My beliefs, my ego, my emotions – all these 35 years of my life – I felt I was living in a big farcical world.

Well, that is the end of Manthan and the beginning of a new journey for me. Let me talk about the 7 beautiful and not so beautiful days of Manthan.   

I had two primary reasons to be part of Manthan – 1. My mother 2. My MCL Ligament injury.   

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As soon as I reached the resort, I was told that I am sharing my room with Deep and not with one of my 2 Guwahati (My hometown) friends. So much so for my comfort zone! I reached my room, which was pretty neat, and tidy thanks to Deep, but the right side of our bed was occupied, and I was supposed to sleep on the left, which was near the door! Suddenly my fear of the dark kicked in. My stomach started churning. I slyly replaced Deep’s charger with mine on the right side of the bed (the nasty me), hoping (the optimistic me) that when Deep comes back, he would switch to the left side of the bed. My second worry – it was a king-size bed. The fear of sharing the same bed with an unknown person crept in – again the churning began. So after dealing with multiple other obsessions (including instructing the housekeeping to switch to twin beds – which was thankfully possible), I managed to get to our meeting point at 6:30 PM. Now that is the kind of OCD I have been dealing with for more than a decade. The informal meeting around the Bonfire was about getting to know each other (16 of us plus our wonderful coaches – Mihir Sir, Shabnam & Tulika) our experiences, our reason behind Manthan. Naveen Sir enters the arena sometime around 9:30 and the Aura changes.  His energy is unfathomable. Beautiful weather, a beautiful company under the stars, and our Guardian Angel – Sri Naveen Varshneya. Yet my nervousness and anxiety were getting the better of me!! 

The next day our lectures began, which surprisingly was in a Conference Room format. We were supposed to get done with our NV Swimming (Yog Nidra) and be ready for Naveen Sir. The setting was perfect. Meditation Hall was adjacent to the Conference room surrounded by a large courtyard and lush greenery.  Day 1 was all about acceptance of oneself as an imperfect Human Being.  The 1st emotion that we needed to be aware of and eventually accept was jealousy, which I did wholeheartedly. This one emotion is the key behind various others – Guilt, Shame, Worry, Anxiety, Anger, Rage, Fear, Betrayal. Also, I realized that I had been judging myself and others my entire life, because if Judgment disappears -> Ego is Broken -> Arrival of Pain -> One asks for guidance towards purpose in Pain -> Arrival of purpose kills need -> Arrival of Faith. I also realized that I have always wanted Bliss and my mind always gets stressed to seek bliss at any cost, which makes me move on (jump) and move on as long as I can be in Bliss (which after Day 2 I realized was my Survival Mechanism). Bottom line – I have been a Survivor for the last 35 years of my life. 

The next couple of days were all about us getting in the mould of being broken rather shattered to pieces. Breathe on intuition – “if it is impulse it will die down quickly if it is intuition it will stick around.” Hail Naveen Sir. All we had to do was find intuition (Sounds easy right ;)). The forever ambitious me was on the job.  

Day 2 – Einstein’s (Naveen Sir) Algorithm  

F(x) = A + B + C +D +E  

Suffering  = Belief + Tendency + Pattern  + Triggers + Symptoms  

Sir, I can’t thank you enough and thank my stars enough. 

Thank you – For the algorithm being the shortest way to glory. 

Thank my stars – For giving me this Manthan and not the earlier ones. 

A special note for Simran Mam who missed Manthan, due to unavoidable circumstances. Mam thank you for giving me Deep as I was told that our room allotment was your energy doing us the honour. On the 2nd night, after our merrymaking around the bonfire. Deep gave me the shivers of my life only this time the shivers were sheer brilliance like never before. Deep’s life was my mirror image. That man stood with me till 2:30 am and we shared such intricate details of our life (Thanks to Deep’s deep quest to share and his oratory skills). He opened me up. I felt like I am stripped naked in front of a man and yet I am not hiding. Most importantly I felt like I am not the only shit around. And there it was – My acceptance of myself as an imperfect human being. Now begins the magic – better than any magic mushroom one may hallucinate on.   

Also, a special note for my sister, Juhi di thank you for holding space for me throughout, truly blessed!!  

Day 3 started with food therapy. Oh Captain, My Captain – You are sheer Genius!!   

We all sat on a big breakfast table, filled and refilled our plates with sumptuous food until we had it all in front of our eyes. Only to breathe and smell and breathe and smell, eat only when one’s resistance was done with. Sir what you have invented is so beautiful. I don’t even have words to describe. This practice is all about emotions, empowerment, liberation.   

Day 4 – Sexuality. The biggest Guilt & Shame factor of almost all our lives. Pardon me for generalizing. If you think it isn’t then, dude! I feel sorry for you.  This was the day when Sir played the Magician with the wand and did the pigeon trick only in my case, he let it fly once the pigeon was in his hand.   

Day 5 – Parenting – Beautiful – Now that the pigeon was out of the cage and flying, everything around it was beautiful. I was falling in love with nature, with the air, with the smoke, with almost everything. I was feeling loved. I was able to understand pain. The pain of my Mother, my Father, my sisters, my Masi, my Dadi, my Dada everyone who I could get my hands on (metaphorically).  

Day 6 – Day of Masterstrokes – First become a Coach of a fellow student, then be coached, then the team formation to give a presentation of the common factor in our algorithms. This was the day when I realized that I can feel someone else’s pain.    

Day 7 – The day of Skits and the vision of the Visionary. 

All 4 teams performed and performed without shame only for some of us our beliefs were still getting the better of us. But come on guys. It took us years of hard work to form the core. How can we let it break this easily? Nevertheless, our Guardian Angel will ensure that all his pigeons are soaring in the sky sooner than later.  

Sir, thank you for letting me embark on this beautiful journey. Thank you for the Ligament therapy sessions. You are truly our Guardian Angel.  

Tere honthon ke kisi kone mein, hasi ki tarah mein Mehfuz hoon. 

Tere kaandhe ke chipe til mein, Vaadon ki tarah mein Mehfuz hoon. 

You are the “Mehfuz” of our lives Sir.