Anand Ashram Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

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The exterior of the grounds breathtaking, so loved, so nurtured, so cared for.   A tiny hut nestled into the greenery with beautiful gardens surrounding the property.  A small bed, enough room to spread out my pack and all the things inside, an outdoor bathroom complete with greenery peeking over the bamboo walls, two small gardens lush and vibrant, right in the bathroom!  A shower outside, it is amazing to be looking up at palm trees, the blue sky, the sun and the stars as I shower each day, incredible really.  A toilet with a spray hose attached to the wall and a lush garden beside next to that, at first I thought oh my gawd you can water the garden while you pee.  It took me a few days to realize that the spray hose is for your woo hoo.  Most bathrooms in Bali don’t have toilet paper just the spray hose, a less extravagant bidet.

A private walking path with circular stones leading to my home … each time I walk along this tiny path I am in awe of the beauty surrounding me and I am filled with gratitude. Sometimes I pinch myself, unable to believe that I am here surrounded with all this beauty.

Greenery, flowers and water adorn every corner of this precious piece of property, everywhere you look is beauty, its peace, its serenity, its gorgeous.

Beauty abound.

In the middle of all this beauty is something even more spectacular, The Bodhichitta Meditation Hall, an all purpose space energized by meditation and yoga.  Bodhichitta meaning “awakened” or “enlightened”; a constant reminder of the journey ahead.

The Chapel of Mother Goddess is at the top of a long winding staircase, each step leaving at lease one foot of space to climb to the next step, reminding me each time I take the next step that I am climbing each and every day to a higher state of consciousness, climbing the ladder of enlightenment, shaking myself awake a little more with each intricate step is in this amazing journey I am on.

The Chapel of Mother Goddess, a place of inner spiritual worship and meditation.  It’s sanctity maintained at all times,  cleanliness and silence are encouraged upon entering this sacred space.  The Chapel is entirely constructed of recycled wood, the flooring made of century old wooden planks from the old gauge railway tracks, its pristine, immaculate.

The Mantra and Crystal energized pool is available for swimming although an ordinary swim in not what you will experience.  A cool, clean pool for refreshment, cooling off, balancing energy.  At one end of the pool stand three goddesses, Ganga,  Yamuna and Saraswati continuously pouring holy into this energizing pool.

Water is the source of life, the Mother of all existence. Water represents birth, life and fertility. The Goddess as Mother Nature Herself is the Mistress of Water.  The three goddesses bestowing their blessing on this energizing pool.

The goddess Ganga is a representation of the the Ganges river which is considered the most sacred river of the Hindu Mythology.  Ganga is the most revered river in the world. The Ganges is thought to take away all sins, bathing in the river on special occasions causes remission of sins and facilitates the attainment of salvation.  It is considered that Ganga bestows blessings of the highest order. People come from far and near to immerse the ashes of their kin in the waters of Ganga, with a belief that the ashes would go to heaven. The water of Ganga, is regarded as the most pure and sacred water on this earth, used in various religious ceremonies of Hindus.

The goddess of Yamuna is the Hindu Goddess of the river Yamuna. She is the daughter of Surya, the sun God, and his wife Saranya, Goddess of the dawn and clouds. Surya and Saranya had three children—Yamuna, her twin brother Yama, and another son named Manu. Saranya could not stand the intense nature of her husband and decided to divorce him, leaving in her shadow, Chaaya, as her children’s step-mother. Chaaya had a son of her own with Surya, and ignored the other children. This made Yama very angry, and he threatened Chaaya.  Chaaya in turn cursed Yama and even his father could not save him from the curse.  He became the God of death, leaving his family to rule over the underworld.  Yamuna was devastated by the loss of her brother, and she wept and wept. Her tears became the river Yamuna, and it is said that anyone who bathes in the river will be spared a painful death. Yamuna is also known as Yami, Jamunaji, and Yamini, which means “night” in Sanskrit. (http://www.goddessaday.com/hindu/yamuna)

The goddess of Saraswati (the goddess of knowledge and music) representing the totality of human experience.  She is the very personification of power and beauty.  She is depicted as the beautiful lady with four arms, the four pillars of the structure of human life, righteousness, prosperity, willpower and ultimate freedom.

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A daily schedule is offered to dive deep into the very core of your Being and experience the meditative state of mind.

6:00am Morning chanting (Puja)

6:30am Fire Ceremony (Agnihotra)

7:00am Yoga

8:00am Breakfast

12:00pm Noon chanting

3:00pm Meditation

6:00pm Evening chanting

 

There are special evening programs on Wednesday, devotional singing and Thursday, guided inner journey meditation and Saturday night is spiritual movie night.  Sunday evenings are open for spiritual dialogue giving everyone the chance to dialogue with Swami Anand Krishna.

All the programs help you step a little closer to yourself, the chanting vibrates through my body and stays with me long after the actual chanting has finished.  The singing is so joyful, everyone sings together with a few main singers with microphones to smooth out the rough edges, Swami Anand Krishna leads a beautiful meditation on Thursday evening bringing us into a deep meditative state using breath, body awareness, chanting and yoga nidra.  It is the most all encompassing meditations I have ever experienced.  Beautiful.

The Ashram is open for those pilgrams or spiritual travellers who intend to devote themselves to the inner journey – looks like I found the right place.  As in any spiritual community there are self discipline tools that are in place to help the spiritual seeker in their journey within.   It is encouraged that while staying at the Ashram pilgrams attend the daily activities, dress in a modest fashion, like the Indian kurta pajama and long sleeve loose fitting shirt which hangs down to the knees.  Truth, non-violence, self-discipline and polite etiquette are required while staying at the Ashram.

I have found a place to call home for the next month, everything just feels right, everything just clicked for me, all the pieces of the puzzle have come together, my mind, my body and my soul are content.  I find a deep tiredness had set upon me allowing all of my guards to come down as I relish in the deep sense of safety, unconditional love, and deep connections.

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In the 6 days that I have been here I have made some deep connections with people that I will call friends for the rest of my days.  Travelling alone is an experience like no other; allowing the opportunity to meet people at every turn in the road, it creates a space for openness, sharing and connection.  While in a conversation today I pondered the question -why is it that when we are travelling it is natural to sit with someone or walk up to someone and start a conversation, yet when at home we walk past each other like robots, like zombies, like enemies?

I couldn’t help imagine what a wonderful world we could live in if everyone just took the time to acknowledge the other human beings around them with a smile, eye contact, perhaps even a hello; imagine what could happen if we started a conversation with a complete stranger.  So far on this journey I have been fortunate enough to meet people from many other countries from all around the world, we are all the same on the inside. We may speak different languages, we may live on the opposite side of the world with completely different conditioning but when it comes right down to it we all want the same thing – connection.  Human beings are wired for connection.  We want to be acknowledged, we want to be accepted, we want to be appreciated, we want to receive attention and we want affection.  Connection.

A simple acknowledgement, we all want it so why not practice giving it?

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I behave and think in loving ways to all people for I know that which I give out returns to me multiplied.  (Louise Hay).

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Today reach out and make someone’s day a little brighter, connect with someone.

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We are fed each day breakfast and lunch and our cook Vike Victoria Damayanti is the most amazing at his craft .  He serves us a vegetarian diet consisting of many flavours from around the world.  Breakfast is a heavy meal often the rice and noodles, pancakes, french toast, soups, eggs boiling in spices.  Every meal I have been blessed with at the Ashram has been delicious and tantalizing in every way.  A great big thank you to Vike for your cooking and your great big gregarious personality that warms my heart.

 

 

 

 

 

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