SWITZERLAND: A Walk to Remember – Baumli

SWITZERLAND: A Walk to Remember – Baumli

A Promising Terrace Above The Town

That is what the receptionist said when I asked her the meaning of “aussichtsterrasse baumli”.

“So, how do we go there?” I asked again.

She looked at me blankly at first, and I worried if I had asked a culturally inappropriate question.

“You have been here in Winterthur, for three days and you have not gone there yet?” she asked me incredulously.

I frantically looked out for where my husband was. He was busy fuzbolling with the children, at the hotel lobby, much to my annoyance. I thought he had already spoken to this particular receptionist and asked for directions and I had to just pick up some papers from her.

Fuzbolling ...

Fuzbolling …

When I returned my attention to her, she was back to being busy at her computer, and I wondered if I should ask her again or just go back to watching fuzboll.

“So, this is a print out of the local map from here to the bus station,” she handed out a sheet.

“Thank you,” I said.

“And this is a map from the bus station to the forest,” she continued with another sheet. “And let me get you a local map of our city,” saying so she got up and went into another adjoining room.

“Now if you take the bus from Loki station to …” she was amazing.

Switzerland is just not the friendliest nation in the world. It is also the most hospitable. The people there are truly helpful.

A walk through the town of Winterthur

We began our journey to the promising terrace on top of the town. As we stepped out of the hotel, a light drizzle started and perhaps we hesitated to continue, because we were the only ones who had embarked on this journey, all alone, without our friends. And we wondered at the futility of it, in the rain, at a shivering temperature.

“Why don’t you use my umbrella,” said a voice. We turned to find our friendliest receptionist in the world.

“You think it is okay to go in the rain?” I asked.

“Today is your last day, and you should not miss Baumli,” she answered.

There was no looking back now.

With maps in hand, taking blind turns at intersections, reading German street signs, comparing it with the map, not understanding, giving up, almost turning back again, our adventurous spirit returning, trotting on, asking directions from students who had perennial ear plugs in their ears, we continued our journey.

Culture soaking the lonely, rainy streets...

Culture soaking the lonely, rainy streets…

It was not bad. It was an adventure. My only fear was, we could get lost, not knowing how to find our way back, and missing our return flight home. It was our last day in Switzerland.

My son kept insisting, “Ma, we are not kids, we won’t get lost. See we have maps.”

I nodded.

We reached what they called the bus station after a walk of half an hour and following the map. You see we had refused to take the connecting bus from the hotel to the bus station which would take us to the beautiful terrace on top of the town.

Culture soaking the streets some...

Culture soaking the streets some…

My husband and son wanted to ‘soak’ in the culture and feeling of the town, they claimed. I still wonder how they claimed to do it without the feeling of feeling lost with a map in hand.

Culture soaking the streets some...

Culture soaking the streets some more…

We were faced with the most challenging task to get tickets. The automatic ticket kiosk at the bus station displayed everything in German. And we jumped to our maps to check all the words which our kind receptionist had circled in red.

None of the words or destination names looked familiar. I knew we were lost. I had this intense irritation which I masked. My husband kept insisting that he was taking me to a surprise destination, but with Google in our mobile phones, no destination is ever really a surprise.

Finally, after a short epic incident at the ticket kiosk, we got our tickets and got on a bus and waited with bated breath for the supposed destination to arrive. When we got down, I almost expected to see a beautiful terrace or viewpoint. But no! We got down finding ourselves at the entrance of a narrow trail leading into a very dense forest.

Entering the forest…

“We have to walk into this forest,” said my husband.

The entry to the forest ...

The entry to the forest …

“Of course,” I really put efforts into masking my irritation.

“Google says if we are lucky, we can sight many wild animals,” my son shrieked excitedly.

I knew I had to make peace with the world now, or I could never. I am never a surprise loving person. I am a Taurean, who likes to be grounded, who likes to know what to expect, and who likes everything in order. But here we were embarking on a journey into a forest to a promised beautiful view above the town, after a long and assiduous journey by walk and bus. For all that anyone knew, we were already lost. And there was that promise of wild animals too, which I tried hard to forget.

I followed the two excited kids – one an adult, one still a kid; they had both already entered the narrow trail and walked further on assuming I was following too. So, I decided to oblige them as well. And it is good to get lost together, isn’t it?

A walk into the forest continues ...

A walk into the forest continues …

The air was fresh. There was a light mist. The drizzling had stopped some time back. I have always been a trekker, and so I enjoyed walking generally. It was not so bad, I decided.

"Look ma, nature is smiling at us. You have to too."

“Look ma, nature is smiling at us. You have to too.”

A Change of my heart!

About ten minutes into our walk, my heart was doing wonders. There is something about a walk that creates magic in the air, that makes you inhale miracle dust, that makes you wonder at the beauty of the world, and this was one such walk, into the dense forest, sighting wild animals. My son claimed an animal to be a fox, my husband thought it to be a wolf or vice versa. It was chasing behind another small animal.

