The group didn’t just join teachings. They also did many practices. The reasons for these practices were, as I mentioned before, to put the information they had into practice to turn it into “cognition”.
One of the most powerful of these practices was the Rebirth Fast which took 3 days long. You cannot eat or talk during the fast; you are only allowed to drink water. To prevent the mind from getting cluttered, listening to music, watching something even studying wasn’t allowed.
Everybody was amazing. Every day, they did 6 hours of meditation, 4 times of 80 kumbhakas and also asana practice which includes drop backs, handstands with Çetin Çetintaş. The best part was the end. We meditated together, chanted the Metta Sutra and finished the fast by hugging each other; by filling our hearts first with love. When you do something like this, something you think will be difficult but still go through it, something happens inside you. You go beyond of “you”, beyond who you think you are and connect with your true self. And you start having more faith inside of you; you know you have the power to go beyond any limits you have. It was really beautiful seeing all those happy faces and beautiful souls talking again excitedly after 3 days.
Another thing we did that I’d like to mention of is parasailing trip we went 2 days before graduation. The Bir Area we were in, was the second highest point in the world. You jump off from 2400 meters. When we were staying in the ashram, people were passing over parasailing all day long; some of them screaming 😀 We’d decided to celebrate the graduation by parasailing.
It wasn’t only for fun; it was again for the students to get out of their habits and to face themselves. Actually, it was an important practice also for me because I was really afraid of this for years. 🙂
We got in two vans and started to go up to the hill again on curvy roads. First, everything was ok, but as we continue to go up higher and higher, my mind started to panic a little. We came where we were going to jump off, all the teachers who were going to parasail with us were waiting there with their backpacks in which they have their parachutes. They opened their bags and started to unfold the parachutes.
One of them came up to me and told me to go with him; we stopped at the edge of the mountain. At that moment, what I needed to do was to control my mind; fortunately, I was able to. He made me wear the equipment and told me not to touch the 3 locks and of course, my mind screamed “What?? There are 3 locks that I’m not supposed to touch!!”. At that exact moment, I saw Nazan, her teacher and another guy running all together. And then I saw Nazan flying in the air while still running. Right after her, I saw Sinem and then they started yelling at me “Run, run, run”. We ran 3-4 steps and we were in the emptiness.
When you first jump, we fell down for a short time then the parachute pulled us up. The fall was one of the best things ever. All my fear went away at that moment and I started to enjoy everything. Whatever the subject is, when you let go, when you trust the universe then you can experience everything as it is not through the modifications your mind has created.
It was really amazing to parasail over the Himalayas. They ask you and do some acrobatic things. My teacher did it without asking me anything and because I never had this experience before all I could do was to ask “Is this normal?”. It was such a great experience. Since we three landed first, we got to watch the others sail in the air and to land.
It was probably the most fun day in the ashram. Pravin came and told us that it was Holi Fest, and whether our group wanted to join the celebrations or not. We didn’t exactly realize what the answer “Yes” would be bringing. 😀 Holi, is a Hindu Spring Celebration also known as “Festival of Colors” and “Festival of Love”. It indicates the arrival of spring and the victory of good over evil. To celebrate it, everyone throws colored powder to each other. Pravin, first came to us and made a colorful dot on our foreheads (Since we were not Indians). But then because of the high interest of our group, we all celebrated it together for hours getting from one color into another. To celebrate it with them made us and also them so happy.
When it was almost 4 pm in the afternoon, Pravin told us we should take shower or no one will get hot water since solar power is used in the ashram. We had to try a little to get off the paints. A part of my hair stayed green for a week. Tanseli still had some pink parts when we got back to Istanbul 🙂 By the way, on Holi Fest, everybody throws colors to each other in India. Even they stopped the passing cars and throw colors inside. You can still see colors on the streets after few days had passed. I guess this is one of the best ways to celebrate summer.