The Life Positive Expo returned to Kolkata to spread its unique brand of positivity and inspiration through messages from the Masters and transformative workshops. A report
On the morning of August 29, 2015, Kolkata woke up to the strong feeling of an impending shift in her consciousness. Yes, the Life Positive Expo had returned to the City of Joy!
In many subtle and not so subtle ways, Kolkata stands out from the rest of the country. While globalization has painted even small towns with a sheen of wide roads, malls, multiplexes, glass-fronted buildings and so on, Kolkata seems strangely set apart from this gloss and glitter. Moreover, it still clings fondly to old ways. For instance, almost all taxis are still from the Ambassador stable, and every now and then a tram will lumber majestically along the street. The average Bengali would still prefer a Rabindra Sangeet to a Bollywood number, or a quiet evening with family drinking tea and eating singoda to sweating blood at a corporate office.
More than that, though, what distinguishes Kolkata is a certain innocence. It still has not given over its soul to mammon. The cost of living is reasonable, and its people are uncorrupted by greed. You can pick up a dress, hand over the right amount of money to the vendor, only to find her returning some of the money back to you.
Clearly, it is not money but something higher that moves the Kolkatan soul. How fitting then that the Expo should have set up base in Kolkata to delight its citizens with a feast for the spirit.
In a departure from the usual tradition of opening with an inaugural address, the Expo straight away launched into the workshop of the day. The day was auspicious – the full moon day of Rakshabandhan. Amidst its rarefied energies, Chitra Jha held her workshop on the Power of Love while Vijaylakshmi Panthaiyan held forth on Alpha Mind Power.
The Power of Love by Chitra Jha
The premise with which Chitra Jha began her workshop was faultless. “The fact is that we are nothing but love. All we have to do is to eliminate what is not love and love will surge forth,” she said. Obviously that was an ambitious mandate for a one-day workshop but in the course of the day we did discover several road blocks that hindered our experience of being love. She started off with a meditation on our conception, beginning with the meeting of the sperm with the ova. Using science to buttress her point, she stated that the ovum waited open, expectant, and loving for the ‘right’ sperm to enter its zone (just as the right key enters a keyhole), and when the beloved entered the waiting lover’s zone, it immediately closed up – and became a zygote – the seed of life. Therefore, she assured us, no matter what kind of relationship our parents shared, no matter how little love we may have experienced from them, the truth was that we were indeed conceived in love.
She shared that this insight had transformed her own life; indeed, the powerful insight inspired one participant who felt that he had been conceived in lust and not love, to change his story.
We moved on to some vigorous exercises, one of which consisted of pummelling the body with our knuckles while affirming, “I am master of the body, I am master of myself.” We were then asked to meditate on what was our understanding of being master of the body and where was this master located. Most identified the Higher Self as being master of the body, with the location being anywhere in the head to outside the body to being everywhere in the body.
This was followed by an exercise to introspect on how we related to our juniors or subordinates. In the course of this exploration, the contours of the ego self were revealed. Some shared they were kind to their servants but less so towards their children, while others acknowledged that anger tripped them up periodically. These were the roadblocks that came between them and the perfect expression of love, participants learnt. A few fun exercises were thrown in for good measure, and at the end of the day, participants left feeling more in touch with their Higher Self, the seat of love.
Alpha Mind Power by Dr. Vijaylakshmi Panthaiyan
Dr. Panthaiyan, a mind power trainer and counsellor, has interacted with global spiritual masters and been initiated with the energies of the ancient Siddhas of India. She was thus an able guide for participants to understand the different brain waves and the functioning of the brain at each state of consciousness.Right from the beginning it was an exhilarating journey of understanding the immense power and potential of the human mind, if only we knew how to tap into it.
She guided the participants into achieving the alpha state using the Alpha Mudra, a specific way of holding the fingers. The alpha state holds the maximum potential for transformation through the power of the subconscious mind and the participants were taught how to reach this state at will.
After a delicious meal of Bengali cuisine, Dr Panthaiyan introduced further meditative and visualisation techniques that helped to deepen the connect and reprogramme the subconscious to achieve desired results at an emotional, mental, physical and even materialistic level. Now the trained participants could really use this knowledge to create a life they had only dreamt of! Dr. Panthaiyan then initiated the participants of this level 1 workshop as Alpha Siddhas.
Inaugural address by Swami Suparnananda
After a short tea break, the stage was set for the inaugural ceremony.