Nature beckoning us on ...

Nature beckoning us on …

We continued our walk. The path curved beautifully. It started to drizzle again slightly. We shivered in the rain, but for nothing in the world, I would have stayed back at the hotel.

As the forest cleared slightly, we came across beautiful vineyards, the tiny vines yet to creep up the fence. The tender leaves yet to open up fully were shyly grinning against the rain drops glistening on their tips.

Beautiful vineyards in the making...

Beautiful vineyards in the making…

We continued to walk up. I believe we would have been walking for about half an hour now. I make it a point to never wear a watch unless my husband reminds me to. I do not like to know the time, at any time.

You could walk forever if you have the time, energy and a heart which loves to meander about natural beauty. There were benches lined up in short intervals in the path, in the middle of the vineyards. The journey was romancing us, the path was dancing up to us, singing to us, luring us into its fold.

The journey romancing us ...

The journey romancing us …

There was an occasional jogger who waved at my son. I wondered who would want to jog in a drizzle, but here she was, with a pink hood. There was another middle-aged man who was strolling just like us, and who was content to just walk, pause, look ahead at the vast beauty from the elevation, and continue to walk, pause, and so on.

A way-farer who posed for us ...

A wayfarer who posed for us …

We continued our walk. These were the only two people we ever met during our whole walk because it was just not the day to take a walk uphill. I totally agree, never at 7 degrees Celsius in the shivering drizzle.

A thermometer at a stall in the path

A thermometer on the path

It was pretty lonely. The past few days had been a constant whirl or seeing all over Europe, drinking in the beautiful architecture, gazing lovingly at Renaissance art, eating exotic foods, being bombarded with brand new culture every hour of the day, playing fuzzball, running behind kids, interacting with our friends, singing antakshari and so on. This walk felt like a fitting end to the hectic trip we were just concluding.

Nature assaulting us with her bounty

Nature assaulting us with her bounty

This walk to Baumli, was the best part of our trip, for, in this walk, we received more from nature than we ever hoped to seek. Traveling in Europe fulfilled our expectations of the art, culture, excitement and all the assaults on our senses, which we had hoped for. But this walk was an assault on our soul, it was joyful, it was bliss.

Reaching the promised terrace:

The walk led us to the terrace – the promised heaven of the exercise. And what a view it was. We were all spellbound. We could not drink in the sight more than we did, but we ached so much to drink more if at all that makes sense.

The promised terrace above the town

The promised terrace above the town

There was not a single soul around. It was still drizzling, and we still had only one umbrella, with which our son was generally dancing, leaving the two of us to shiver so badly.

Dancing with the umrella

Dancing with the umbrella

It was also the worst day to go on a trek, and into a forest, to the top of the mountain, just to look at a view.

But you did not need an umbrella or a special shoe for this trek, you only needed a special type of soul, and we all had that, I guess.

A destination worthy of a journey

A destination worthy of a journey

And in that shiver, our beautiful souls were looking at something, never before looked at. We were experiencing those feelings in our heart since the past hour, which had never before been experienced. A walk in nature is definitely good. But a walk to reach Baumli, all alone in solitude, in a brief drizzle of love from mother Nature, was beyond the best. I think I could explode by just looking at the view, or going through the journey again.

Culmination of an epic

Culmination of an epic

I promise, anyone who undertakes such a walk, could hear angels whispering in her ears, angels whispering verses of poetry, angels beckoning your fingers into a painting, I felt all my creativity surging in, and I tried hard to stifle it, for I did not want my creativity to steal away my precious moment of communion.

This long trek to Baumli, was really a walk inwards to my own heart, to the deepest recess of my heart, ever traveled by me, and with open eyes too. There is a beautiful phrase used in the Heartfulness system of meditation – Constant Remembrance. What it means in very simple terms is, to be in touch with divinity at all times. And on this day, I felt this term take on more meanings than what was ever felt possible to me at any earlier time.

I have said this before, and I will say it again, the beauty always lies in the journey, it lies in the walking or trekking or riding. The destinations are almost always déjà vu or an anti-climax or at times even betrayals of the long arduous effort of reaching there. This time, this one time alone, in this walk to reach the top of Baumli, I could say that the statement could be rendered false.

Both the destination and the journey were as beautiful as the other. None were competing with each other. They both stood alone, in their own individual splendor, and reverence.

Some walks cannot be explained; alas we only can fall back on words like this article, for communication. Some walks can only be experienced, and even then, there would still be something lurking in your consciousness which could be trying to say something to you, which you could continue to try to understand, even one month after the walk. This was one such walk.

Well, after about 15 minutes, we decided that we had to interact and looked at each other, and smiled.

My husband’s eyes twinkled as if to say, “I wanted to surprise you, didn’t I say that?”

