A potluck dinner at Francis Villa after the Saturday evening meditation in the Corfu Buddha Hall, end November 2010.
During our last potluck dinner after the Saturday evening meditation (with live music, of course) Shivananda, with his steady hand, took some photos to show off our ‘off season’ crew. On the first picture you will see on the right Vasanti, and behind her Michel who have built the very Buddha Hall where we come together to meditate. They are also the owners of Villa Francis which is on the same grounds and has a humongous dining room. It always reminds me of an ancient castle in Tuscany because of its high ceilings, the fire place and the marble stairs.
On the left side of the table you see Samada in conversation with Udi. We could well say that this gathering of friends started with Samada being invited by Anadi from Alexis Zorbas. She came to Corfu for a little holiday to recover from an illness –over 10 years ago. Her coming here with her beloved Loki (from New Zealand) avalanched numerous other Germans to head south, e.g. her best friend Ganga. Samada is trained to give Journey sessions, a process created by Brandon Bays. She often leaves the island to translate (simultaneously) Brandon’s seminars in German speaking countries.
Udi, short for Udigama, is also an old-timer, and beats everybody by seniority: the first time he came here was over 20 years ago. He is our resident percussionist without whom we could not imagine the live music for the evening meditations; he is also a great cook, a body worker (Breuss-Dorn massages) and a painter.
At the end of the table we see Ganga, whom we all know for her Satori groups which she gives all over the world. I am still to find a country she has never been to! She often combines the Satori process with other techniques such as Gurdjieff Dances, Qi Gong, but also clowning, calligraphy and Journey work. But not everybody knows about her other passions, namely calligraphy (about which she is going to write for us), gardening and – we all profit from it – cooking and baking. She even makes tofu for us!
Shivananda is also part of this island as are the cypresses around the house. He paints, and when the canvases run out, he paints on beautifully shaped pebbles or stranded toys washed up on the beaches. Shivananda is also our local bard who knows the chords and lyrics of virtually all sannyas songs, but we never need to gag him or tie him to the pole. He knows when to sing and when not to sing. As a graphic designer he has countless CD covers (some for New Earth Records) and book covers under his belt. He is now completing the new edition of Sarita’s book ‘Divine Sexuality’ which will be published by Findhorn next year. I saw the final drafts: an incredible feat because each page has been individually designed.
About Rajendra we all know that he is an architect (he is the one who designed the Corfu Buddha Hall) and we now also know him to be a classical pianist and that he owns a boat. He often hangs out with Sandesh and during the day they cruise around town in Rajendra’s big estate car, wearing their caps, and could easily be mistaken as two old hippies.
Daya and Sandesh are the folks who created Wild Quest in Bimini, the meditation program based on swimming with wild dolphins. This summer they came to Corfu and are still here. Daya helped Adri in the kitchen and because of the requirements of the three-week Yoga Training now knows everything about Ayurvedic cooking. Daya and Sandesh were meant to leave this week to return to England, but Sandesh got a cold (always a sign that we don’t want to go ahead with a bad plan! – you can see him warming up at the fire) and the weather forecast is so unattractive for the UK that they decided to stay longer. This is good news for us: we will go on with the Quantum Breath classes Daya holds for us on Sunday mornings. This hypnosis and breathing technique was developed by Santosh. It reminds me of Leonard Orr’s rebirthing, but it adds that quality of awareness that does not allow us to fall into a catharsis but helps us to work through layer after layer. I always feel energised, refreshed each time. Thanks for staying on, Daya!
The main cook in the Corfu Buddha Hall this summer was Adri, who is originally from Israel. Those who have been to Croydon Hall in England in recent years have met him there and appreciated his vegetarian meals. On Saturday evening the meals were open to us locals after attending the evening meditation, which was a special treat. I am always happily surprised by the inventiveness, aesthetic and caring quality of his food.
The girl next to him – on the computer – is Sasha. She has been assisting Vasanti in the running of Buddha Hall during this first season and I think they both did a good job together as she is still smiling… This winter she will spend some months in her native Bulgaria where she is studying for her Child Education degree. Although the season is over – they are also still here!
This summer’s Satori & Qi Gong attracted Niskriya who then spent big part of the summer here. She is an actress and singing teacher from Athens. Once a month she gives a workshop in Corfu town, a good excuse to come and visit us in Arillas and attend the evening meditation and Daya’s class. I hope I will make it to her Greek classes next summer – she teaches her native language with songs!
Last but not least Nity (Nityanando) – you recognised him! He came this summer to participate in Deva Premal and Miten’s mantra singing workshop – and never left. He is great company and it appears he is putting down a base as he is talking to lawyers and construction workers; yet he still goes back to Boulder, CO, where he is a volunteer in hospice work there. One of his projects is that of creating a worldwide network of carers for the dying. He thinks that most people prefer to die in their own home, and for that they, and their family/loved ones can be supported with practical and spiritual help. We will see how this will materialise…
Corfu Buddha Hall: corfubuddhahall.info
Interview with Vasanti: oshonews.com