Biren forwarded to me an email about the Building Bridges workshop from Atmarpit Smrutiji, a disciple of Pujya Gurudevshri Rakeshbhai Jhaveri. I was intrigued by the introduction: “Relationships form an integral part of your life. In this workshop, you will gain mastery in inner architecture, aimed at breaking the walls of negativity and constructing bridges of love and understanding in your relationships.”
Two words towards the end of the email introduction stirred me to register – the workshop was going to be Practical and Interactive.
I am happy I attended the workshop. In this blog post, I am sharing ripples from the workshop as they resonated with me.
While I usually find spiritual philosophy too overwhelming for lack of my knowledge, a couple of analogies from Smrutiji helped.
The first analogy was about using a large piece of cloth as a movie screen. When a movie is projected on the screen, I can be completely taken in by the drama. The storyline and a wide range of emotions, whether those are anger, frustration, agonies, ecstasies, fun, humor, love, passion, compassion, etc. can grip me. I might find it entertaining, too (hopefully). In the middle of it all, I can forget that I am looking at a piece of cloth.
I might have identified with different characters in the movie that I see on the screen, but when I think about it now, all that I was looking at was just a piece of cloth. Similar to that, everyone is the Atma. My relationships, passions, drive, anger, love, frustrations, worries, anxieties – that is all part of the movie being played. But that isn’t me. I am that cloth; I am the Atma.
Another ripple from the workshop was that the Atma is the eternal peace, the vibrant joy, the unconditional, limitless love and compassion, the healing, soothing, nurturing energy. And since I am the Atma, I am all of those all good things. (Felt good.) And since everyone is the Atma, everyone is all those good things. Smrutiji said it’s not just human beings, but also living things whether animals, creatures, birds, plants, trees, bugs, etc. all are the same Atma. We are all the Atma.
The question I have is, how do my physical being (like body and mind) feel and experience the Atma?
One more analogy from Smrutiji helped me a little bit. When I am watering plants in the backyard, as soon as I turn on the water outlet, I see and feel and touch the water coming out from the end of the water hose. There is a very well designed system to store the water in a vast reservoir or an overhead tank, and it comes to my home using an intricate network of connected pipes.
All that I can see is hose I attached to the outlet in my backyard. How do I know for sure there is that network of pipes that connect to this hose for water to come out? The answer is, it must be there since I am getting and seeing water coming out in my backyard. I don’t know how it is connected. I have no idea how complex that system might be that is bringing water to my home. But it must be there. How else would I get water in my backyard?
If I am feeling water on my end, it must be there on the other end. Similar to that, if I am feeling love, happiness, warmth, peace at least some of the time, it must be there.
I realize I am the Atma with all the peace and harmony and vibrant energy. How can my physical being tap into that in the middle of my day to day life, my relationships? Smrutiji went through several examples and stories. While navigating through it all during the workshop, I jotted down a few ideas for me to experiment:
- Find reasons to smile even if the storyline might not be as friendly. Sport a smile in a trying situation, maybe that will help me detach from the story even if momentarily. Let a tiny bit of water come out of “my hose,” at least a few droplets when the situation is cut and dry.
- Take time to understand people, try to feel it like they do. I knew a bit about empathy and had heard zillion times the Gujarati word – Samvedanshilta. I never connected them until I attended the workshop and heard from Smrutiji. Thinking about it now, Brene Brown’s fun video clip on “empathy is feeling with people” drove it home for me this time.
- Give people their own space. If I am worked up in the drama of my life, others could be as well.
- Whenever I am able, try to slow it down and observe how “movies of my life” are impacting me. Take a step back and reflect. See the movies, maybe from the perspective of others.
In the meantime, I let my droplets drip. 🙂