Love is ‘Meaningless Meanderings Leading to Perfection’!

Love and romance certainly is a candle light dinner or red roses on birthdays (no, he has not got me either, lol). It is also a declaration of love like the poems written by Romeo for Juliet. However at times, true love could mean a frustrating journey with upside down German maps and unintelligible road signs, at times true love could mean a walk along with foxes (or maybe wolves), and at times true love could also mean shivering in the rain with hair plastered all over my face at 7 degrees Celsius.

True love could be a meaningless meandering which can lead to perfection, says Lao Tzu.

Above all true love is that, where each one takes the other to the Ultimate communion.

Has any vacation taken you by surprise to redefine your opinion of beauty or love?

Photo credit: The author

Purnima Ramakrishnan

Purnima Ramakrishnan is an UNCA award winning journalist and the recipient of the fellowship in Journalism by International Reporting Project, John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Her International reports from Brazil are found here . She is also the recipient of the BlogHer '13 International Activist Scholarship Award . She is a Senior Editor at World Moms Blog who writes passionately about social and other causes in India. Her parental journey is documented both here at World Moms Blog and also at her personal Blog, The Alchemist's Blog. She can be reached through this page . She also contributes to Huffington Post . Purnima was once a tech-savvy gal who lived in the corporate world of sleek vehicles and their electronics. She has a Master's degree in Electronics Engineering, but after working for 6 years as a Design Engineer, she decided to quit it all to become a Stay-At-Home-Mom to be with her son!   This smart mom was born and raised in India, and she has moved to live in coastal India with her husband, who is a physician, and her son who is in primary grade school.   She is a practitioner and trainer of Heartfulness Meditation.

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#Heartfulness and Children: An Interview with Dr. Veronique Nicolai (Part – 2)

#Heartfulness and Children: An Interview with Dr. Veronique Nicolai (Part – 2)

“Please join us in the 2016 #Heartfulness Meditation Conference in the USA. If you are a World Moms Network contributor, or reader, or  fan, please contact us (worldmomsblog@gmail.com) for a free pass.”

Our Senior Editor, Purnima Ramakrishnan in India recently interviewed Dr. Veronique Nicolai for World Moms Blog.

Part – 1 of Dr. Veronique Nicolai’s (Pediatrician and Trainer of Heartfulness Meditation) interview is published here. Part – 2 is published below.

Purnima Ramakrishnan: Are your children practicing Heartfulness meditation?

Dr. Veronique Nicolai: Yes. Our daughter started a little less than a year ago. She has seen us meditating since she was born. She said she was waiting for her to be old enough to start. We have always shared whatever we learned or discovered with Heartfulness with them. But I always told her that what I could share was nothing compared to what I am experiencing and she could know about meditation only when she was going to try it herself.

So, now that my daughter meditates, she comes out of her meditation with her eyes shining and says – “Wow!” I am happy that she started her own wonderful inner journey.

A child practicing Heartfulness Relaxation

A child practicing Heartfulness Relaxation

PR: What are the health benefits you have observed in your child(ren) after they have started Heartfulness meditation?

VN: I have not only seen my daughter, but also other youth starting meditation early, and it has been amazing to see how strong it makes them. Children look incredibly happier; it shows on their face, they keep this brightness in their eyes. They are whole, authentic and balanced. And what is more important, this attitude is supported by the meditation practice, so it stays with them even when they fly out of the nest.

I used to worry about how my children were going to manage in the ‘outside world’ and I would have been easily over protective. But with them meditating and keeping their heart compass intact, I am very confident that they will help other youth find their balance too.

PR: What about the other holistic benefits for children to try Heartfulness Relaxation?

VN: I will give you a very practical example of how my son uses the Heartfulness relaxation. He is very sensitive and movies or stories can impress him. Sometimes he says he feels heavy and not able to fall asleep. So we do the relaxation together. I hold his feet in my hands and guide him into relaxation. And it helps like magic!

A child relaxing before going to sleep, relaxing before their exams or revisions, relaxing at these crucial times, helps him/her in the long run, in his life. It gives composure and they perform better. For some time, I did not even know they were doing it at school and enjoying it.

Such relaxed states of mind, helps us bring into this world, a balanced, content, happy breed of humanity who loves peace. We have a better generation ahead of us, which is not just holistic benefits for children, it is a holistic world, filled with compassion and peace.

PR: Please share a few things about Heartfulness Meditation which children and mothers should know for effective practising.

VN: To have balanced children, you have to have balanced parents. So the onus is first on us – parents. You can relaxation techniques for your younger kids whenever there is a stress, or to help in a difficult moment. But I would definitely recommend using it as a routine to go to sleep, everyday. It helps the child to enter sleep in relaxed manner and will ensure a quality sleep.

