Saturday, March 31, 2012

My meditative experiences

This is really a wonderful morning today.
It's cloudy and early morning rain has made it a cool day. I have no plans to go out  and thinking to spend whole day ahead reading  'The Wisdom of Carl Jung'.

Have you ever thought how external ambience, climate, environmental setup influences your inner self?
How change in external setup reflects on your mind ,on your thoughts ,on your whole self?

There is a connection. A strong powerful connection which you and me ignore in our day to day life.
No one can deny this connection between external world and our internal world.
Everyone experiences some moments here and there in our lives when this anxious being feels calmness beyond slightest disturbance,focus beyond any distraction.
There are occasions,moments when mind stops weaving future, stops dwelling on past.
There are times when ever rising thoughts of desires, fears,anxieties cease.

One such experience in my life was my visit to Kedarnath.
Kedarnath is one of the holiest hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and is located atop the Garhwal Himalayan range in Uttarakhand in India
The temple is not directly accessible by road and has to be reached by a 14 km uphill trek from Gaurikund . The temple is believed to have been built by Adi Sankaracharya  and is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas, the holiest Hindu shrines of Shiva. 

But my reference to this temple here ,has nothing to do with religious importance of this place.
It's geography,it's  ambience,it's location that makes this place so special.
Snow clad peaks ,wild flora,scattered waterfalls throughout the pathway,  gives you a perfect setup for being with youself.
Beneath majestic peaks flows musical river Mandakini.

I visited this place during my last Diwali vacation with my college friends.
I got up early in morning and wrapped myself in woollens to avoid morning chill.
As clumsy sun appeared kissing at neck of that far east peak,I silently walked to  a cliff giving me panoramic view Kedarnath.
There I was ,sitting on that cliff, on  that cold October morning,overwhelmed with serenity of that place.
 I ran my gaze on horizon , i found golden, snowy, shining peaks in all directions.
Every where ,there were huge peaks with white snow, washed in morning sun light, no noise.
For me , i think its enormity of nature that drives me into that indescribable, meditative state.
I felt a complete harmony with the place. Breathing deeply , eyes involuntarily focused on peaks.
Magically, my thoughts ceased in that moment.There was complete peace, beauty ,harmony.
There was no me.
Beauty of mountains all around was indescribable.It was splendid to be among them, and a strange stillness possessed me.
There i was,very light first time, without any thoughts, without any burden, and with a feeling of complete emptiness and beauty.
I don't know what that was but that was definitely one such experience which my mind always yearns to re-experience.









Another such experience happened to me during my trip to Langkawi.
Scuba diving at Pulau Payar gave me perfect setup to revisit my experience of kedarnath.
Once i jumped into depth of water and overcame to initial disturbances of change in environment, a complete new world unfolded in front of me.

Wowww..., that was so awesome. I felt as if i had gotten new eyes after years of blindness.
There was no fear , no anxiety ,no thought.
Beauty of new world hypnotised me. Everything was so new that my mind became totally focused.
total absorbed in that moment.
Those moments gave me that experience which i failed to achieve even after years of efforts with  meditation.
It was so peaceful there. So quiet. All i could hear was my breath.Breathing in ....Breathing out...
Variety of small,big, colourful fishes , coral reef .
 In my entire 20 minute dip,not a single worldly thought crossed through my head.
Beauty,novelty and enormity of new world ceased my thoughts.
I felt like a fish. I felt a connection. Such was the connection that i felt a strong urge to join  group of  passer-by colourful fishes and to roam around in that world of mystery.
I was all fish. There was no Sachin.
A big , lazy,coloured  fish appeared in front of me from no where , hardly at a distance of 5 feet.
I looked into her eyes and she looked into mine.
It was like as if she was asking me where you were for so many years.
So beautiful,so mesmerising.
I can never forget that experience in my life.

Next day i was at breakfast table with my friend Ajeet ,who joined me for our first scuba diving experience.
He told me that he was doing scuba  throughout night in his dreams.
I smiled at his experience. I know it's mental tendency. Once your mind experiences something so rich, something so new,beyond ordinary , something so full of peace , it tries to revisit the same experience again and again.
Such meditative experiences are very addictive.


