Monday, December 31, 2012

Back to School...

with my little backpack, my snacks... at...42!!!

and yes... it is...inspiring, structuring, providing a reassuring frame, yet just as well ... tough, scary, bringing up many fears, doubts...

1st classes of my PhD in India... on Research Methodology: waoo!!! quite heavy to be honest, very structured, very rigorous, and quite boring at times for me! especially when classes come in a block of 4 hours and I realize that my concentration span is 45 min max!

But inspiring too, in a way. Knowing that it is a door to some great contacts in my field, building some legitimacy each day, new ideas, confronting, reading, developing models...

"Research is a systematic way of asking examination of real phenomenon...a particular for of process of generating knowledge..."

And yet bringing up a lot of doubts too:
What do I know? What can I prove? What can I build? Will I ever be an expert, in what field? Can I have an impact in my field, bring real innovative social solutions? Will I be able to modelize them in an interesting, academic way and still applicative enough? Will I manage these 4 years? Am I doing all this for my ego? Am I enough? Can I trust their support? Do I/did I really need to know, to find out, to research, to generate knowledge, to confront, to ask for the truth?

And of course when doubts come, I try to escape in every way possible, not able to see Light any more, destroying the good around me, in me!
But destroying the old, sometimes, leaving the past in the past, confronting... the void, the unknown, the uncertainty, not knowing if ... yes...will I be strong enough, always, in the future, the reality... the infinity of possibilities of research... of life... the fears, anxieties!!!
and moving on with faith, courage, honesty, that is as well necessary, healthy!

So... the one that has never had doubts, never acted on them... never panicked...never lost trust and faith...never requested clarity...

just throw the first stone!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Love is in ... the air!

Why are they all getting married, engaged around me!!!?

Beautiful colors, smiles, simplicity of clear and deep commitments, engagements... and a feeling of real faith, sharing same values, looking in the same direction, with no fears...a simple clarity... in every moves, words... actions

 and just a few songs with my Uke to share their happiness: "I dit it my.... way!"

Some beautiful memories too coming back, a chapel, prayers, dreams, hopes, and then...expectations...hence some dispair just as well!
Reality showing its truth in actions or just things staying as they are...opposed to words and dreams...

The positive thing in all this (and there is always a positive side: that... at least is a big change in my life) is that I know, more and more clearly, I accept too...that I... alone can be responsible for my own serenity, peace: no external actions, words will ever build a base for me, accepting that insecurity of not having any today!

It can only be inside...alone...again!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

This morning yoga with Jesus in my heart: Happy Christmas to you!

Quite an unusual experience that our yoga instructor proposed this morning: feel the pain of Jesus offering his suffering to the world during your practice and try to offer your assanas selflessly too.

Not seeking pain but making an effort, and offering it to the universe, to the Divine!

Today I feel I do not need to teach lessons to people anymore, confronting them.
I feel so grounded that I know I do not need to aggress to be safe, to feel secure. They can be who they need to be, I will be myself just as well.

I AM...and that is enough.

Today, day of the end of the world…so they say!

Well… today I experienced quite an amazing flow of grace that I had to share with the people I love, with Amma and my brothers and sisters in Amritapuri…

Which is… what I did.

Amma during the satsang she helds on the beach (2 days per week), this afternoon asked the following question:
What fears came up for you with the last day of the maya calendar era, the announced end of the world?

I had such a strong experience to share that I jumped on the passing mike:
What have been my conscious and unconscious feelings during these past weeks? Were these storms, one after the other, really caused by this dramatic predication?

I came back to India after 2 months in Europe, only 2 weeks ago.
After a few days in the ashram I hopped on a train, heading north, to assist and help to final details of organization for a conference on sustainability I had contributed to design/define at its very beginning 6 months ago. I was closely involved with the 2 core organizers sharing my expertise of 15 years in sustainable development, 3rd sector capacity building, community engagement and social innovation.
So I suggested to focus on outcomes/outputs for such an opportunity to have not only an informative conference but as well an impactful event leaving a lasting trace and legacy for the beneficiaries in need of sustainability: deprived communities.
I got turned down (even taken out of the organizing committee) under the assumption that Amma wanted only an academic conference leaving a very good impression of Amrita’s institution to the eminent panel invited from all around the world.
Having come here for the very pragmatic and people oriented projects that Amma has led for more than 30 years I felt quite disoriented by such affirmations!

