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Re: Seeker Beginnings

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  • do_slava
    Niriha, thank you. You made me laugh so much over your practising safety drills in school simply because we were doing the same thing in the Soviet Union on
    Message 1 of 15 , Oct 2, 2005
      Niriha, thank you. You made me laugh so much over your practising
      safety drills in school simply because we were doing the same thing
      in the Soviet Union on the other side of the ocean :-).

      I remember how many conversations in America would start with a load
      of stereotypes about the Soviet Union (and we had ours about the
      United States). Americans indeed seemed to be concerned whether we
      had enough food to eat or whether we had the basics for survival in
      general. I remember one particular evening when, after some
      unavoidable and arduous daily mumbling in English, my passive
      English vocabulary started to somehow form into relatively
      harmonious sentences while we were having a nice chat over dinner
      with my American host family.

      The host mother asked with a concerned voice:
      "We read the other day in the newspaper that people have no food to
      eat".

      "Yes,I said, "There are some regions where, because of armed
      conflicts, people indeed suffer". "However", I continued, "people
      generaly have enough to eat."

      "We also read that not many people own a TV in Russia," the mother
      pressed on.

      I did know know what to say. I said, "Well, we have two TV sets in
      my apartment"." And we were a family of average income by Russian
      standards. However, I did not have enough vocabulary to say that the
      second TV was in the house because my dad could not stand missing
      his favourite sports programs. The host mother and her daughter
      seemed surprised to learn about our family "wealth".

      "But do you have a fridge," she went on, trying to reconcile what she
      read in the newspaper with what I just said before.

      "Well we do. We have one regular fridge and also a separate
      freezer". The mother was amazed. My pride could not resist and I
      boasted, "We even have a car!" She was dumbfounded at hearing this.

      But of course, life was not easy after the Soviet Union broke up.
      Food was rationed, stores were virtually empty, long food lines
      formed for bread and other daily necessities. Central heating which
      was pevalent in cities, and still is, was totally unreliable. Hot
      water was simply cut off, while gas supplies used for cooking and
      heating water were sporadic. Soviet money, the rouble, was replaced
      with locally printed coupons which devalued on a weekly basis. To
      buy our family car from the state government, my dad waited for over
      ten years.

      Now, as I look back, I do feel all these hardships were in a way
      necessary, because they taught us how to be resilient in the face of
      challenges. As a matter of fact, this was the time when a very
      strong wave of spirituality swept over us. To many this was the long-
      sought answer amidst societal chaos.

