Posts Tagged With: India

Film Review: Water

water

Film by Deepa Mehta

This film is set in Varanasi, India during the time of Gandhi’s rise in the 1930s. It is, at once, much like India herself. The cinematography is incredibly beautiful recording the most holy temples, landscape, people and colors while forcing us to acknowledge devastating conditions in which so many of the people live, particularly women. A paradox placed upon the people through their most sacred beliefs. But it does not leave us with such discomfort alone. It also presents hope.

This is the story of eight year-old Chuyia, left suddenly a widow at the death of her many years older husband. As the sacred texts direct, she is sent to live in a house of widows, an ascetic, hair shorn, eating one meal a day, even though she never lived as a wife with her husband. A heart-breaking account of a practice that continues to this day in some areas. Doctrine states that while her husband is alive a woman is half his body, and when he dies she is half his corpse, held in highest esteem and yet treated badly, then living in the most extreme poverty. The hope offered in the film comes through the bond that develops between young Chuyia and some of the widows, the intervention of a stranger and the new teachings of Ghandhi making headway during those times.

The film was so controversial that, during its initial making in 2000, filmmaker Deepa Mehta, cast and crew were driven from Veranasi, their safety threatened by mobs and the set torn down, causing the project to be abandoned for a few years. Four years later, Mehta was able to complete the film in Sri Lanka. It was nominated for an Oscar in 2005.

Rather than be put off by the subject matter, I invite readers to view the film. It has a beautifully haunting quality that will stay with you for a long time. Available in DVD or watch online free. The soundtrack is equally mesmerizing.

Categories: cultural interests, Film Review | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

January 23 Lifepath Dialogues Gathering: Voice and Expression

Lifepath Dialogue GatheringExploring the many threads that weave together an expressive, celebrated life.

MARK YOUR CALENDAR AND JOIN US FOR DIALOGUE THAT MATTERS

You are invited! Please pass to friends and family.

JANUARY 23, 6:30-8 PM

FREE Monthly Gathering on Fourth Wednesdays

Creekside Center, 337 N. Rush Street, Prescott, Arizona

January’s topic:

“Voice and Expression”

Based on the post: “Voice and Expression”
By CARLA WOODY
Author of Calling Our Spirits Home and Standing Stark
Founder, Kenosis and Kenosis Spirit Keepers

SPECIAL JANUARY GUEST HOST:

YAQIN LANCE SANDLEBEN

Yaqin Lance Sandleben Photo

Yaqin Lance Sandleben is a Cherag, an ordained minister of American Sufism following the Chisti Sufi lineage of India. He leads the Dances of Universal Peace, Universal Worship Service and offers guidance on the path of spiritual awakening. Yaqin lives in Prescott, Arizona, where he has practiced pharmacy for 35 years, raised a family, and served the community in different ways—mostly through volunteering.  His interests in religion, spiritual development, and the awakening process began at the age of 12 in the Christian Church.   For many years he studied well known and obscure paths of awakening.  He began meditating 40 years ago and embraced American Sufism 33 years ago.   He has also studied and practiced Buddhism with many teachers, including HH the Dalai Lama and other Tibetan teachers.  His Sufi connection has led him to India, to the shrines of saints, and to the study of Raga, Indian Classical music.

Email: info@kenosis.net or call 928.778.1058

Categories: Healing, Healthy Living, Meditation, Spiritual Evolution, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

November 28 Lifepath Dialogues Gathering

Lifepath Dialogue Gathering

Exploring the many threads that weave together an expressive, celebrated life.

MARK YOUR CALENDAR AND JOIN US FOR DIALOGUE THAT MATTERS

You are invited! Please pass to friends and family.

NOVEMBER 28, 6:30-8 PM

FREE Monthly Gathering on Fourth Wednesdays

Creekside Center, 337 N. Rush Street, Prescott, Arizona

November’s topic:

The Ways of Inclusion

Based on the post: The Gift of Mother India

By CARLA WOODY
Author of Calling Our Spirits Home and Standing Stark
Founder, Kenosis and Kenosis Spirit Keepers

Yaqin Lance Sandleben PhotoNovember’s special guest is Yaqin Lance Sandleben. Yaqin is a Cherag, an ordained minister of American Sufism following the Chisti Sufi lineage of India. He leads the Dances of Universal Peace, Universal Worship Service and offers guidance on the path of spiritual awakening. Yaqin lives in Prescott, Arizona, where he has practiced pharmacy for 35 years, raised a family, and served the community in different ways—mostly through volunteering.  His interests in religion, spiritual development, and the awakening process began at the age of 12 in the Christian Church.   For many years he studied well known and obscure paths of awakening.  He began meditating 40 years ago and embraced American Sufism 33 years ago.   He has also studied and practiced Buddhism with many teachers, including HH the Dalai Lama and other Tibetan teachers.  His Sufi connection has led him to India, to the shrines of saints, and to the study of Raga, Indian Classical music.
PLEASE NOTE: There will be no December Lifepath Dialogues Gathering due to the holidays. We will return to our regular schedule on January 23, 2013.