The hours of sleep before midnight are most important as deep sleep happens then. Deep sleep is crucial for growing children; it is then that the body heals, fights against infection and inflammation and when the growth hormone is produced.

We do not insist enough on the importance of a good night’s sleep in a growing child. It is even truer for teenagers!

The Heartfulness relaxation will teach in a natural way the child to listen to his heart, because the Heartfulness relaxation takes the child to the heart. And that is where the greatest values lie, and it will shape the child’s destiny.

Part – 1 of Dr. veronique Nicolai’s interview is published here.

World Moms Network has teamed up with the Heartfulness Institute as a media partner for their meditation conferences, the next one is at NJPAC. This interview post is part of the conference promotional, by Senior Editor, Purnima Ramakrishnan in India.

Welcome to the Meditation Conference at NJPAC

Welcome to the Meditation Conference at NJPAC

A limited number of free seats to the Heartfulness conferences are available to contributors and fans of World Moms Blog. You can register here!http://conference.heartfulnessinstitute.org/register

Please contact us (worldmomsblog@gmail.com) for a free pass.

Photo credit to the Heartfulness Institute.

Purnima Ramakrishnan

Purnima Ramakrishnan is an UNCA award winning journalist and the recipient of the fellowship in Journalism by International Reporting Project, John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Her International reports from Brazil are found here . She is also the recipient of the BlogHer '13 International Activist Scholarship Award . She is a Senior Editor at World Moms Blog who writes passionately about social and other causes in India. Her parental journey is documented both here at World Moms Blog and also at her personal Blog, The Alchemist's Blog. She can be reached through this page . She also contributes to Huffington Post . Purnima was once a tech-savvy gal who lived in the corporate world of sleek vehicles and their electronics. She has a Master's degree in Electronics Engineering, but after working for 6 years as a Design Engineer, she decided to quit it all to become a Stay-At-Home-Mom to be with her son!   This smart mom was born and raised in India, and she has moved to live in coastal India with her husband, who is a physician, and her son who is in primary grade school.   She is a practitioner and trainer of Heartfulness Meditation.

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#Heartfulness and Children: An Interview with Dr. Veronique Nicolai (Part – 1)

#Heartfulness and Children: An Interview with Dr. Veronique Nicolai (Part – 1)

“Please join us in the 2016 #Heartfulness Meditation Conference in the USA. If you are a World Moms Blog contributor, or reader, or  fan, please contact us (worldmomsblog@gmail.com) for a free pass.”

Our Senior Editor, Purnima Ramakrishnan in India recently interviewed Dr. Veronique Nicolai for World Moms Blog.

Part – 1 of Dr. Veronique Nicolai’s (Pediatrician and Trainer of Heartfulness Meditation) interview is published below. Part – 2 will be published on Friday.

Dr. Veronique Nicolai and Daughter

Dr. Veronique Nicolai and Daughter

Dr. Veronique Nicolai is a pediatrician from France. In 1997, she spent six months of studies in Medical Universities in Chennai, getting to know more about India from a medical perspective. She moved permanently to India in 1999 and has been living in Kodaikanal, Bangalore and Chennai.

She is a practitioner and trainer of Heartfulness meditation. Since 2002 till date, she has contributed towards the development of an international training program that teaches Heartfulness meditation and the philosophy of Raja Yoga to practicants from all over the world.

Veronique has a strong interest in children. She compiled and illustrated two books for children to sensitize them to holistic living. As a pediatrician, she is involved as a school doctor in Chennai.

She has a daughter Shraddha (16 y.o), and a son Anand (13 y.o). Settled in Chennai, along with her husband, she calls this city as home. This pediatrician dons many hats, with interests in yoga, teaching, arts, baking and piano.

Purnima Ramakrishnan: How long have you been practicing Heartfulness Meditation?

Dr. Veronique Nicolai: I got to know about Heartfulness meditation when I was still at school, in the 12th grade. I had moved to a new city in the South of France, and my new best girl friend’s parents were meditating. We used to spend a lot of time at her house. I liked the atmosphere there and the profound conversations that we had with her parents. I found them wise and happy in their life. They were a great inspiration. Then my friend also started. By that time we both had started our medical studies and I thought she was crazy, as medical studies are very difficult. I observed her and she was doing great in her studies and in her life. It was the 90s and France was not at all opened to the idea of meditation. It was also a big step for me to take, to try something different.  I read also about meditation on the heart and in 1993, I started, just like that, almost without warning. Meditation has been my companion since, and it’s been the most amazing inner journey. I had gone into the medical field to make sure I will never cease to learn new things, all my life. With meditation, I opened an entire new field of wonder and discovery.

If the practical and immediate benefits of meditation hooked me at the beginning, it is the beauty of the inner journey that has kept me doing it.

PR: How do you think the Heartfulness Relaxation technique helps children?