      SLava



      --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, niriha7
      <no_reply@y...> wrote:
      > Hello Slava,
      >
      > Hello Slava,
      >
      > Since it was the day after your birthday that you received word
      that
      > Sri Chinmoy accepted you as his student, you can consider your
      > birthday as your anniversary day. It seems likely that Sri
      Chinmoy
      > meditated on your photo on your birthday.
      >
      > I greatly enjoyed your story. I could truly feel the momentous
      > nature of your first trip to the United States. I also will not
      > forget the first time that Russian students of Sri Chinmoy came to
      > New York. I was very concerned about how they would feel to see
      the
      > abundance of everything in our stores. I actually was embarrassed.
      >
      > My concern was not misguided -in your story, you mention that you
      > were in awe over the material abundance. Fortunately, rather than
      > comparing circumstances that you had at home, you regaled in the
      joy
      > of your experience in the United States.
      >
      > I grew up having drills in school where we would duck under our
      desks
      > practicing just in case the Russians attacked us. Then, when I
      was
      > 21 years old, I went to Russia (it was still under Communism -
      1972).
      > I loved everything about the country - the people, the beauty, the
      > rich culture. I was so fortunate to see the Moscow circus, to
      attend
      > a performance of the Bolshoi ballet, to hear the Georgian National
      > Singers in a theater high up in the Caucasus Mountains, to visit
      the
      > Hermitage Museum among other things. Needless to say, I could not
      > help thinking, "These are the people I was afraid of?!!!"
      >
      > I digress. . . I hope you will write more about your experiences
      as
      > your writing is indeed touching.
      >
      > Niriha
      >
      > By the way, did you write that post below or did you have someone
      > whose mother tongue is English re-write it for you? If you wrote
      it,
      > I would say that your (quoting you) "many months of hard work to
      > prepare for a rigorous and very competitive English examination at
      > school" paid off.
      >
      >
      > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, do_slava
      > <no_reply@y...> wrote:
      > > Parashita,
      > >
      > > Interesting topic indeed.
      > >
      > > The first time ever in my life that I felt an inner longing for
      > > divinity was when I first visited the United States as a
      teenager
      > on
      > > an exchange program. It was in 1990 and the relations between
      the
      > US
      > > and the Soviet Union had just started to warm up. In fact, this
      > > exchange program was designed to plant the early seeds of
      building
      > > friendship between the two superpowers that were at war just a
      few
      > > years back.
      > >
      > > I remember being completely in awe when I first encountered the
      > > United States -- never before in my life had sI een such
      material
      > > abundance. Also, the American people impressed me greatly with
      > their
      > > high levels of energy and lots of smiling. I was literally
      caught
      > > offguard. One night, one or two weeks after my arrival to the
      US,
      > > tucked in a king-size bed graciously provided by my Alaskan host
      > > family, I was wondering what have I done so nice in my life that
      > God
      > > has bestowed on me such an amazing, joyous and eye-opening
      > > experience. At that point, I felt happy that my much-cherished
      > dream
      > > had come true -- I came to America, even if for just three
      weeks.
      > > Also, many months of hard work to prepare for a rigorous and
      very
      > > competitive English examination at school preceding the trip
      have
      > > finally paid off. At that moment, overflowed with a sweet
      feeling
      > of
      > > gratitude, I spontaneously started praying to God in silence.
      > > Interestingly, this short visit to the US has set the tone and
      > > influenced my life in many ways since then.
      > >
      > > One of the next jolts, and quite a powerful one, to re-direct my
      > > attention to spirituality has come in the form of an illness
      that
      > > could not be properly diagnosed. I felt helpless and vulnerable
      > > while observing the medical profession making futile attempts to
      do
      > > something about it. So I turned to non-traditional ways of
      healing
      > > which brought some wonderful people on my way. The instance I
      felt
      > > healthy and pure in my body, I started morning prayer sessions,
      > > sort of out of the blue. Then, came meditation, much in the same
      > way
      > > as prayer, that I discovered through books and practiced with
      lots
      > > of delight.
      > >
      > > Various events then followed and I could not keep up the
      regularity
      > > of my practice. At that point, when I felt like spiritually
      > > drowning, I was lucky to attend a sitar concert by Adesh, which
      > > somehow inspired me to start meditating on my own again.
      Although
      > > the concert was not outwardly connected with meditation itself
      and
      > > the events that followed thereafter, not long after the concert
      I
      > > attended a meditation class and became a student of Sri Chinmoy.
      I
      > > learned about being accepted the next day after my birthday.
      > >
      > > I am very grateful to Sri Chinmoy for giving me this
      extraordinary
      > > chance to move forward.
      > >
      > > With gratitude,
      > >
      > > Slava
      > >
      > >
      > > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, parashita7
      > > <no_reply@y...> wrote:
      > > > After seeing a documentary on Bob Dylan; I find myself
      wondering
      > > how
      > > > many of us began our seeker journeys with poet folk singers
      whose
      > > song
      > > > lyrics began to open our eyes. For me, it was a combination of
      > > this
      > > > and the world of visual art, which set off a series of
      > experiences
      > > > ultimately leading me to Sri Chinmoy's path of the heart. Now,
      > > after
      > > > years of being on Sri Chinmoy's path, I see my seeker
      beginnings
      > > as
      > > > somewhat radical, but necessary to get me on my way at that
      time.
      > > I am
      > > > interested to know how others were inspired to begin their
      seeker
      > > > journeys.
    • palyati
      Hey Slava, Yep, West High School is in the Turnagain area of town. In fifteen years the city has changed a little bit, more houses, hotels, and big box stores
      Message 2 of 15 , Oct 3, 2005
        Hey Slava,

        Yep, West High School is in the Turnagain area of town. In fifteen
        years the city has changed a little bit, more houses, hotels, and big
        box stores (ugh). The first flights from Alaska were to Magadan, not
        Providenya. Come on back an visit anytime. Like Niriha, I could never
        figure out the problem between our countries or any countries for
        that matter. People are people no matter where you go. We live, we
        laugh, we love, we bleed.

