The 20-Days Himalayan Awakening Course Is In Full Swing At The Canadian Ashram
55 precious Divine Gems from around the globe are at the Canadian Ashram to experience and celebrate life in a yogic way. For many of the participants it is their first experience of seeing snow, and they are loving it. The grounds and trees, covered with snow, look heavenly.
The weather has been perfect so far for us to enjoy the outdoors. We are walking, rolling, sliding, singing, dancing, doing pranayamas, and meditating in the snow. The air is so fresh and rich in prana. It is rejuvenating for the body, and thirst-quenching for the mind. Feels like we are not just breathing the air, we are drinking it.
The seva team is happily working very hard 24/7 to make sure everything is running smoothly. The food is amazingly delicious and nutritious.
Chinese New Year’s Ongoing Celebrations!
We celebrated the last day of the 2-weeks celebrations of the Chinese New Year. We sang and danced around the bonfire. The Chinese participants prepared an exquisite dinner, which included over 800 dumplings. Everyone ate so much!
What Makes You Beautiful!
The Moon is an icon of beauty and fullness. It charms everyone, and inspires poets and spiritual seekers. But the moon looks beautiful only because it reflects the Sun. The Moon’s beauty lies in the Sun.
Similarly, your beauty lies in your Soul. Your mind reflects your Soul, and is heavenly beautiful. But you don’t experience this beauty because of the unnecessary modulations in the mind which act like dark clouds and hide the beauty.
Through the proper practice of yoga when you are able to free your mind from the unnecessary modulations, the beauty becomes apparent. Then you yourself bathe in this beauty, and also become an icon of beauty, fullness, and love, and an inspiration to many.
When, through abhyasa, you identify more with the Soul, and less with the flesh, you becomes increasingly beautiful. Your growing and expanding identification with the Soul eventually leads to the realization of your oneness with the Soul. Then you are no longer a decaying flesh, you become that Most Beautiful.
In all the courses above, the course participants were very sincere and eager to learn, which made the teaching a joy. Many of them were commuting long distances daily, but still they were all present for the early morning sessions. Love you all.
Everyone shared beautiful experiences. Below is one, a representative of most:
“The love you ushered on us was so powerful that I did not feel like leaving the hall today after the session ended. What I realized is “Transcending the body”, and “yoga is union of body and mind” were just a concept in my mind. It is only after experiencing the depth and stillness during the past few days , I am now able to at least move away from those concepts to “experiencing ” state. You are absolutely right on teaching /learning/practicing yoga more from a space of honor, respect and spirituality rather than just a series of asanas or postures. It’s only because of yogacharayas like you we are able to maintain the purity and true meaning of “YOGA”. -Raj
Forgiving others and oneself is an essential characteristic which a yogi must possess in order to progress on the path of yoga. However, for the matured students of yoga, another way, which transcends forgiving, is recommended,
Question: Dreams don’t have consequences, but the past does. How can they be alike?
You have consequences in the dreams also, but they are not there when you wake up. The consequences of the past may require an action. Take the needed action but then, using the above wisdom, move forward, and be free from anger, guilt, and blame. They all belong to the past.
Can spiritual practices really lead to enlightenment? I have been doing my practices for over 25 years regularly and sincerely. I undoubtedly see many benefits, but I don’t see myself anywhere near enlightenment. I also do seva regularly and have sincere devotion in my heart. I don’t know what’s missing. Could you please share your thoughts on it.
Spiritual enlightenment is a flashy and vague term. It can mean many different things to different people. I don’t know what it means to you, and what exactly are you trying to achieve?
The Yoga Scriptures don’t use the term ‘enlightenment’. Instead, they inspire the seekers to become mukta (free or liberated). Becoming mukta is a meaningful, clear, and achievable goal of spiritual journey. It means freeing yourself from all that you have created in your mind. In the Bhagvad Geeta, Lord Krishna repeatedly says that a yogi is free, and inspires Arjuna to become free. He doesn’t tell Arjuna to become enlightened.
