Newsletter October 2015
On my way home... through Anahata.
The 'heart chakra' is an unmissable psychological key to emotional intelligence and higher awareness, a central point in spiritual development. As in theory, so in real life has Anahata been an important milestone on my journey. I will forever be grateful for the teachings that were shared, the space for learning and growth and the support in the tumultuous process of adapting my own lifestyle to a more mindful path. If anyone would have told me a year ago “you will be writing your first novel, living in ashrams, studying yoga and living according to permaculture principles a year from now”, I would probably not have believed them. But I am happy to say that yoga has found me and it's been a transformational journey ever since.
At the moment I am living in Melbourne, hosted by one of Anahata's visitors, and have found a job as a chef in a Bhakti Yoga inspired Vegan restaurant. An opportunity I would not have been able to engage with without the seven month experience as a Kitchen Coordinator at Anahata. I have started the second module of the two year degree of Yogic Studies and am committed to completing the course. My daily Sadhana (practice) is my strongest tool in overcoming habits from the past and coming to peace with where I am at in life. However, more crucial is knowing that a yogic family and community lives all over the world and they all, some way or another connect back to the experiences and people at Anahata, a wondrous mystical realisation.
“Most of us take our lifestyle for granted, whether we agree with its demands or not. It's uncommon and a bit unpleasant to consider that the way we shape our life might be quite random. Modern day cultural rituals and the modalities of every day life have very little to do with what is 'necessary', let alone with what is 'good' for us. At an ashram however, life is structured in such a way that it automatically amplifies your personal development, if of course you are willing and able to adapt your past lifestyle to yogic principles.
Anahata was a unique place, with an unusual balance between spiritual doctrine, retreat opportunity, a framework for education, permaculture, private business and small community – you could say family- life. All these sometimes contradicting aspects were continuously challenging each other, generating learning for whoever came, with whatever purpose, whether it was people involved in central management or daytime visitors.” ('On my way home', Christoffel Hendrickx)
For those who want to read more of my travels and yogic path, I have embedded my real life story in an international love story and philosophical novel, to be finished and published at Balboa Press in about a year. I am currently crowd-funding to make this dream come true. You can support me in my first steps as a professional writer by donation when visiting the following web-page: http://www.gofundme.com/CH_onmywayhome
Om and Prem
1. What initially drew you to come to Anahata?
It was mostly coincidence that brought me there but I was definitely looking for a place to be closer to nature and to be supported by a community in doing spiritual practice. As soon as I had seen a few pictures and read about the daily activities I decided this would be a good place to work on myself although I had never expected it would suit me so much that I would stay for so long.
2. What inspired you to pursue Yogic Studies?
It was Swami Karma Karuna who proposed that I do Yogic Studies but at that time I hadn't worked through my university experiences yet and I had a strong resistance against any type of study. It was after living the lifestyle and breathing the knowledge that I realised that immersing myself further in study would help me to uphold my Sadhana (personal practice) and progress on a path of growth. It was a way to implement a structure in my life and have a guiding source of teachers and students to strengthen my learning.
3. What was one of the most important aspects of your experience at Anahata?
From the book:
"In those rare nights that I would be alone in Rishidam, accompanied by the crackling fire and the rain drumming on the roof, I'd watch the dance moves of my mood: steps of loneliness, turns of gratitude, shuffles of connectedness with nature, and twists with despair and madness. The closest I came to inner peace was while reading "The Tibetan book of Living and Dying" by candle light, or chanting verses of "Sundarya Lahari" before bed time. That was where I needed to be, on the edge of reason, far from anything I wanted to distract myself with and close to the essential emptiness and fullness of simple life: accepting death and devoting to a higher purpose and force. Often I wouldn't catch sleep until I had wandered deeply into the caves of my mind and listened elaborately to it's discussions. I'd slip into the darkness of self, distancing myself more and more from the ongoing shapeshifting of awareness, knowing I'd find the energy to get up before sunrise for Sadhana and Karma Yoga the next morning." ('On my way home', Christoffel Hendrickx)
4. Can you describe how the environment of Anahata's location had an effect on your experience?
From the book:
"At Anahata the focus on transformation of the continuous practices is so central that I finally find the space and time to manifest the necessary change. The breath-taking beauty of Golden Bay and the breath-enhancing practices of Swami Karma Karuna in the Satyananda tradition are the perfect soil for my roots to finally ground, in between the beech trees and the veggie patches. As for now, this is my home. I don't have to be here, I don't need to be here, I don't even want to be here necessarily. This is just how it has come to be, so this is how I will let it be. Going with the flow like the water to the ocean, eventually always being a part of the ocean. I have no more reason to run away or seek a better life elsewhere. This is real life, with real people, real food, real work, real practice, real study, real conversation, real problems and real solutions." ('On my way home', Christoffel Hendrickx)
If you resonated with the above excerpts from the book and to support Christoffel in his work to complete and publish "On my way home", please visit http://www.gofundme.com/CH_onmywayhome