This year, I signed up for an intensive study program with Tony Robbins. I was gifted one of the greatest gems of the universe (in my opinion) which is to grow and learn with a unique group of students from all over the world to delve into subjects that affect the human heart, soul and body. Even though Tony Robbins is not my Guru, he certainly is a master of channeling teachings of the universe to his students in a way that’s fun, engaging and simply makes you want to be the best version of yourself. Some of the topics of the year of study include: how to master our emotional state; relationships; health; NLP; how to break a 2 inch board of wood to create breakthroughs in life; leadership skills; meditation; how to live in a beautiful state; and ways to create abundance and wealth. These life lessons are taught through cds, dvds, seminars and a couple of special trips.
For one of our special trips within the course of this program, I packed my bags and headed with two hundred other developing souls, for a week, to a place far away: India. My mission was to see what life lessons were to be learned in the Far East that could change my life and support my child, family, loved ones and my work at my non profit Save 1 Person (save1person.org). At Save1person, each week, we highlight one person in the media who needs a medical miracle and we ask audiences worldwide to save a life. I discovered, perhaps, the biggest lesson of all, that sometimes saving a life consists of shifting the meaning attached to our perception of life’s events, and sometimes saving a life is simply the way we process what’s standing in front of us. So, here I share with you some of the jewels I took home during my exploration of India.
The main topic of exploration, during the week, was in mind, body and spirit. We were given tools to help us live in a beautiful state and end suffering.
You can experience anything and still be happy. Yes, I said anything, easier said than done, nevertheless, we were given different approaches this week to support us in our blissful state and to bring us back to our essence. Some of the tools shared with us this week were: when we get into an upset interrupt our pattern and condition ourselves to see the world differently. We were taught: chanting; the twin heart meditation; laughing yoga; breathing by the ice man who defies science through his simple breathing practices; incantations and heart breathing; to have an inquiry into the truth of the matter (which is what truth will set you free, i.e., what’s the highest good in this situation); to change your disempowering story to an empowering story, and then to take immediate action. We were also introduced to the work of Bryon Katie in the “Judge Your Neighbor” work sheet. Basically, it’s a one page work sheet that makes you look at a stressful situation and you see how you are 100 percent accountable for the situation. If you are accountable you can’t be angry. It takes away the negative energy you feel as a result of this situation.
For me, I had one of my biggest breakthrough moments during a meditation. The meditations and chanting were simply amazing. They calmed my mind and body and let my mind go places that were long forgotten. My mind wandered during one of the meditations to a horrific experience that turned out to create the biggest blessing for myself and others. Lately, I’ve been challenged as a single mother to bring the best to my son, and at times not knowing the best approach has left me frustrated. During my meditation my mind wandered to August 9, 2001 when I was a block away from a suicide bomber in Israel that killed 18 people and tears filled my eyes. In that moment, my life changed, my body froze and my brain was rewired to see what is really important in life. During this meditation there were tears of reclaiming my purpose, and my WHY. My why of why I’m a mother, and why I started my non profit, Save 1 Person (Save1person.org). Many years later, the intensity of that moment has faded. During the meditation I experienced that explosion all over again as if it were happening now. In that moment my desire to create a family and have a child was a must, and my desire to make a difference in the world by saving lives in the media became a must as well. This meditation reawakened that experience and had me travel back in time to remind me of my life’s purpose. It was quite a powerful experience to go back in time and feel the same sensations with the same awakening on that fateful day.
Of course we also learn and grow from experiencing different activities. Some of our insights to life came from unusual events, such as, what can we learn from a team of people playing polo on a camel’s back!
I saw animals who really wanted to move on their own time and were miffed when they had to turn around to chase a ball. The announcer of the camel polo race really was quite good and motivated the players to take on the challenge full heartedly. I saw happiness from the silliest of events. We were all in beautiful states cheering on our teams. I also experienced riding on an elephant’s back going up to a palace. I must admit it wasn’t dangerous yet that did not stop me from holding on with dear life.
Another activity we participated in was learning to dance to the different rhythms in life, and there’s a rhythm even in chaos. One step forward one step back, a step to the side and we learn all of life is learning to dance through the different cycles of our lives. The dancing rhythms we experienced in seminar reminded me of the streets of Varanasi, India. I have never seen driving like this, cars and bikes and motorcycles were weaving in and out of traffic. It seemed car after car was heading towards you until a sudden swerve saved you from a collision. And everyone on the road seemed to know how to dance in the chaos of the traffic. There was no upset or road rage. There was simply an understanding of the dance of the streets.