Email: info@kenosis.net or call 928.778.1058

Categories: Healing, Meditation, Personal Growth, Sacred Reciprocity, Spiritual Evolution | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Gift of Mother India

Last night I saw The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel with a circle of friends. It’s a film about travelers all seeking something—even if they didn’t know it—against the backdrop of very foreign land, in this case Jaipur, India. As we sat around a restaurant table afterwards, my friends and I had plenty of fodder for discussion—and for me, waves of beautifully intense memories flooded back.

In February of 1998 I was in Delhi and Jaipur studying raga, Indian classical vocal music, with Pir Shabda Kahn, who is now spiritual leader of the Sufi Ruhaniat International and Director of the Chisti Sabri School of Music. I was truly ripe for my experience in Mother India and what unfolded back then. Through the daily hours-long practice the veil became quite thin. I remember having a challenge staying grounded in “normal” reality at all. The drone of the tamboura going straight in through my crown set up the ensuing Initiation quite nicely. I relayed part of my experience in my first book: Calling Our Spirits Home.

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Temple photo

Burial temple in Delhi of Hazrat Inayat Khan, who brought Sufism to the west.

I was drawn to go to India.  I was inexplicably drawn from the depths of my soul.  I had no words of explanation for my friends and family.  I had no expectations toward the outcome.  Yet, I knew that India had something to teach me, and that I would learn.  I found myself in a state of not knowing, but trusting.

We landed in Delhi in the early morning hours.  As our taxi conveyed us to our hotel, I was immediately transported back to 1978.  Magically, my time travel took me to the six months I spent in Iran.  There was a palpable aura of dejá vu as I noted the walls at streets’ edges barring glimpses into homes beyond and battered shutters rolled down over crumbling shop fronts.  The same coating of dust blanketed everything.  I saw the faces of the Iranian people I knew back then in the dark skin and beautiful brown eyes of our taxi driver.  I said to myself: This is nothing new.

In the days that followed, I made entries into my mental databank:  beautiful architecture, beggars on the street, tent dwellings, exquisite handicrafts, waves of people, gracious smiles, noxious fumes and traffic without rules.  Each time effectively dissociated, I said: I’ve seen this before.  Then we left Delhi and went to Jaipur.

While still in Delhi, I wrote about my feelings that, as I looked back on them later, seemed prophetic to me.  From my journal: “I feel as though I am waiting to leave Delhi and go to Jaipur where something awaits me.  I have the sense of going into myself and knowing that Self in all its manifestations—past, present and future…”

Choutu Singh

Choutu Singh

I spent the first days in Jaipur in meditative practices sequestered in the compound of Diggi Palace where we were staying.  Diggi Palace was so named from its history as the hunting lodge of a long-gone maharaja.  Its modest rooms and grounds provided an oasis in the heart of Jaipur.  On the third day, my companion and I left the grounds and encountered Choutu Singh, the young Indian man who would become our constant guide.  He offered us the services of his rickshaw and there I began my Initiation.

It seemed that Choutu drove us through every aspect of Jaipur and suddenly I experienced all as new—and connected directly to me.  From my enduring meditations, or perhaps from just being in Mother India, I was in a heightened state of awareness.  As we drove through byways and alleyways, the material destitution of the people I saw entered me.  The filth I saw entered me.  The barrage of noise and toxic air entered me.  The open sides of the rickshaw found no barrier, physical or psychic, that divided any experience from me.  There were no boundaries.  All was seamless and I said out loud, “I’ve never seen anything like this.”

Jaipur photo

Street scene Jaipur.

Carla Woody photo

Author Carla Woody in a Jain Temple in Jaipur.

We had stopped in a gem shop when I experienced waves of illness—immediate, sudden.  Although quite healthy prior to our venture out that afternoon, by the time we returned to Diggi Palace less than an hour later, I was desperately ill.  Fever, chills, insomnia and acute body aches were my companion through the night.

Inexplicably, waves of intense sadness arose from unaccountable depths.  It was mine and it was not mine.   Tears streamed down my face off and on through the night and during meditation the next morning.  Then, I put hands on myself with the intent toward healing and began to feel better throughout the day.  That night I had a normal night’s sleep and awoke feeling energetic and light as though I had been through a deep cleanse.

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It took me two years to integrate this gift. Through that process I learned that dissociating from what brings fear only enlarges upon fear. Solely by fully associating, inviting the demon to tea as Shabda was fond of saying, allowing the aversion or angst to wash through consciousness may it be transformed. I remain indebted to Pir Shabda Kahn for creating the safe haven for this particular Initiation of mine.

Categories: Arts, Healing, Meditation, Personal Growth, Spiritual Evolution, Spiritual Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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