It began with a welcome address by Suma Varughese, Editor-in-Chief, Life Positive Magazine, where she introduced the delegates and the distinguished audience to the Life Positive Expo and to Life Positivemagazine. This was followed by a short speech by Swami Chaitanyananda of Chinmaya Mission, Kolkata, appreciating the efforts of the Life Positiveteam. Thereafter, he, along with the Keynote Speaker, Swami Suparnananda of Ramakrishna Mission, Institute of Culture, Kolkata, Life Positive Chairman, Aditya Ahluwalia, his wife, Anu Ahluwalia, and Editor in chief, Suma Varughese, lit the inaugural lamp.
Formalities over, the audience settled down to listen to Swami Suparnananda, who is not only an esteemed scholar but also a brilliant orator. Swamiji opened the heart of his listeners and enthralled the audience with stories from the life of Maa Sharada and her loving interaction with her devotees. He chose to speak on the much-needed subject of attaining peace.
When Maa Sharada was on her deathbed, her distraught disciples asked her how they would manage without her and how they were to attain peace. Her simple yet poignant guidance was to tell them to cultivate oneness with the other because only that would give them peace. She further gave them two tools to do this. One was to give away the best of what one had to the other instead of retaining it for oneself. Swamiji mentioned that she herself meticulously followed this principle by giving the best to those who were not yet members of the Mission. When disciples complained she chided them with the words that they were family and hence as hosts they were to give the best to others. The second was to drop all expectations of the other. Swamiji mentioned that he too had benefitted hugely from Maa Sharada’s advice which was virtually an article of faith with him.
The uplifted audience spilled out from the auditorium, charged with the ammunition to make their lives more peaceful and harmonious.
Mind Power Unlimited by Sunil Parikh
The second day belonged to the men, and that too Gujarati men, since both Sunil Parikh and Ketan Shah hail from that land. Gujaratis have a reputation for industriousness and service orientedness which perhaps explains why both their workshops were deemed outstanding by the respective participants.
Sunil Parikh’s workshop began with an articulation of Success Principle No 1: Take 100 per cent responsibility for your life and your results.
Sunil explained that we always have direct control over three responses: thoughts, words and visual imagery. Since the latter two depend on thoughts, it boils down to having control over thoughts. Therefore, if we have full control over our thoughts, we can control the outcome.
He moved on to the concept that everything is energy (as science itself now recognises) and everything vibrates, including our thoughts. Therefore, the vibration of our thoughts attract more of that same vibration into our lives. Thus angry thoughts attract more anger as well as more events that cause anger.
This, in effect, constitutes the Law of Attraction which states that Like Attracts Like. You attract what you focus on. He urged the participants to therefore focus on what they wanted and not on what they did not want. Moving on to a discussion of our conscious and subconscious minds, Sunil said that while the conscious mind was powerful, the real power belonged to the subconscious mind which harnessed the unlimited power of the Universe. Post lunch he guided participants on how to go into the Alpha stage to get in touch with the subconscious mind, and achieve goals by using tools such as picture goals book, vision board, gratitude journal, pocket ideas book and a victory log book to record little successes.
Acupressure by Ketan Shah
Baul musicKetan Shah’s name has globally become synonymous with acupressure. In this workshop, he offered various techniques and indepth knowledge about the working of the body, the emotional and psychological root cause of multiple diseases, and the importance of overall wellness of mind, body and spirit. He gave practical demonstrations on using acupressure for various diseases ranging from the commonplace but dangerous acidity, to knee joint problems, spinal problems to even supposedly incurable diseases like diabetes and cancer. The participants were empowered through the knowledge that the power to heal themselves was truly in their hands. With a little help from Ketan Shah, many participants found themselves healed from migraines and other conditions.
The Expo drew to an end with a soulful performance of mystical songs by the folk band Sahajiya from Shantiniketan. The team of eight Baul performers, all dressed in saffron robes with long hair and a look of melting bliss led by Amanda Gopal Das, truly captured the essence of the Expo with their heartfelt song offerings on the Sufi philosophies connecting the body, mind and spirit or the divine in us. The two days of health, happiness and healing festival ended with an ambience of joy, music and soul connect as the Bauls had the audience on their feet, dancing to the divine music. The closing address by Suma Varughese held deep appreciation and love for the city and people of Kolkata for holding space for the Expo, second time in a row and the golden promise of a much desired return to the city next year!
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