In Pic: I , Priti,Ajeet & Asmita.









Saturday, March 3, 2012

Langkawi trip

I must thank to my frined  Ajeet who persuaded me to go for this memorable trip to Langkawi.
Langkawi is definitely among best and most spectacular tourist destinations in southeast asia.
 Pristine sand beaches,abundance of nature,beautiful places,marine life , water sports ,this place has got everything to make it perfect tourist destination.

Geographically , Langkawi is an archipelago of islands in Andman sea. These islands are part of Kedah state of Malaysia and falls adjacent to Thai border.
Straits of Malacca seperates this cluster of islands from mainland Malaysia.
Population is around 60,000 ,mostly malay muslims.
To add to the attraction of this place, malay govermnet has declared this place as duty free zone.

 We flew to Langkawi on thursday evening ,23rd Feb 2012.
1 hour flight from Singapore to Kuala lumpur and then another 1 hour flight from KL to Langkawi.
Direct flights from Singapore are available but we chose via KL as we got it cheaper.

In Pic: Our hotel One Helang .




First day: cable car/Sky walk

On first day of trip ,we started with cable car. With one stop at middle station ,cable car takes you to  the top of Gunung Machincang hill.
Height of Gunung Machincang is about 700 meters from sea level.  

In Pic:Me with Preeti at base station of cable car.





From top cable station , you can walk to suspension bridge for sky walk.
This hanging platform provides spectacular 360-degree panoramic view of Langkawi.
View of deep dense forests below and sea line in distance are simply breathtaking and can hold you for hours. 





In Pic: View of jungle from Sky walk bridge.




In Pic: View from Gunung Machincang hill.




 Eagle Feeding and Mangrove tour:

Our boat trip along the mangrove forest of Langkawi was one of the most remakable activity in our tour.Our journey on boat started with a quick tour to a fish farm.
This area falls under Kilim nature park.
Both sides of slowly flowing river are covered with well protected ,green, dense mangove forest. If you are a nature lover and wish to breath and feel mangroves , then this is definitely a place to be.
Our boat stopped at one place , known as eagle feeding spot.
Junaid who was our boat captain as well as tour guide , opened his polybag and thew some  raw chicken pieces into air.
In a blink of eye, a group of eagles resting on mangroves jumped into action. Their acrobetic skills were worth-watching.




A fast boat ride in open water was really a fantastic experience.






















In Pic: Kilim Geo Park



Second day:
Scuba Diving:
 Ever since my friend Vipin told me about his Scuba diving expeience, i was dying to experince it.
More on that he challenged me to break his record of 12.5 meter in introductory dive.
I was looking for opportunitry and on second day of our tour I got that opportunity.
Pulau Payar marine park is about one hour boat journey from Langkawi.
We chose a  package of Scuba diving and snorkilling.
You can try your negotiation skills when buying your package from tour operators there.
 Tour operator asked us to pay 250 RM for a combo package of scuba and snorkilling.
We managed to get package for 235 RM per person.Package included lunch.

One hour journey in open sea was amazing and we enjoyed every bit of it.

In Pic: I with Preeti on the way to Palau Payar Marine Park

In Pic: I , Preeti, Ajeet and Asmita. Ready for our introductory Scuba dive





I don't have much picture on scuba diving as we didn't find there any arrangements for underwater photography.
 They offered us to purchase  one time 'use and throw' camera but we didn't find deal very convincing.
I talked to my instuctor about my wish to go deeper than 12.5 m. He agreed to try provided i don't show any sign of panic and if my body adapts quick enough to descend to that depth. 
There is a whole new world below sea water surface. Diving experience was truly a journey to other world. I'll write about this experience in detail later.

And yes, i managed to break vipin's record ;).
 I touched the depth of 12.8 meter . Pressure on my eardrums was extreme.


Snorkilling:
After lunch at beachside, we jumped into water again for snorkilling.
Crystal clear water and abundance of colorful fishes kept us busy and captivated for hours.









Third day:
We devoted last day of trip in shopping.Kuah is commercial centre,shopping zone in Langkawi
Below is the  picture of 12 meter tall  iconic statue of eagle located in jetty mall complex in kuah.