Spiritual Practices Have Their Limitations
Spiritual practices are very essential for the wellness of your body, mind, and Spirit, but they also have their limitations. The practices are something similar to sunbathing. When you sunbathe, you experience the presence of Sun, but you are no where close to the Sun. You can sunbathe a million times, your tan will certainly become darker, but the distance will still remain. Similarly, in meditation you experience something beautiful that is being emitted from the Spirit, but you are nowhere near the Spirit. You can meditate for many years, your experience will certainly become deeper, but you may still be nowhere closer to the Spirit. Though the Spirit is omnipresent, it is not accessible to all. Its presence is.
So, drop the desire to be enlightened. It is only a concept. Instead, cultivate the desire to be free in your mind. You have bound yourself, and now, through knowledge and self-effort, unbound yourself. When the mind is free, it will open the doors to the Spirit, and the drop will merge into the Ocean.
A free mind doesn’t have the desire to have its own identity, and therefore it merges into Infinity. When you are desiring for enlightenment, you have the desire to exist. You want to exist as an enlightened being, which is not possible.
When I woke up this morning, It was snowing. It looked so beautiful and magical, I thought of you.
Silly me! I started to count the snow flakes, Thousands, millions, trillions… I wished you that many good things.
Above all, I wished for you To always remember, How precious you were! ❤
The Himalayan Awakening Course Update
The winter at the Canadian ashram has arrived, and the ashram is already looking so magical. Thousands of snow-covered tall pine trees look like yogis in meditation, frozen in time. They and I are calling you to come and meditate with us.
We currently have 60 people registered for this course, and because of many more requests we are opening up the registration for up to 40 more people.
If you are interested, please register before December 20,. We need to reserve the motel accommodation accordingly.
However, before registering please send me an email ( email@example.com) telling me a little bit about yourself, your spiritual journey, and your health condition. Upon acceptance, the registration link will be sent to you.
Please note, as many of you have asked, I will not be offering another Himalayan Awakening Course in 2018.
‘The Himalayan Awakening’
Feb 24 (4:00 PM) – March 15 (12:00 PM), 2018
A 20 days program in the midst of Winter, at the AOL Canadian Ashram, when the prana in Nature is super-pure and abundant. Learning and doing spiritual practices in such prana-rich environment can freeze your mind in stillness and alertness. The winter at the Montreal ashram is beautiful but can also be rough. One’s willingness to endure some roughness is like doing tapas (austerities), and reflects one’s sincerity to know oneSelf. These are some of the reasons why many seekers choose to go to Himalayas for some time. I bring the Himalayan experience to you at the AOL Canadian ashram.
This course is an opportunity for you to immerse yourself deeply in all aspects of yoga practices. You will experience the power, beauty, and depth of practices when done properly and with honour for longer periods.
During the first 10 days of the course, the focus will be on making the body and mind healthier and stronger with the intense practices of Hatha Yoga such as asanas, pranayamas, bandhas, yogic kriyas etc. and, of course, meditations and sharing of knowledge will also be important parts of the daily routine.
During the next 10 days the focus will shift to meditations, silence, and knowledge; along with continuation of the hatha yoga practices.
Pre-requisite: Minimum three Art of Silence courses, regular yoga practice, and sincere interest in spirituality.
Course Fee: $2045.00 Canadian
Please note that because of the high costs associated with the motel accommodation and daily shuttle service to and from motel , the early bird discount is not available for any new registrations.
In this course you will not only make your body and mind stronger, but also make a strong foundation for your yoga journey for discovering the yogi in you. ❤❤
Just as every wave that appears in the Ocean is water, similarly, whatever appears in the Spirit, seen or unseen, matter or living, is Spirit, though the degree of its apparentness varies. Apparentness of the Spirit in a rock is lesser than in a plant. In a human it is much greater, and in an enlightened being it is incredibly greater.
Spiritual practices, devotion, and faith make Spirit’s presence more apparent. In many ancient temples and churches one can feel the strong spiritual energy radiating even from a rock. There, a rock is no longer just a rock. Being in an environment of devotion and faith, the presence of Spirit in it has become very apparent.
