The flying museum hit the tarmac of Mumbai airport to the rattle of a thousand moving parts. I still did not understand what had drawn me to spend a whole three weeks at an Ashram in India. Spoken more in the light of a spiritual university than a retreat, Aurovalley Ashram, was located in the foothills of the Himalayas and it represented a significant commitment to my spiritual growth. Little did I know that I would have an experience, which when reflected on, has unprecedented implications.
Arriving at the entrance of Aurovalley in the early evening I found the place deserted. It took me ages to call someone to the gates and eventually I was welcomed by a bearded man who escorted me to my spartan looking room and informed me that the meditation started at five in the morning. Lying on my bed in the intense heat with a squeaking fan interrupting my sleep, I started to feel really homesick and wondered whether I had made a big mistake by dedicating my only holiday to getting lonely in some militant spiritual institution on a dusty hill in the middle of an Indian inferno.
My alarm woke me at 4:45 and the rising sun slowly revealed the beautiful Aurovalley setting to me for the first time. Set right on the River Ganges opposite the Rajasthan national park, it featured well manicured gardens, courtyards and a truly breathtaking temple that served as the spiritual heart of the ashram. Sitting down for my first meditation, I was given a polite nod by the other members of the community, half who like me, were here for a holiday and the rest who had made Aurovalley their home and committed to its disciplined spiritual life practice.
The morning program started with a one hour meditation, followed later by yoga and then finished with a “Satsung”- a daily talk and Q&A session- with the Swami, a spiritual leader of the ashra community. When I first laid my eyes on Swami Brahmdev, he approached me in a full traditional robe, with a long white beard and the slickest pair of silver Aviators. Besides solving your greatest life problems using graceful metaphors involving dragonflies and grains of sand, he played a wicked game of table tennis. I had found my guru!
The afternoon program involved spending time in the comprehensive library studying some of India’s most revered philosophers and spiritual leaders. This was followed by free time where one could explore the surrounding areas, swim in the Ganges River or play more table tennis. I did my utmost to try and make the Swami lose his temper giving me the opportunity to throw a metaphor or two in his direction about acceptance and being present. He never gave me the luxury.
While at Aurovalley, I experienced a truly magical way of being that is peaceful, tranquil and reflective. In the temple I enjoyed some of the most intensive meditations and it was really fulfilling to watch my practice develop to such a degree. One afternoon, I was deep in the void of my mindless consciousness when like a bolt of lightning, I was hit with a deep fear that my flat in Cape Town had been robbed. Reeling from the wave of anxiety, my awareness turned to the fact that the only valuable possessions of any consequence to me - my DJ turntables and vinyl collection - were both uninsured and irreplaceable. In spite of the intensity of the thought, I put it down to some random paranoia and besides, if my flat had been robbed and my prized musical possessions taken, a phone call home would only provide bad news. No doubt my flatmate would have contacted me if indeed, something had happened.
I enjoyed the rest of my time in India immensely. They are unbelievably friendly and in spite of the significant poverty they endure, they are immensely grateful for every aspect of their lives as they go about their business. A touchstone of spirituality!
Returning back to South Africa I felt a deep sense of satisfaction and spiritual fulfilment that one is not even aware of until you engage in intensive spiritual exploration. Arriving back at my flat in the Bo Kaap district of Cape Town to the sound of the Islamic call to prayer, I was pleased to be home and looking forward to settling into my own room. Trying to put my key into the front door, I was confused when it would not slot. I called my flatmate to discover that our flat had indeed been robbed. Standing frozen, with my mouth open in sheer disbelief, the phone went silent. He informed me that all my possessions were safe and that his vehicle and a few items from the downstairs lobby were taken before their dog sent the intruders running. The reason for the robbery was that they had left the front door open by mistake. The vehicle was recovered thanks to satellite tracking but the keys were gone necessitating a change of the locks.
I spent weeks trying to understand the implications of the flash insight that I had had in India. After discussing the timeline of the incident with my flatmate, I believed that I must have had some form of premonition as the robbery happened in the late evening while I had my meditation in India, which is ahead of South Africa, in the afternoon. We also calculated that both instances occurred roughly a week after I left while debating what use having such a strong insight would be after the fact?
Never in my life had I enjoyed such a strong extrasensory ability and take my word for it, the thought was so strong and intense that had I more confidence and trust in my intuition, I may have been able to prevent the robbery from taking place. Premonitions are not just the stuff of legend, from my research I was able to find reputable scientific organisations that have been able to prove objectively that not only do we have the ability to have premonitions but that our intentions have the ability to influence our reality.
The Institute of Noetic Sciences was created by Edgar Mitchell, an American astronaught. When looking down from the Apollo 14 space shuttle to see planet Earth, he felt a very deep sense of connection to all of mankind and an overwhelming feeling of the interconnectedness of life. The institute explores the very essence of mass human intention and how it impacts our world.
If you believe that your intention has no impact on the world around you then you would believe that for example, no matter how hard a person “intends” to throw a 6 dice, they will always be limited to a random probability of 1/6 or a 16.6 % chance of throwing a 6 every time. At the Institute, they believe that human intention is the most powerful driving force in the creation process, only how do you prove it?
They started conducting experiments where they used what are called Random Number Generators. What the machines do is essentially throw thousands of dices every second and they measure the randomness of the series.
When you are dealing with so many throws the random probability always becomes 1/6 or a 16.6% chance of getting a 6. If over time the randomness is constant according to the probability range and suddenly the percentages drop or increase, there has to be some force acting upon it. Scientists observed these fluctuations in randomness and represented them in a bell curve where the centre represented complete randomness with fluctuations causing the bell to “ring” by moving from right to left indicating an event or some influence.
The Global Consciousness Movement positioned these random number generators all over the world and started to explore whether mass human intention was impacting randomness. The first mass event was the jury ruling of the OJ Simpson trial. It involved huge amounts of emotion and more importantly, these feelings were based on the intention of people who were either saying that he was guilty or innocent. What they found was that the bell started to ring significantly as a result of 200 million people expressing their intention at the same time while the verdict was read. Another significant fluctuation in randomness was after the tragic death of Princess Diana. What is really interesting is that the loudest the bell has ever rung was during the September 11 attacks and what will really blow your mind is that the bell started to ring before the planes had actually hit the building. A significant number of people where having premonitions!
In life we have to make choices all the time. Knowing which choice is the right one is often very difficult, yet my time in India had taught me one thing: I had lost faith in my intuition. The inner compass that when given a chance to emerge, gives one a crystal clear bearing of both danger and opportunity. The value of travel is that it removes the clutter of conditioned routine that prevents us from truly exploring our inner being and coming to the awareness of key changes that we need to make. Tools like meditation, journaling and other reflective practices all help to take this exploration to even deeper levels but ultimately we need to Breakaway. Images