        Palyati

        --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, do_slava
        <no_reply@y...> wrote:
        > Palyati,
        >
        > That's really something! I spent about three weeks in
        Anchorage,from
        > the end of October to early November 1990. My American host family
        > (Kara Erlwein and her mom Cathy) lived then in a condominium on
        Park
        > Drive Rd and I attended West High School (I hope I got this right).
        > The only other time I visited my host family in Alaska was in
        > December 1994.
        >
        > To the present day, I treasure the openess, warmth and friendliness
        > of the Alaskan people. After meeting such people, I thought to
        > myself that thanks to them the world can definitely be a better
        > place.
        >
        > Slava
        >
        > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, palyati
        > <no_reply@y...> wrote:
        > > Dear Slava,
        > >
        > > I can't stand it any longer and have to ask. What city did you
        > visit
        > > in Alaska and what month? I became a disciple in August 1990 in
        > > Anchorage where I still reside. There are no coincidences and I
        > enjoy
        > > marveling at close encounters. It is gratifying to know that
        > Alaska
        > > and it's friendly, open people offered you your first glimpse
        into
        > > spirituality. I remember the first Alaska Airlines flights
        between
        > > Nome and Providenya on the Kamchatka Peninsula(if memory serves
        me
        > > correctly) when Russia opened up. It was so exciting and
        > heartwarming
        > > to see the news reports and read about the reunions of the Eskimo
        > > families after years of separation.
        > >
        > > Thank you for a nice story,
        > > Palyati
        > >
        > > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, parashita7
        > > <no_reply@y...> wrote:
        > > > Dear Slava,
        > > >
        > > > You have given such a great compliment to America. Your
        > experience
        > > > with a mysterious illness is similar to that of St. Francis,
        who
        > > > emerged from a terrible illness completely one with the
        Supreme.
        > > It's
        > > > great that you were inspired by Adesh's sitar music. Though not
        > > > remotely as accomplished as he; I have had the honor of playing
        > Sri
        > > > Chinmoy's music on my sitar. I feel that many of Sri Chinmoy's
        > > songs
        > > > lend themselves perfectly and inspiringly to the sitar. (By the
        > > way,
        > > > I now have a new connection with Russia, after recently
        > discovering
        > > > my grandmother was Russian.)
        > > > Gratitude and Smiles to You,
        > > > Parashita
        > > >
        > > >
        > > >
        > > > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, do_slava
        > > > <no_reply@y...> wrote:
        > > > > Parashita,
        > > > >
        > > > > Interesting topic indeed.
        > > > >
        > > > > The first time ever in my life that I felt an inner longing
        > for
        > > > > divinity was when I first visited the United States as a
        > teenager
        > > > on
        > > > > an exchange program. It was in 1990 and the relations between
        > the
        > > > US
        > > > > and the Soviet Union had just started to warm up. In fact,
        > this
        > > > > exchange program was designed to plant the early seeds of
        > > building
        > > > > friendship between the two superpowers that were at war just
        a
        > > few
        > > > > years back.
        > > > >
        > > > > I remember being completely in awe when I first encountered
        > the
        > > > > United States -- never before in my life had sI een such
        > material
        > > > > abundance. Also, the American people impressed me greatly
        with
        > > > their
        > > > > high levels of energy and lots of smiling. I was literally
        > caught
        > > > > offguard. One night, one or two weeks after my arrival to the
        > US,
        > > > > tucked in a king-size bed graciously provided by my Alaskan
        > host
        > > > > family, I was wondering what have I done so nice in my life
        > that
        > > > God
        > > > > has bestowed on me such an amazing, joyous and eye-opening
        > > > > experience. At that point, I felt happy that my much-
        cherished
        > > > dream
        > > > > had come true -- I came to America, even if for just three
        > weeks.
        > > > > Also, many months of hard work to prepare for a rigorous and
        > very
        > > > > competitive English examination at school preceding the trip
        > have
        > > > > finally paid off. At that moment, overflowed with a sweet
        > feeling
        > > > of
        > > > > gratitude, I spontaneously started praying to God in silence.
        > > > > Interestingly, this short visit to the US has set the tone
        and
        > > > > influenced my life in many ways since then.
        > > > >
        > > > > One of the next jolts, and quite a powerful one, to re-direct
        > my
        > > > > attention to spirituality has come in the form of an illness
        > that
        > > > > could not be properly diagnosed. I felt helpless and
        > vulnerable
        > > > > while observing the medical profession making futile attempts
        > to
        > > do
        > > > > something about it. So I turned to non-traditional ways of
        > > healing
        > > > > which brought some wonderful people on my way. The instance I
        > > felt
        > > > > healthy and pure in my body, I started morning prayer
        > sessions,
        > > > > sort of out of the blue. Then, came meditation, much in the
        > same
        > > > way
        > > > > as prayer, that I discovered through books and practiced with
        > > lots
        > > > > of delight.
        > > > >
        > > > > Various events then followed and I could not keep up the
        > > regularity
        > > > > of my practice. At that point, when I felt like spiritually
        > > > > drowning, I was lucky to attend a sitar concert by Adesh,
        > which
        > > > > somehow inspired me to start meditating on my own again.
        > Although
        > > > > the concert was not outwardly connected with meditation
        itself
        > > and
        > > > > the events that followed thereafter, not long after the
        > concert I
        > > > > attended a meditation class and became a student of Sri
        > Chinmoy.
        > > I
        > > > > learned about being accepted the next day after my birthday.
        > > > >
        > > > > I am very grateful to Sri Chinmoy for giving me this
        > > extraordinary
        > > > > chance to move forward.
        > > > >
        > > > > With gratitude,
        > > > >
        > > > > Slava
        > > > >
        > > > >
        > > > > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, parashita7
        > > > > <no_reply@y...> wrote:
        > > > > > After seeing a documentary on Bob Dylan; I find myself
        > > wondering
        > > > > how
        > > > > > many of us began our seeker journeys with poet folk singers
        > > whose
        > > > > song
        > > > > > lyrics began to open our eyes. For me, it was a combination
        > of
        > > > > this
        > > > > > and the world of visual art, which set off a series of
        > > > experiences
        > > > > > ultimately leading me to Sri Chinmoy's path of the heart.
        > Now,
        > > > > after
        > > > > > years of being on Sri Chinmoy's path, I see my seeker
        > > beginnings
        > > > > as
        > > > > > somewhat radical, but necessary to get me on my way at that
        > > time.
        > > > > I am
        > > > > > interested to know how others were inspired to begin their
        > > seeker
        > > > > > journeys.
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