Immense beauty, and innumerable forms and shapes are hidden in a rock. A sculptor finds them. He is able to discover them only because they pre-exist in a rock. You can find butter in the milk only because butter pre-exists in milk.
A rock has science, signs, and clues embedded in it. That’s how a geologist learns and knows about a rock. If there were no clues and signs, the learning and knowing would not be possible.
A yogi doesn’t see a rock as only a rock. He sees beauty in it. He sees infinity in it, and most importantly he sees the Spirit in it and honours it.
A yogi sees Spirit everywhere and, with his heart, does namaste to all that is.
Amazing Pierre! Amazing Inspiration!
I receive my inspiration from so many sources, including so many of you. Pierre Laflamme is one such source. He has been my friend, and spiritual companion for over 30 years. I am proud of him and our friendship.
If you meet Pierre once, you remember him forever. His smile, gentleness, humbleness, and kindness leave an everlasting impression in your heart.
Pierre is the President of Art of Living Foundation in Canada, and also the Director of the Canadian Ashram. He is also a very popular teacher of several advanced Art of Living courses, His students relate and connect to him very easily because he teaches not like a teacher, but like a friend.
He has been a strong pillar of the Art of Living Foundation in Canada, and the Canadian ashram from the very beginning. Serving and sacrificing come naturally to him. I remember, during the early days of the ashram, when there wasn’t much accommodation there, Pierre would give comfortable and heated rooms to others, while he himself would sleep on the floor, wrapped in blankets, in an unheated space, in bitterly cold weather.
He is a sincere karma yogi, and a true devotee. He loves Guru Ji dearly. Guru Ji too loves him dearly, and entrusts and empowers him. 🌹
I asked a few ashramites, who have been living at the ashram for many years, to share a few words about Pierre, they all said that a few words were not enough to write about Pierre. Here are some of the sharings:
“I have know Pierre Laflemme for 14 years, he was my direct supervisor for 6.5 years and is the same age as my Dad. I feel very close to Pierre and value his friendship. One lesson that I have learned from Pierre over the years was to focus on your commitments not your feelings, something Gurudev told Pierre one day on a phone call from Germany. The other, to always have a laugh in any situation. The more difficult the situation, the bigger and deeper the laugh”. – Mark
“If you ask Pierre, he will tell you that he was only coming to the ashram for a few months; but he has been here for over 30 years helping the Centre grow and expand. His name, which means rock or stone, is a true exemplification of name and form. He has provided a foundation for growth for the International Art of Living Centre – Canada. To watch him work is an inspiration…….wherever there is a need he is there, in the garden, chopping and stacking wood, postering, or cleaning rooms…. He is so sincere and focused, yet has a spontaneous immediate sense of humor, which makes you feel he could have been a stand-up comedian. People come easily to him to talk, complain, or find some resolution with an issue. He feeds them knowledge and listens, and sees how he can help, and also how the person can help him or herself. His commitment to the Centre, to pushing through challenging situations, is an inspiration…. His leadership moves the Centre forward and his devotion to Guruji reminds us that discipline, focus and devotion nurture life and create expansion.” – Mede
“Pierre embodies so much of the knowledge that Guruji has given us, and gives me hope that one day I can be as kind, compassionate, considerate as he is. I organized silence courses for him in Saskatoon. Once after I picked him from the airport, I was nervous about the way, and I got lost on the road for an hour – he had travelled over 10 hours to fly into Saskatoon. I was amazed at his kindness, patience and compassion towards me. He was tired and hungry, but he did not loose his temper. I eventually found the way and got him to the retreat centre. Every time I have gone to Pierre with any issue, I have always come away feeling lighter, and as Guruji says – this is the sign of good company.” – Shreya
We love you Pierre!
Thank you for being an amazing inspiration to so many.
My schedule has been updated on my schedule page. Currently I am at the Canadian ashram teaching the 10 day silence course with Bharti. It is starting to get cold here, but the air feels very fresh and high in prana.🌹