We were taken on a bicycle buggy to one of our destinations and we saw how people lived. I saw some people living in what looked like wooden boxes; pigs and dogs eating the debris on the streets; cows blocking traffic and just hanging out as if it were their home and you were a mere inconvenience to them. The Hindus believe that a cow’s next reincarnation will be a person so they don’t want to interrupt the reincarnation process.
One of my favorite moments on the trip was the night of the blessing. I love getting blessings when I’m on the streets of Manhattan, and when I give a dollar to a homeless man and he offers a g-d bless you, I always take on the blessing with a heartfelt amen. I’ve been told you never know who has the special blessing power and you can take it from everywhere. For various challenging times in my life I’ve flown to Israel or Montreal for a blessing so when we went to the blessing ceremony in India one night I thought WOW. What I did not expect was something out of a fairytale. First, Tony and Sage Robbins had outfits made for us for this ceremony. It was a blast to dress up in traditional Indian garb. On the evening of the blessing cars picked us up at the hotel and drove us to a palace. Elephants and camels dressed in costumes greeted us. And we were escorted to the garden which was about a 10 minute walk from where we arrived.
During our walk there the path was lit with candles and trumpet players; the path had a red carpet. Rose petals were being thrown at us throughout the walk. When we arrived there was beautiful music and chants playing over the speakers, and there were eight people in the front giving the blessing. I wasn’t sure how it worked, I was more than game. and when it was my turn I got the blessing from Tony Robbins standing right in front of him. I just felt it was a divine moment because the man who’s helped so many, from presidents to people in prison, was channeling good energy with amazing intensity to support me in my journey. The experience was quite moving. It all seemed surreal. I just want to clarify that this blessing had no religious preferences; my experience was it was a transfer of good energy and thoughts to support us in our life’s work. The night was truly magical. What can we learn from this evening? I for one have never been treated like royalty, and it was heavenly (for a night) to see the world from yet another perspective, that of a truly blessed being. How often in life do we forget how blessed we all really are? We don’t need a red carpet experience to remind us that we are truly blessed. The mere fact we are breathing means we are here for a purpose. However, I will take that magical reminder that was provided on our adventure, any day of the week.
For me, going to India and seeing the extreme poverty of some, put my life into perspective and my trivial complaints seemed meaningless. One of our excursions was to Mother Theresa’s orphanage where there were some who seemed handicapped whether mental or physical. I saw a fellow member of our group laughing hysterically with a frail, toothless woman from the orphanage. The woman from our group did not understand a word of the woman from the orphanage yet the two were talking and laughing hysterically for quite some time, and connecting in their true essence of souls. There was true communication in their depths and it was beautiful to witness even if words could not be understood, the spirit spoke loud and clear.
I would be amiss if I didn’t mention the teachings of our yoga teacher Guru Singh who actually recorded a song with singer Seal. We all sang in yoga class, I am who I am and that is that! There’s not more to say..
Another out-of-this-world experience was Tony wanted us to see something a lot more substantial for our breakthroughs in the way we perceive the world. Tony wanted to show us death and our relationship to what most people fear. We ventured off to Varanasi, India where over 300 people are cremated each day by the Ganges River. People go there from all over to die. This culture believes that by dying in this city, you erase all your sins, your soul is free and you don’t have to be reincarnated. This is actually something to celebrate and appreciate. They won’t allow anyone suffering to go to this ceremony by the river because if there’s sadness it might prevent the soul from being free. Now that’s a different way of looking at the experience of death. I must admit I did not enjoy the experience of seeing the bodies dipped in water and cremated by fire. I do understand that there are different ways of looking at life circumstances and how it can affect our lives and it’s always our choice if we choose suffering or a beautiful state.
Another take away from this city was that I was exposed to a different religion and culture. What I saw was a deeply spiritual people who believe in the triumph of good over evil as celebrated in the Festival of Lights or Diwali. And that even though I’m Jewish and believe in one God, what united me at least to this culture is we all believe in a higher intelligence and we all have an essence that connects us to something greater than ourselves. And it was exquisite to see the level of faith that unites us all.
Why do I share my journey to India with you? Because all of life offers lessons to grow. Sometimes we learn from others and sometimes our own life experiences can help and support others. What I am taking home from this trip of the soul and senses is that living in a beautiful state is a choice and it can even be a moment to moment choice. It’s always up to us if we choose a beautiful state, or suffering. And there are tools to support us in this journey. We need daily practices to condition a beautiful state on an ongoing basis that can help us on our path. And like the people of Varanasi, India who welcome death as a way to free the spirit, isn’t it eye opening that there’s a different perspective than fearing death? Isn’t saving a life, simply changing beliefs to ones that make you see a bigger picture and empowers you for a higher purpose? Save 1 Person. Save the World. Saving the world one person at a time through the media, Save1person.org.