First day in India
India has changed a lot since my last trip here five years ago. The airport is very modern as any Western country with all the typical fashion design stores with designer goods. The roads have improved as well. New highways have been built and you don’t see so many cows on the road. It appears closer to the modern world,although that is a mixed blessing here. My local friends tell me that some people buy two bedroom condos for a million dollars and have to work so much they have no time for family or spiritual practice
My first day was very eventful. It began with the very practical: getting a local cell phone and a SIM card for my iPad. I am amazed at the low cost. I got a basic Nokia phone for $20 and a service plan for it, a sim chip for the iPad and a 3G connection for 800 rupees, that is about $15. (I am now at the Gandhi University/Gain Irrigation Campus and the connection is not as stable as it was in Delhi. Everything worked great there, but here not so much. It is 9:30 PM local time and the internet connection is great but not so good for email. I just added this on Friday evening) That sure beat AT&T international rates. After taking care of my worldly needs for high tech communication I went to the YSS. ashram. I was able to spend some time in their meditation room. Since I and Prasad, my tour guide, were the only ones in the room, I played the harmonium and chanted for an hour. I then had the opportunity to meet with the senior Swami, Amarananda. He was very sweet and gave us a waking tour. Yoganandaji’s presence was very strong there and the afternoon left me feeling very nurtured and joyful.
The next stop was at the huge ashram of Swaminarana. He was alive in 870 BC and was a Buddha/Christlike figure who became fully enlightened as a child. His property is enormous and has many different multiple shows explaining his history, mission and the legacy of India. There was a light, water and sound show outside in an area that seemed like the size of four football fields. There were a few thousand people and the spiritual vibration was very strong.
These two trips were a perfect way to prepare for the week.
I made the flight down to Aurangabad and I and 7 other people made the four hour van ride to the University. It was a typical Indian travel adventure. The road was narrow with traffic in every lane coming head on until the last moment. The last two hours were after the sunset so the added challenge of darkness created more stress for some. Some were exhausted from the long trip from Africa and slept most of the way. Others stayed awake and watched with anticipation as the cars, scooters, busses, trucks and oxen driven carts made their dance through the night. We did see one young man with a head injury on the side of the road being administered to. It is a dangerous and treacherous place to walk or drive. We were all very happy to arrive alive, safe and sound.
The few people I met on the bus were mostly from Africa. One man, David French, is from Colorado. He has an NGO working with leadership programs for youth. They all seemed extremely nice, very smart and joyful. I believe this week will be a very successful experience for all attending.
I passed on the 9 O’clock dinner tonight. It is now 11 O’clock and I am in my room which is very nice, quiet and has a private bathroom. The Jain Irrigation training center, which is hosting this event, is quite expansive, with beautiful landscaping and clean architecture. Tomorrow is a free day and the conference begins on Saturday.
It is 4:00 AM and I am wake. I can feel the immensity of the silence. I am drawn into meditation and this stillness provides an avenue for a deeper look into my inner life and the areas of my ego that are present and resist dissolving into a deeper stillness. It is impossible to just go back to sleep because it took such a great effort to get here, it seems like a waste to throw it away with sleep. An hour meditation at 4:00 AM in this pristine environment to too good to pass up. We are out in the country on the 1000 acre property of the Jain Irrigation System. They are the founding supporters of the Gandhi University. There is very little static in the subtle realms.
We had a nice walking tour around the property and it provided us an opportunity to meet each other. There are many very inspired young men and women from Africa (Cameroon, Nigeria, Ghana) with a desire to learn and create avenues for business and agricultural development back home.
Adeyemi Damilare, Managing Director of Tender Heart Care Services is from Nigeria. He teaches at the University and is very eager to obtain more psychological training in coaching and leadership development. We have begun the discussion to create a program for him in which he can be certified and help others be more successful in their business development. We also began discussing the important to some universal approach to spirituality that would help people learn meditation, breathing and other skills to open their hearts, deeper their intuition, and empower them to be more effective in helping others. He was very excited to have a relationship with Coaching the Global Village and is eager to have us work with him.
As a note on coaching it is interesting that he suggest I send an email to him and outline our program. I am a big believer in developing a program based upon an individual’s needs. I suggested we talk and he tell me what he needs and what he wants to accomplish and we will design a program for him. It was the beginning of the coaching process. He was very clear that he wanted some type of certification because that is the only way he will be respected for what he has learned.
I had lunch with two lovely young women from Nigeria. We talked about women’s issues and the process of women’s development in that country. There were very positive and felt that gains were being made.
The Jain Irrigation System is an enormous corporation that is involved in many different programs, products, and projects from solar energy, food production, organic fertilizers, and irrigations systems. Their dried onions are in the pizzas at McDonalds.
My overall impression is that this is a group of very bright and eager young people. I think the next week will be very fruitful for them and I look forward to our continuing relationships over the years. There are very open to the coaching model and want to work together for support. The time here has been a lot of fun and we are only in the first day.
I am getting a lot of exercise as my room is far away from the dining hall and meeting area. It is a good ten minute walk up a steep hill. Given all the sitting on the airplane to get here, I am very happy to be able to do so much walking.
Tomorrow we have our first day. I look forward to it.