VN: I don’t think it helps, I have seen it help. I like to try things first on myself, and then on my children, before I actually recommend it. We have a big rule, we paediatricians; never advise something new (I am talking mainly about new treatments), unless it’s been used on the market for many years. We have to be very careful because we deal with delicate and growing beings. So we often wait and observe before acting. In the same way, I observed how meditation works on adults. Then my kids tried relaxation. My son who is 13 is so positive about its effect. A boy of this age is not that easy to convince.

The first time he tried it, he said he felt something like a cool shower relaxing him and he felt so good. I did not have to ask him to do it. He started doing it on his own, in class, before exams and especially at night. That’s how I know it works. Because they choose to practise it, I did not have to give it to them.

In my understanding, Heartfulness has something unique. It helps children first relax their body.

There is so much stimulation all around, that some kids have trouble just sitting on a chair, and some are either impatient or fear to even keep their eyes closed for just a couple of minutes. Slowly with relaxation, they learn to let go of their fear, their anxiety.

Obviously their sleep is also improved immediately. But it goes further. We give too much importance to the body and the mind. Nutrition and health is also about the balance of the body and mind.

What about the soul? One’s deeper self?

I remember when I was a kid, I was very anxious about the purpose of life; I had a lot of questions about death. The uniqueness of Heartfulness relaxation is that, it takes the child to his heart. And there, by staying in the heart for some time and with eyes closed, the child is able to tune with his heart and get familiar with what defines him, at the core.

So with a very simple exercise, we teach the child to recognise that (s)he is not defined by what (s)he looks like, or what is outside, or her/his intelligence, but by the heart. This is for me the most important gift that we can teach a child: to find her/his inner self, make it strong and teach her/him to listen to it and have a life guided by the heart.

PR: How does the Heartfulness Relaxation and meditation help a woman be an effective and better mother?

VN: I really wish all mothers would learn this wonderful method. I loved it when I was not yet a mother, but its importance in keeping my balance has only increased when I became a mother. A woman’s well-being reflects on the entire family. So when I come home, in the evening, tired, exhausted by the day, and I know I have to cook, and two grumpy kids because it’s late, or they are just tired too, I find 20 minutes for myself to meditate. I call it my heart-spa. I come out fresh. After 20 years of practice, I am still astonished at the new energy it gives me. So I can handle dinner, grumpiness, you name it. You will see that actually, the grumpiness of your kids disappears when you yourself are fresh!

It is also a great experience to have your children wake up in the morning, when you are already fresh from your own morning meditation. It changes the way you send them to school. That’s the immediate, practical effect in a day-to-day life.

But deeper than this, there are questions about you as a woman, as a mother, that need you to pause and introspect about. And, well, I am still learning, as I experience it more and more. Meditation has been a great life companion to me! It gave me insights that no medical book or journal could have given me. I suddenly could understand, get answers, things became clear. That is the result of a deeper change, very much linked to a regular practice.

Part – 2 of Dr. veronique Nicolai’s interview will be published on Friday.

World Moms Network has teamed up with the Heartfulness Institute as a media partner for their three upcoming U.S. meditation conferences. This interview post is part of the conference promotional, by Senior Editor, Purnima Ramakrishnan in India.

A limited number of free seats to the Heartfulness conferences are available to contributors and fans of World Moms Blog. You can register here!http://conference.heartfulnessinstitute.org/register

Please contact us (worldmomsblog@gmail.com) for a free pass.

Register for the Heartfulness Conferences

Register for the Heartfulness Conferences

Photo credit to Dr. Nicolai and Heartfulness Institute.

Purnima Ramakrishnan

Purnima Ramakrishnan is an UNCA award winning journalist and the recipient of the fellowship in Journalism by International Reporting Project, John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Her International reports from Brazil are found here . She is also the recipient of the BlogHer '13 International Activist Scholarship Award . She is a Senior Editor at World Moms Blog who writes passionately about social and other causes in India. Her parental journey is documented both here at World Moms Blog and also at her personal Blog, The Alchemist's Blog. She can be reached through this page . She also contributes to Huffington Post . Purnima was once a tech-savvy gal who lived in the corporate world of sleek vehicles and their electronics. She has a Master's degree in Electronics Engineering, but after working for 6 years as a Design Engineer, she decided to quit it all to become a Stay-At-Home-Mom to be with her son!   This smart mom was born and raised in India, and she has moved to live in coastal India with her husband, who is a physician, and her son who is in primary grade school.   She is a practitioner and trainer of Heartfulness Meditation.

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Women and Spirituality: An Interview with Dr. Elizabeth Denley of #Heartfulness (Part – 2)

Women and Spirituality: An Interview with Dr. Elizabeth Denley of #Heartfulness (Part – 2)

“Please join us in the 2016 #Heartfulness Meditation Conference in the USA. If you are a World Moms Blog contributor, or reader, or  fan, please contact us (worldmomsblog@gmail.com) for a free pass.”

