SABRAS – MERGING INTO ONENESS
Retreat Venue: Gandhi Ashram, Ahmedabad, India
come, let’s fall in love again
let’s turn all the dirt in this world to shiny gold
come, let’s be a new spring a love reborn
find our aroma, from the essence of all who emit heavenly fragrance
like a fresh tree, bloom and spread all the blessings
right from inside
What would our most fearless experiments of love look like, if our lifespan extended over ten thousand years?
If death were not a fear, but a doorway to a greater life, what values would we choose to embody in this life? What soul nourishing and life-giving activities would we participate in?
What kind of a new future would we dare to co-create together as a legacy for the future generations, from whom we have borrowed our precious Earth-time?
Sabras is a week-long residential retreat designed around exploring deeper nuances of these soul searching questions in the sacred space of Gandhi Ashram, Ahmedabad, India.
ESSENCE OF SABRAS
Sabras (सब-रस), in Hindi, stands as a metaphor for salt, which enhances the taste of food by dissolving into it. While we know that salt is essential for flavour, its value lies in its appropriate usage. It is significant only to the extent that it brings out the flavour of food; excess salt can mar the taste of the entire preparation. Its beauty also lies in its invisibility. Only when salt is missing in the food, do we recognize its absence. Its presence in the right amount goes undetected. This paradoxical characteristic of distinction and invisibility is what allows salt to be called ‘sab-ras’, that which enhances the flavour of whichever food it is added to.
Extending this metaphor to human beings, we are all designed in a way that our individuality has the potential to offer gifts to those around us, when in full alignment with our personal well-being. The closer we get to this unique sense of individuality within us, the more we are able to experience the world as a continuously new emergence. The challenge then, in encountering the world through individuality, is to always meet it through what we are coming-to-be, which is an ongoing evolution towards an unknown mystery. Where this individual mystery touches the collective fabric, even momentarily, there exists the possibility of a complete change in one’s relationship with others. It is an individuality that has come alive in a unique way through one’s personal connection with divinity, now manifesting itself in the form of a tangible service to others, without diminishing itself. Herein lies the balance between individuality and service, in the spirit of trusteeship to the whole, that Mahatma Gandhi had envisioned over a century ago.
If you resonate with this seed thought, we invite you to join us on this dream of co-creating a new collective future, by participating in a week-long exploration of what it means to be fearlessly alive as an individual today, in service to the whole.
How can we aspire to become like salt (sabras) so that our individual gifts can blossom fully and be offered in service to the communities we find ourselves engaged in?
With this question in mind, our intention over the five days of retreat, will be to delve into the following areas:
Self-Identity: To deepen our understanding of our individual self in such a way that we can develop personal practices that allow us to connect with our true nature more consciously and in a disciplined way.
Values: To deepen our understanding of Gandhian values, since we are located at the sacred space where the seed of individual liberty in service to the whole was sown by this great soul; to reflect on how those values are still alive and relevant to our current times.
Creative Expression: To hold space for the creative expression of our unique personal gifts and how to hone them in such a way as to become an instrument of service to others.
Community Engagement: To explore how we can deepen our capacity to serve by visiting various communities and volunteering in activities that help us move closer to the spirit of oneness that underlies our external differences.
Exploring Interconnection: To hold space for silence, prayers, nature walks, cooking together, manual labour (safai and organic farming), movie nights, and circles of sharing where a deeper connection can be experienced with ourselves, others and nature.
FLOW OF DAILY EVENTS
Inner-Outer Balance: The retreat is designed in a way that inner silence can be balanced with external activities so that a wholesome experience of oneness can be felt, in keeping with each individual’s unique make-up.
Daily Schedule: Day starts with Prabhat Pheri around the Ashram. This will be followed by silence, prayers, yoga/exercise, manual labour (safai and organic farming) and collectively cooking meals.
Field Visits: Apart from some fixed activities everyday, community visits will vary on a day-to-day basis. Sufficient time will be allowed for self-reflection and group sharings in the midst of all activities, so that our participation with the world stems from a mindful connection with ourselves.
Social Communication: During the entire week, we request that participants limit their social communication with the outside world as much as possible, so that they can fully immerse into their ‘sabras’ experience and find a deeper connection with themselves.
This retreat is a gift we are giving to ourselves with an intention to support each other’s individual journeys. We will be hosted within the Gandhi Ashram premises with all needed facilities. Any contribution to cover the cost of logistics and to support the upkeep of the place will be very helpful.
In order to experience a deeper interconnection, we are limiting the number of participants for this retreat to 11 pilgrims. So invitation will be on a first-come-first basis. We also suggest that you participate alone without a friend or a partner as it will help you connect with yourself and others more deeply.
Here’s a glimpse from our recently completed retreat