-I guess all religions, spiritual movements have seen their holy words, divine scriptures used, manipulated, derived to people’s advantage and self objectives, interpretations and serving their own needs… some led to wars, some to… blabla!!! Less harmful but still disappointing!-

Especially when I got asked just before conference start to edit the current website content which I had designed 6 months before.
After having been excluded without an explanation, now they were asking me to work as their secretary.
I was pissed off, humiliated but I had travelled such a long way… and wanted to serve Amma to my best… so I executed.
Yet all the rage came up and blocked me to the point of becoming pushy and disconnected with people.
I started to hate those 2!
Then I took some hindsight and reflected a bit on the painful feelings coming up: “why would I destroy myself with hate, what does that hate mean for me, what does it imply: well maybe… run the risk to have to face those 2 persons again in future life until we all can heal the conflict?”

And I surely did not want to have to meet them again and again in future lives!

So I prayed for forgiveness …for myself first, for feeling ashamed of having needed their recognition, for having needed a role, and then …for them too… filling my heart with love instead of hate.

I swallowed my frustration of having seen villagers and potential beneficiaries of sustainability projects… only on the touristic pictures proudly slided to us by a UN rep, during a posh dinner in the nearby Taj hotel, feeding back on his ‘field’ trip in Kerala, which like Rio+20 led to… nothing for those same villagers!
It felt almost like a provocation to see such pics in such an environment, but... I seem to be the only disturbed by such contrasts!

Those villagers were nowhere to be seen or even mentioned throughout the 3 days of conference (besides outside the conference itself: the Save Project empowering women, and the SSR, students social responsibility project witch Dr Kalam stopped to review a moment).

I came back to the ashram exhausted by my ‘Don Quichote’ stubbornness and resistance, need of justice and truth, just on time to welcome my parents arriving from France to visit me here for 3 months.
The first 2 days were a true honeymoon. I had never seen my parents like that; open, smiling at everybody, engaging with compassion and tolerance!
I was completely taken by surprise and stoned by the comments of my friends: “your parents are so sweet…so open… you are so lucky to have them here…”
Well … anybody that has spent some time in such a place with his or her parents could have easily predicted what happened: the honeymoon only lasted 2 days!

The 3rd day, lots of family stuff came up: succession worries…heaviness… I started to feel drained and retrieved in old-copying mechanisms: childish victimization mode, self-deprecation… and surely some elements of depression.

So I took some distance.
I hope they are not listening now…
well …I will share the same in any case with them! But this time …With love.

So after the humiliating experience of the conference, depressing family interactions, some fever and coughing came and to top it of, my long-distance relationship became very heavy for me, bringing back just as well its load of demons: jealousy, trusting issues, incapacity to let love flow, complex situations, exes everywhere, heavily present…
“Do I really need this pain?”
“Is this woman good for you” asked a friend?
“Wouldn’t you be better of with someone here in the ashram, free from her past, ready to start on a blank sheet, available, simple, ready to engage with you?”

All the doubts came up, all mixed and combined and brought their load of misery and despair!
And then this other good friend of mine: “You really are depressed, why don’t you go to Amma to ask her about medication?”

I thought long and hard about all this: yes I was sick, I had fever, bad cough and was not sleeping well at all for weeks.
But the entire stuff coming up appeared to me then as an amazing opportunity to heal.
Medication, I felt, would only numb those feelings, push the ‘shit’ back inside!
Which I did not want.

If darkness is coming up, it creates a space for Light to come in.
If you welcome it, thank darkness …and yourself to have the courage, braveness to face it, you have a chance to turn it into Divine Light and let it go away.
Only then can love fill in, and flow!

Feeling this in my heart instead of my brain for the first time, I faced the utter pains and sorrows, compulsions, obsessions, sleepless nights, crying, holding strongly my mala in my hand as an anchor…

So this morning to clean my head I did some yoga and looked for some additional seva.
I asked the seva desk guy to give me something hard.

Gosh… had I not expected he would serve me so well!

Cleaning this Boys Hostel room, indian student room (boys) brought me back 20 years ago: the first military toilet cleaning I did at the BSPP, Fire brigade of Paris.
I hated every minute of that experience.
Well this morning I loved it, and ended up on my knees after 3 hours of rubbing, cleaning these disgusting toilets.
Here I was on my knees, crying with my arms spread, feeling such a flow of divine love, deep inside my chest, opening it up, almost so strong that it was painful!