Part – 1 of Dr. Elizabeth Denley’s (Trainer, Heartfulness Institute) interview is published here. Part – 2 is below.

Our Senior Editor, Purnima Ramakrishnan in India recently interviewed Dr. Denley for World Moms Blog.

Purnima Ramakrishnan: Generally women are very emotional people, how to ignore that, when trying to become more spiritual, or tuned within into the heart?

Dr. Elizabeth Denley: You are right. I noticed a huge change in myself. I think the practice itself is the solution for this. It is in our nature to easily get hurt by what other people do. We easily feel the pains of our children; we worry about them, when they are struggling as teenagers, when they are facing peer pressure. If our husbands have problems at work, we carry them, just like we do for ours. We have hormonal cycles. Our monthly cycles affect our emotions. All these things are there.

In Heartfulness Meditation, we have this process called “cleaning”, I read this article written by one of your writers, Sophia from USA about the benefits of Heartfulness Guided Cleaning process. This cleaning process can be at the end of the day. I became an ace cleaner. And I am glad.

We also clean out emotional responses. If one hangs on to self pity, worry, hurt, it eats her up. What we do is, we recognise our emotional responses, and we let them pass. Worry, anxiety, hormonal changes you cannot switch it off. So, observe it. Clean it. Relax, breathe. Just take a pause.

A point comes in the spiritual journey of a human being, where work is done on the spiritual anatomy of the heart. At that time, these things do not have the same impact. One has more poise, and a more balanced way of responding to the world.

I do get angry, but the intensity is lesser these days. I am able to manage it better. All this has happened as a result of the practice of meditation and the cleaning process.

PR: How does spirituality empower women?

ED: I was part of the feminist movement in the 70s in Australia. When I came back to Australia, I was active in the government funded women’s health centres and extremely involved in women and their roles in modern western society. A similar wave is happening in India, right now, as I can see. Young women are getting educated; they are having careers, balancing family, and trying to live a fulfilled life.

What is feminism?
I think it is the ability to love, ability to create harmony, in the family, and country. Masculine roles are much more assertive. Getting ‘there’ and achieving in an ego driven way, whereas female role in any organization is a harmonizing role.

I don’t mean women can’t or should not do. I mean that they can do much more effectively. The feminine way of coordinating, harmonizing, unifying, of loving, that is one of the important roles of feminine, I think so. Women have a huge role to play in society.

Once we start valuing these important qualities in ourselves as women, the society starts valuing us. Mother is the glue in a family. Behind a man is a successful woman. A CEO in an organization, or a school, org, or an Institute – everywhere there are these Hidden roles! They may not necessarily be at the top or forefront. A woman has to value this unique quality in her. When she starts valuing herself, everyone around her starts valuing her too.

Society functions most effectively when man and woman harmonize and support each other, when they complement each other, rather than see each other as competitors, as more empowered or less empowered comparatively.

A work place has to have a nice balance between men and women. Men and women need to be there for each other. The education system has many teachers as women. They support each other. A school system is always a strong unit. The corporate sector is slowly catching up with this. So these are some examples of the importance of female role.

Now this word “empowering” is to allow a woman to feel good about the feminine, instead of making her feel bad about being born as a woman. But if it is sense of power, then we are barking up a wrong tree. This sense of “empowerment” is wrong for men too.

According to me, to have “power”, that is to control or influence others is not the way forward to humanity. To do that would be a destructive way forward. The masculine way forward was like that, and the feminist movement happened because of that.

Women meditating

Women meditating

So, I think empowering women is to bring back the balance, to value, to cherish, to support and complement the female roles in all cultures, society.

For example, somebody should not be embarrassed to say she is a housewife. That is a sad thing to happen. Women raising children and supporting her husband is as important a role, to being a CEO of an organization. Raising kids is  the future of humanity.

Until we start to change our viewpoints, we are not empowering women.

PR: What is the role of women in spirituality with regards to her family, community and society? And how to fulfil that?

ED: Spirituality is nothing but giving. Creating unity, harmony and love are associated with spirituality. As a mother, we always give. It is our function. How can u have children and not give? Even to bear a child, you give up your individuality. You wake up in the middle of the night, EVERY.SINGLE.NIGHT, to feed your baby. You don’t sacrifice. It is a natural part of giving. We do everything to support the child.

This is spirituality. We are in a better place than our brothers to embrace spirituality – to give unconditionally, and with love.

PR: How to strike a balance between being confident and feeling serene and content within?

ED: In spirituality we are interested in excelling. We do everything we would like to do. We don’t want overconfidence. We don’t want egotism. Humility is important for spiritual growth. Humility is not feeling bad about oneself. What I mean is, “I see my place in the world. There are other people who are greater. Everyone has their place.” A garden has many flowers, not just one.

