoping for it. :’D No such luck though.
Back to IE. On Tuesday evening, I had a profound experience. Having put Fearless to sleep and gotten ready, I had nothing else to do but wait for Ashwin to get home. So I decided I ll just lie down and relax for a while. When my body was completely relaxed, I felt some movement at the base of my spine. Additionally I felt a strong pulsing energy all over my body and especially on my hands. It started out gently enough but within seconds, it was like nothing I had experienced before. What was happening? I don’t know what it was but I freaked out completely and got up. My whole body, especially my hands and face, was hot, like I had high fever. The current was still pulsing but considerably reduced. I was sweating even with the fan spinning on full. I was shivering as well. Ashwin arrived just then and when I told him of this, his response was, “Aren’t you going to be late? What’s for dinner?” Who did I just narrate this incident to? Was I imagining telling him all this? I glared at him, he shrugged n said I was going mad. Huh!!
I thought of asking swami about this. Being the last day of the class, I might never get to clarify about this again. After the class was over, I went to swami and said that I did not feel anything during the practice. He interrupted me and said, “What is there to feel? There is nothing to feel. Just do the practice.” I said ok and continued to tell him about the energies I was feeling. I asked him if it was a result of the Shambhavi practice. He said its not. But am I satisfied? Nope. Came home and the next 2 days I read about Kundalini and what happens when Kundalini awakens. Haha… Looking back, I feel so stupid. So stupid. Internet ruins a person.
The first Sunday of every month, a satsang is arranged for those who have completed IE. My first satsang after IE, I had another profound experience. The first part of the satsang is a guided Shambhavi practice, followed by the chanting of “Brahmananda Swaroopa” for 7 minutes. It was during this chanting phase that tears began to automatically roll down my cheeks. My face was getting distorted on its own and tears were flowing nonstop. This isn’t how I usually cry. When I cry, my face remains more or less the same and tears just flow. But here at the satsang, I was aware that my face was getting distorted over over. I wasn’t trying to control anything nor was I thinking anything. My mind was completely blank and there were tears. This went on till the end of the chanting and then just as automatically as it had started, it stopped. Just like that. When I wrote this article, I had no idea there could be tears for absolutely no reason whatsoever. Now I do. When the tears stopped, I felt a certain calm and then I was aware of my hands – they were cold and shivering. I was back to normal a few minutes later. There was a certain doubt in my mind during the whole of IE which I could not ask, or rather consciously chose not to clarify for reasons I do not want to mention here. When the tears flew, the doubt vanished.
From the initiation to now, I have felt this energy in my spine on and off. It does not happen during Shambhavi but after, like when I am getting ready to sleep or about to wake up, when I am lying down in shavasana at my yoga class. Even the practice itself – on some days my heart and soul is in it, some days it just doesn’t settle down. And no, there is no correlation between how calm I am during the practice and the energies that I feel. Couple of times, I have felt spinning sensations, like I am spinning at top speed but since I am aware that I am stationary it is like everything around me is spinning real fast. But on most days there is nothing. At first, I used to go into the practice with the hope that something will/should happen today. “Let’s see what’s new today!” I used to be elated when I felt these energies and sensations and disappointed when nothing happens. On most days now I just feel my own energy pulsing rhythmically all over my body – gentle and reassuring. But slowly I have realized, as I practice, that it just does not matter to me anymore. If something happens, ok. If nothing happens, ok. There is neither hope nor disappointment. I just do the practice and get on with my work. I still do my Shambhavi practice daily, twice a day on most days even after having completed the mandala. And I am enjoying every moment of it.
Some would be interested to know what difference I have found in myself after doing this course. Other than the spiritual experiences mentioned above, I have noticed quite a few changes in myself on the mental and emotional levels which I do not know how to explain or put into words. Its deep 😀 😛 :P. But the changes in my physical level I can definitely share. For one, my back pain and knee pain are completely gone. I used to wonder if I will ever again know how being “painless” felt. Now I know :). When I wrote this post, I was still struggling with losing weight. My yogasana practices are happening simultaneously but I was yet to see some weight loss. But in the last 2 months that I am doing Shambhavi, I have lost 2 kgs. I am not doing anything extra, as in, no extra workouts. My appetite has come down. My food intake wasn’t much earlier but I used to have small frequent meals – breakfast, lunch and dinner with a few fruits/dry fruits in between. Now its come down to just 2 meals – breakfast and lunch. I’m eating a little more during my lunch than I used to earlier but still, I am able to keep going without any food until breakfast the next day. Earlier I used to feel hungry within 3-4 hours. And the best part is, I am energetic. There is no weakness, no “starving”, nothing. I am still eating the same foods but I don’t feel hungry for a very, very long time. I’m not controlling anything, I’m not suppressing anything, I am not starving and there is no “determination” invovled. I never imagined this would be possible for me. And yet, here I am.
Secondly, I have noticed that, earlier whenever I was angry/sad, my breath used to change from an easy rhythm to a rapid pulse. Now, my breath stays the same irrespective of what I’m feeling. This too is something new for me.
If you are wondering why I am sharing all this, it is because I have felt these experiences have made me a better person all around. Little things are happening around me (which I’ll probably share over the next few weeks) that are touching me in little and big ways. If these experiences can inspire at least one person, I would be extremely happy. Because, that would mean one less person who is suffering in this world. Sure, in the grand scheme of things, one is a teeny tiny number but I believe that “one” is all it takes to make this world a better place. When one person is happy, he touches the lives of so many others, in turn contributing something valuable to their life. Sure, to go into Shambhavi (or any other spiritual practice for that matter) should not be to experience any of the things that I mentioned above. You may have better, more intense experiences or you may have none at all. But something beautiful is happening internally, without our knowledge/awareness. Whether you are doing it for all the wrong reasons, whether you believe in it or not, is not important. The important thing is that you do, and do it without any expectations or hopes. Just do and be.