I never experienced anything like this.
I truly felt like an epiphany!

I was finally feeling unconditional love for myself, a true sense of self, of purpose in selflessness.

Just felt a bit weird to have such bliss in such a place… and smell!

I was starting to touch the true nature of my soul, all it goodness, the depth of Divine Mother’s love.

I even had the most beautiful conversation with my fiancé today just before satsang time.
I realized that what Mother has blessed (especially on such an auspicious day as the 15th of august for a catholic guy like me!) only Mother can destroy.
I felt so strongly inside that the experiences that make me grow so much in this relationship were precisely the one defining the depth of my love, the commitment to grow side by side with strong and deep values I never had in any other relationships: she IS the woman of my life, here and now… and no need to project anything any more.

Just trust life, God, her and the Divine Light I see in her, and work hard on keeping a positive, honest and compassionate attitude.

All the humiliations of the past weeks, the family injustice, the heavy presence of her exes…
all these fears got washed away by that bliss, that feeling of Divine Love inside.

This is how my own world ended: I did not need old copying mechanisms any more.
I had a clear choice, and I was capable to feel, experience real love, happiness, positivity… I clearly knew the experience and reward of trying my best, practicing love inside: divine bliss!

So here is my answer to your question beloved Amma: I can only have faith in this new world now and be thankful for the old one to have brought me here too.

Turning darkness into Light, stinky toilets into love, fearful and blocked love into freedom and expansion, pain into bliss.

Thank you O Divine Mother for the Light you shed into my life.

Of course this act of courage, sharing as man, with as much virility, masculinity as vulnerability, as well as ruthless honesty, in front of Amma and 2000 other devotees did not stay unheard: Amma gave beautiful satsangs on the meaning of Death, how it is an integrate part of life and only a body external experience, not the soul, on cleanliness, on Light and positive attitude.

I was drained but so happy.
A moment before I had hitched hiked back from the beach and got picked by a young Indian guy on a motorbike who dropped me just on time to get my fiancé on skype.

Our deep love flowing like never before left me with such a strong sure, serenity: she is my wife to be. No need to know when, how!

Every time I was closing my eyes afterwards… rings, ideas of how, where, to propose were coming to me. Just like I tried to all her on the 12-12-2012 at 12:12…! Incurably romantic!
It took me some practice to bring me back to here and now, choosing her just now… with all I have.

In the evening the fever raised (that was probably the explanation to those proposal hallucinations!) and I was so tired I dragged myself to the hospital.
The doctor found a temperature of 42 deg, and a very strong bacterium infecting my lungs!
I had been going like this for 3 days!

I then make the link: there too Mother was healing me, opening and cleaning my heart, Anahata, the chest chakra!

Today when I closed my eyes in the toilets I saw that little child smiling at his depressed mother, letting her go to the man she deeply loves, but this time with no fears, with a true loving smile, with full acceptance and yes …no fear!
Just as well to my younger brother.
I felt I had let go, let God: forgiving fully, now free to love, be loved, expand!

Today I felt two mothers by my side: one that gave me birth in this life and tried her best with what she had but did not really understand me, and one that guided my steps through all my past lives, was carrying me now and shedding divine Light on my life today and the beautiful spiritual path I have taken and following now.

Today I know there is no way back… to the old world!

Saturday, December 22, 2012


So here ya go, what will be the legacy, the outcomes of 3 days of interactions of international/indian experts in the sustainability field, governance...???

It seems to me (that is my sincere opinion!) that the major outcome has been to take a few western Professors and their families on an Indian holiday...
And to help a few other ones to shine...

Why did I have expectations it could be different: an ex Wall Street magnate, and an accounting professor ...
well... lets assume that they did their best with their narrow experience and understanding of sustainability, community engagement, selflessness, deprived people empowerment…

But where ARE/WERE the beneficiaries in all this expense of time, knowledge, speeches, presence of a very inspiring President!!!?

The ones living in deprived communities, those poor villages all around Amrita Campuses and especially around Ettimidai campus.
How has this 'sustainability effort' improved their daily life or will one day??

Honestly I do not think it has nor that it will!