Humility is that little plant or flower knowing that there are other beautiful things too, but nevertheless its presence also makes the garden beautiful. So humility brings its own confidence. With an attitude to wonder, a willingness to grow and change, one gets a joyous confidence that the universe will teach me what I have to learn.When I integrate confidence and humility, I can do the best I can, at all times.

PR: If there is one message you would like to share with women who have started practising Heartfulness Meditation, what would that be?

ED: Take interest! That is the most important thing. You can find solutions for anything when you are interested. Evolve to become a better mother, a wife, a human being. You, as a group of women are taking so much interest in maintaining this blog, and unifying women across the world, and you contribute with your interest and energy. It is so popular, and there are so many women looking up to it, learning through it, and it is changing lives of women across the world. So, interest is the most important thing.

Take interest in Heartfulness Meditation, and observe it changing your lives.

If you would like to meet Dr. Denley, you can connect with her through social media, email her or meet her in person at any of the US Heartfulness conferences coming up in June! She is chairing one of the breakout sessions in Detroit and will speak about “Heartfulness Education for Creating a Resilient, Well-Grounded Student.” She will interact with the audience and outline the educational initiatives of the Heartfulness Movement, such as the Conscious Living Program, U-Connect etc., and their impact so far.

A limited number of free seats to the Heartfulness conferences are available to contributors and fans of World Moms Blog. You can register here! http://conference.heartfulnessinstitute.org/register

Register for the Meditation Conferences

Register for the Meditation Conferences

Please contact us (worldmomsblog@gmail.com) for a free pass.

This is an original interview of Dr. Elizabeth Denley to World Moms Blog by Senior Editor, Purnima Ramakrishnan.

Photo Credit: Heartfulness Institute

Purnima Ramakrishnan

Purnima Ramakrishnan is an UNCA award winning journalist and the recipient of the fellowship in Journalism by International Reporting Project, John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Her International reports from Brazil are found here . She is also the recipient of the BlogHer '13 International Activist Scholarship Award . She is a Senior Editor at World Moms Blog who writes passionately about social and other causes in India. Her parental journey is documented both here at World Moms Blog and also at her personal Blog, The Alchemist's Blog. She can be reached through this page . She also contributes to Huffington Post . Purnima was once a tech-savvy gal who lived in the corporate world of sleek vehicles and their electronics. She has a Master's degree in Electronics Engineering, but after working for 6 years as a Design Engineer, she decided to quit it all to become a Stay-At-Home-Mom to be with her son!   This smart mom was born and raised in India, and she has moved to live in coastal India with her husband, who is a physician, and her son who is in primary grade school.   She is a practitioner and trainer of Heartfulness Meditation.

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Women and Spirituality: An Interview with Dr. Elizabeth Denley of #Heartfulness (Part – 1)

Women and Spirituality: An Interview with Dr. Elizabeth Denley of #Heartfulness (Part – 1)

“Please join us in the 2016 #Heartfulness Meditation Conference in the USA. If you are a World Moms Blog contributor, or reader, or  fan, please contact us (worldmomsblog@gmail.com) for a free pass.”

This is part – 1 of the interview. Part – 2 of the interview with more insights is published here.

Dr. Elizebeth Denley, Trainer, Heartfulness Institute

Dr. Elizebeth Denley, Trainer, Heartfulness Institute

Dr. Elizabeth Denley, a trainer and practitioner of Heartfulness Meditation (HFN) calls herself, “a student of the heart.” For the last twenty-six years she has been practising a heart-based meditation and facilitating and teaching others in that practice. She spends most of her time in Sydney Australia and Chennai India (my hometown!), and has two adult children.

Her undergraduate degree and PhD are in the field of ecology, and she has always had a deep interest in the relationship between science and spirituality, the human mind and vibratory heart, and the nature of the universe. She is also a musician and a writer, and has been active in values education and training for the last twenty years. She also heads the “History and Archives” department of the Heartfulness Institute as the Director.

Our Senior Editor, Purnima Ramakrishnan in India recently interviewed Dr. Denley for World Moms Blog.

Purnima Ramakrishnan: We want to get to know you! Tell us a little bit more about yourself as a mother, as a professional, as a meditator.
Elizabeth Denley: I am 60 now. I have lived a very eventful life. I was born in Australia, South of Sydeney. I have always been interested in learning, exploring, and studied music and dance as a child.

My parents encouraged me to explore life. They were not religious which helped me explore most of the spiritual traditions with an open heart and mind.

After high school, I joined medical school, but did not like it much, so I moved to biology studies and studied Ecology. I couldn’t cope up with the emotional life at Stanford University, which drove me to the quest towards spirituality.

After my post doctoral studies in the US, I moved back to Australia, and got married. My husband worked for the United Nations, with the Doctors Sans Borders, so we traveled a lot. My daughter was born in Paris. and when we were in Geneva, I discovered Heartfulness meditation in 1990. A week later, I met the then spiritual guide Chariji, and that was a turning point in my life — when I discovered my purpose of life. All the research work done on mind, matter, heart, and life studies made sudden sense to me.

