Asanga participated in the recent Path of Love Holiday in Corfu and we asked him to write about this ‘path’
I have always had a deep longing to realize my full potential, and had reached a cross roads in my life since my long time friend, lover and soul mate left her body 9 months before.
Even so, I had no plans to do this process; it was not in my consciousness, but while visiting the Croydon Hall website to check out the dates of their UK Summer Festival the first thing I saw was that Path of Love was happening there. Immediately I knew I was going to do it. It was as if here was my secret path that had been patiently waiting to be recognised when the time was right.
I really had no idea what to expect but suspected I would have to expose aspects of myself that I do not usually share with friends, let alone strangers. What I have found is that sharing such stuff in our small groups was a relief and really no big deal, when done in a loving, supportive structure. I learned a new self-respect and found an inner strength to be true and authentic, which I did not know I had before. And to listen to other people sharing their stuff is to realise we are all in the same boat, which is both comforting and encouraging, as other’s feelings triggered my own.
There were 33 participants, divided into 3 small groups. There was probably an equal number of helpers.
Everyone’s love and support, both from the facilitators and other group members, was very nourishing. As the week went by our small group gelled together more and more with a developing sense of unconditional love. It was truly amazing to see how all our faces changed: becoming softer, open and looking younger. I could see when looking at another person with no barrier in between – just the act of looking – how beautiful people are.
I recently received from one of the staff some of the essential qualities reflected by me, and our group, on the last day. I had forgotten most of them and to be reminded was mind blowing. If ever I get into self-doubt, I just have to read them again.
Here are some:
“I feel the spirit of the mountains, looking into your eyes and I loved sharing the dance with you.”
“I see and love the tiger in you, when I was there with you, your presence is really something, I sensed a deep silence in you.”
“Few men have your strong masculine energy and a soft tenderness. I feel both in you and am nourished by my contact with you.”
“I see a beautiful man that has discovered that love is not finished. So much to live for, it gives me great hope.”
“I honor your courage and that you have let your sensitivity come out, your surrender.”
“I wanted to choose you as my buddy… when I looked in your eyes I drowned in the emptiness and great silence, and I go very, very deep.”
“I respect that when I am with you, we two disappear and we are one”
I said how touched I was by all the support, and how I had discovered a new energy and joy for life, and how much fun I can have – especially how much fun. I cannot remember the last time I had so much fun.
Now I have to say something about the two leaders, Rafia and Turiya. They both have many years experience of working in many different ways in many groups, yet they are nothing like the group leaders I had personal experience of in the 70s and 80s. These are two extraordinarily ordinary human beings, full of love and compassion who are not afraid to show their humanity, and vulnerability. They inspired total trust in us. This can equally be said about the various small group facilitators.
The use of music combined with listening to and following what the body wants to do in the process, is a very powerful tool for breaking through blocks and making connections between repetitive counter-productive behavior patterns and suppressed early experiences. Once the feelings around those experiences are realized there is no longer a need for the patterns to be continued. This is how Path of Love is a life changing process.
And what is so important is that the process is ongoing: it does not end when everyone goes back to their normal day to day lives. We have been provided with tools for survival and growth, to use as appropriate. In the immediate post-group period everyone has a five-day program of integration exercises to work with, to assist a smooth re-entry into our daily lives. Facilitators are available by e-mail or Skype to provide on-going support if needed, when there is contraction from the openness that has been awakened. Also having bonded so deeply through close sharing the members of each small group inevitably stay in touch and provide each other with support. We even have plans to meet up from time to time.
Path of Love itself is an ongoing evolving, organic process. So, whoever does the next one will be doing “the best ever.”
This amazing family that we have become part of continues to expand, and spread love wherever we go. This month the first ever POL summer celebration retreat was held over six days in Buddha Hall on Corfu, attended by 70 people, including Miten, Deva Premal and Manose, who played for us on three mornings when we sang our hearts out. It was a very happy, joyful occasion, marked by the warmth of the celestial sunshine together with the radiance of the internal sunshine from our hearts. More friendships were made.
So, I have discovered what a beautiful expansive heart I have, and can integrate that into my everyday life and work situations. I have a new respect for this body as a temple and take better care of it. My life is relaxed, free of old tensions, anxieties and fears. I have made new deep, loving connections with others, arising out of my inner strength. Old patterns of jealousy, fear of rejection and abandonment, and guilt, have little power over me now. Here is a comment from a friend from America: “So nice to talk to you, you sound so good… happy and alive.”
Extracts from the Path of Love website:
The Path of Love is an intensive, loving and liberating process in which participants are supported to passionately focus on their sincere desire and longing to awaken and realize their full human and spiritual potential. Our longing, courageously combined with a love for the Truth and an inner yearning for peace provides clear inner guidance and direction for spiritual unfoldment. The longing of the heart is benevolent and as it is oriented towards truth, it perfectly reveals all the inner layers of identification, concepts, beliefs and emotionally charged defensive positions that keep us from directly experiencing our True Nature.
By honestly and compassionately facing these layers, the heart opens profoundly into the experience of Love. This opening reveals the deeper meaning and purpose of our lives, directing us to realize our Essence and connection to the Divine. This Path of Love process, taken with a firm, focused intention and sincere longing for Freedom, presents the possibility for the participant to have a significant and lasting breakthrough and shift in consciousness.
Rafia says, “The Path of Love is the fastest, deepest vehicle for transformation that I know of. Nothing else I have experienced addresses so profoundly and directly the existential situation of the seeker for truth, and human beings today.”
Asanga has been a sannyasin for 36 years. He lives in an old stone farmhouse on a 14 acre smallholding in N. Wales, with meadows and woodland, surrounded by sheep, who are his only neighbors. It is a place of peace and natural beauty between the sea and the mountains, both of which stimulate and satisfy his twin passions: rock climbing and wild ocean swimming. The beauty supports his love of painting and photography.
He works as a doctor assessing client’s levels of ill health and disability for various government benefit payments. He used to work in Psychiatry and Family Medicine but these days has a minimalist approach to medical intervention, preferring to inspire himself and others to take control and responsibility for one’s health and life in general.