OK, yes... a big report planned on top-500 Indian biggest companies CSR strategy, a review.
Again some nice reports, research level!!! (barely useful for toilet paper as Bunker Roy describes World Bank reports)

Once again who are the beneficiaries of all this???

The research teams, the universities getting fundings, exposure. The Dir, Pr, Dr, ... adding a line one their CV!
When will they pass on anything to the people in need, the communities they pretend to study???

How could they be so biased on the definition and objectives of sustainable development!!!!

So yes, better outside... than part of this ego-trip, this mascarade!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Working on sustainability conference... in paradise!

So here I am: just landed... a few days to catch up at the ashram... get used to the heat and the indian buzz again... and already in the rollercoaster of Amrita Uni!
6 hours train yesterday to cross Kerala from south to north and land in Tamil Nadu, Coimbatore, Ettimidai, Amrita School of Business campus.
The campus where I will be carrying my PhD studies, hosting this conference on sustainability:

1.     The International Conference on: "Sustainable Development and Governance-Building Commerce and Communities” ICSDG
Working quite a lot on Website edits, contacting personally all big shots for their presentations, lst details of their trip...
Coordinating teams of students.
Coordinating partnership aspects...

Overview of Conference:
Making sure partnerships with Academic world, Corporates and NGOs are possible and starting.

Unprecedented pressure on energy, water, and food due to population growth and commercial development places sustainable development as a core responsibility of governing bodies at all levels.  The ICSDG aims at bringing together many key thought leaders in these areas. We envision forging an alliance of academia, corporates, NGOs, agencies, etc. to work closely on a set of actionable plans that can improve the chances of “Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)” being met much quicker!

ICSDG is a unique platform for Researchers, policy makers, investors, corporates and the non-governmental organizations working in the field to:
·       Define and develop management and governance solutions for the Water, Energy and Waste Management crisis that communities and industries are facing, especially in India
·       Stimulate emerging and innovative ways for businesses and communities to come together to promote and implement sustainable development solutions
·       Contribute to the building of an innovative and efficient sustainable development roadmap involving all major actors : government, corporate, communities and universities
Hands-on Master-class style workshops are offered to managers responsible for sustainability management where the latest thoughts and trends in organizational practices are discussed.
An impressive list of case studies will also be presented by corporate houses and NGOs in the presence by eminent experts such as former president of India Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam and Nobel Laureate Dr. Pachauri, Chancellor, TERI University Dr. Vandana Shiva, and many more eminent experts from different parts of the world.

The ICSDG Vision
  • To connect developmental agencies, public and quasi-public organizations, corporates, and academics to contribute towards policy-oriented and actionable research with a view to bring benefits to the vulnerable in society.
  • To understand the current problems associated with sustainable plan/action and to study the models of sustainable change from our speakers and presenters that provide insights on the bottlenecks for sustainable action
  • To learn from the various successful cases and develop socially and commercially scaled up solutions for the critical mass.
  • To develop a plausible, common approach for sustainability management rather than being reliant on the current fragmented approach for meeting sustainability goals at local, regional and global level, leading to more effective governance systems.
  • To develop an actionable plan through teams of corporates, academics, NGO’s, government agencies in three focus areas areas
    • Improving supply of water at higher quality levels,
    • Lower cost access to renewable energy, and
    • Proper waste management
So here am I, back in a suit and a tie soon (tom!). I cant believe it, but in a way it feels OK, feels right to be fully back in the world, facing challenges and taking them just for what they are: experiences to grow!

and waking up to this:

so I guess it is OK to wear a tie, if it comes with such environments...
Yoga and meditation this morning with an amazing rising sun, stunning colors embracing the sky, everywhere

and I guess it is OK too to be treated as a secretary and edit websites without a thank you or any kind of recognition  Manipulation and bullshit have been so common in this whole process. And as much as I felt really humiliated to have worked hard on the design of this conference, advocated for strong design of Outputs/outcomes, I am now relieved to have been taken out of the organizing committee when I see the legacy of 3 days spent with key experts on sustainability, the 11th president of India...

Of course what to expect from a powerful, very wealthy ex magnate of WallStreet, that probably believed he can reach the goal in business class by serving Amma's biscuits.... and an accounting professor that knows nothing on sustainability on the reality of the field and believes honestly (?) apparently that she helps communities with research papers!!!