In 1991, I became a trainer of Heartfulness meditation. And my son Lucas was born. We moved back to Australia. I was a home maker for a decade, while parenting and volunteering for the Heartfulness Institute in teaching meditation and doing administrative work for the organization.

In 2000, I moved back to the business world, and worked for 10 years, before finally retiring in 2010. It was very tough for me, because I never liked money and business. I always shied away from it. I was disgusted with the world. Then I understood business is about communication and relationships in a different scale. It was a very disillusioning experience, but it also taught me to grow up and handle my emotions.

PR: How has practicing meditation for “25” long years affected your life?

ED: It has transformed my life. I used to be very emotional, which did not enable me to live a really fulfilling life. I was capable and successful in what I was doing, but there was always something fundamentally missing in my life. I tried Tai chi. I tried other spiritual techniques. They all led me to something new and different, and eventually I tried Heartfulness Meditation.

At the time I was a typical western woman who grew up in the 60s and 70s. I was not able to deal with my life. I was frustrated and when I tried Heartfulness meditation, I knew evolution within me had started. It was a turning of the tide. Life did not overnight become easy. It was no magic wand. However, I knew the purpose of my life, and I knew how to deal with the rest of things that did not matter so much.

PR: Tell us a little bit about your children (because we are the World “Moms” Blog!). How has your meditation practice helped your kids?

ED: My Heartfulness practice made life easier for them. My daughter was 2 years old, when I first met my teacher. She had me as her mother before I started meditating whereas, my son was conceived when I was meditating. My son’s path in life is so much smoother. I am a better mother as a result of doing this.

Firstly, I am more straightforward, I am happier. There is more joy in me naturally.

Also my children were brought up in an environment, where there is a bigger love than what I or their father could offer. They grew up in an atmosphere which was charged with an atmosphere of Universal love. These like-minded people were open hearted. Not everybody is perfect. But there was genuine willingness to work on oneself, and open hearts and evolve.

My children have had their struggles. They had their teenage years. But they also had the ability to maneuver obstacles. They had the ability to smoothly sail.

PR: It is difficult to find time to allocate for meditation in today’s busy lives, when women are balancing jobs, parenting, home, and more. How did you find that elusive 30 minutes in the morning?

ED: When I first started HFN, my husband was travelling a lot with the UN. He was out of Geneva most of the time. And I had a 3 year old. Many times my daughter Gerry woke up at 5 AM. So, I waited. I fitted my spiritual practice around family life. And still today I would do that when there is a necessity. There are no hard and fast rules for women. Often I would meditate after feeding Lucas in the night!

There are, of course, a set of guidelines for the best time to meditate, which is at dawn.
But at times, it is not always easy. It is not always straightforward. You have to find and build your own rhythm. No woman is selfish – to tell her family – “I can’t help you now- because I am meditating.” So fit the practice around family life. It is a matter of being flexible.

Check out Part – 2 of Dr. Elizabeth Denley’s interview here.

If you would like to meet Dr. Denley, you can connect with her through social media or meet her in person at any of the US Heartfulness conferences coming up in June! In fact, she is chairing one of the breakout sessions in Detroit and will speak about “Heartfulness Education for Creating a Resilient, Well-Grounded Student.” She will interact with the audience and outline the educational initiatives of the Heartfulness Movement, such as the Conscious Living Program, U-Connect etc., and their impact so far.

A limited number of free seats to the Heartfulness conferences are available to contributors and fans of World Moms Blog. You can register here!:  http://conference.heartfulnessinstitute.org/register/

Register for the Heartfulness Conferences

Register for the Heartfulness Conferences in June 2016!

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Senior Editor, Purnima Ramakrishnan. 

Photo credit to the author. 

Purnima Ramakrishnan

Purnima Ramakrishnan is an UNCA award winning journalist and the recipient of the fellowship in Journalism by International Reporting Project, John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Her International reports from Brazil are found here . She is also the recipient of the BlogHer '13 International Activist Scholarship Award . She is a Senior Editor at World Moms Blog who writes passionately about social and other causes in India. Her parental journey is documented both here at World Moms Blog and also at her personal Blog, The Alchemist's Blog. She can be reached through this page . She also contributes to Huffington Post . Purnima was once a tech-savvy gal who lived in the corporate world of sleek vehicles and their electronics. She has a Master's degree in Electronics Engineering, but after working for 6 years as a Design Engineer, she decided to quit it all to become a Stay-At-Home-Mom to be with her son!   This smart mom was born and raised in India, and she has moved to live in coastal India with her husband, who is a physician, and her son who is in primary grade school.   She is a practitioner and trainer of Heartfulness Meditation.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
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