Matrimandir: A Spiritual Meeting Point

“The Matrimandir is there for those who want to learn to concentrate. No fixed meditations, none of all that, but they should stay there in silence and concentration. A place for trying to find one’s consciousness.”(Sri Aurobindo)

Searching for a spiritual uplift on our second visit to India in late February had become an exhausting task as our “Gate One”tour on day six moved briskly along the urban coast of southeastern Tamil Nadu. Clearly feeling then emotionally unsettled by the noticeable sight of homeless desperation and poverty’s wrath in overcrowded cities, our bus now turned southwest from Pondichierry in mid morning through dense tropical undergrowth toward our next destination, the small town of Auroville. At first glance at this seemingly unremarkable setting of human despair, I thus began to wonder what could possibly interest us here. Yet an early afternoon walk along the peaceful grounds of “Matrimandir” near the center of town would soon dramatically reawaken our spiritual curiosities.

How then could Matrimandi’s futuristic golden orb integrated with a series of soul-filled, nature walks change our world for the better? Why might this unique “Mecca”of spiritual Growth entice you to visit there? I invite you to search for your own answers to these important life questions in observing the following photographic collection.

As our tour entered Matrimandir’s spacious grounds, a colorful line of posters revealed a historic timeline of this spiritual place.

Pausing for a video orientation at the Matrimandir Visitor Center, we learned about the spiritual vision of this place named “Temple of the Mother” inspired by the teachings of India philosopher, Sri Aurobindo.

                                                                                                                        

We began a thirty minute walk through a lush garden area called “peace”, from where a  future planned township of world unity integrated with nature’s harmony would some day radiate  outwards. 

A prominent circular marker at the beginning of the trail enlightened us to twelve qualities of spiritual significance we would be viewing along the way.

Surrounding floral inspirations would enhance our understanding about these twelve self growth attributes in strictly enforced silence.

Beyond a bamboo wall, striking rock formations also focused our attention on the meditative solitude of this special place.

Entering an open green field, we spotted a large golden sphere which seemed to be naturally emerging out of the red earth around.

We would soon learn that the spiritual energy of the orb spacious interior projects from a ray of electronically guided sunlight that falls on pure crystal-glass through an opening at the top of the sphere. Click on the following videos for an interactive view of the orb and surrounding gardens.

At the end of our walk, we opted to “cool off, take some photos, and enjoy a satisfying viewpoint of the orb.

Heading back to the tour bus for our mid afternoon departure, I envisioned with renewed optimism a new world where Matrimandi’s vision matters.

 

Journey From Mind To Soul

“Like a path frequently traveled becomes clear and well-marked in the forest, so too does the path to your soul become more clearly marked in your consciousness.” (Genevieve Gerard)

Have you ever been stuck in a rut of mindless, habit forming routine? Perhaps you might then undertake the following experiment to search for solutions solely within yourself. Choose a desired location you have already visited accompanied by a memorable photograph of that place. Using all of your senses, examine closely the details of that photo presented. Then close your eyes and visualize opening up physical sensations such as warmth/ coolness, tightness/ looseness, or shades of color throughout your body. Pay particular attention to this flow of energy emanating from the tip of your head down to your throat, chest, stomach, and pelvic region.

Thus encased in this relaxing cocoon of evolving self perceptions, you’re ready to make a critical mind/soul connection. What “gut feelings” or new understandings now come to mind about yourself or the ever changing world around you? Witness the following examples of such self-revelations inspired by the following photographic display from my recent travels.

1. Cultural Learning

In examining these two photographs from past European stays, I notice the following: (1) Ordering a simple hot dog can be a confusing ordeal at this German meat market, (2) How strange that young people go wild for oldies swing jazz in this Paris club. Hmm! It seems that my prior assumptions regarding what I am accustomed to expect in travel can be “blown away” by what seems real.

2. Historical Learning

As I observe these cobblestone walking paths/old town walls in Quebec City, I travel back in time and imagine these medieval structures inviting me to slow down to the “horse and buggy”pace of medievalism.”

3. Scientific Learning

Gazing with awe at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, I witness steep canyons slowly sculpted by wind, rain, and the Colorado River below. I thus feel humility that my opportunity to be alive on earth miraculously exists in this mere speck of geologic time.

4. Artistic Learning

How can I make better use of my “right brain” to pursue more imaginative enjoyments of travel? Perhaps an extraordinary array of clouds, flowers and rocks as depicted below might make wonderful settings for stimulating my wandering artistic imagination.

5. Interpersonal (Sociological) Learning

In revisiting this country store in the small town of Jeffersonville, New York, I sense that animals can often be your best companion when you travel.

6. Economic Learning

As this mini car attests in Paris, if I realize that less is better on the road, I might similarly find some wise strategies to “downsize” at home.

7.Psychological Learning

In the desolate, inland tundra of Iceland depicted below, I can appreciate the meditative potential of loneliness experienced in a quiet place.

8. Geographic Learning  

 Ruth and I often traverse the mountainous terrain of America’s National Parks in our road trip travels. Observing the arduous task of ascending to such high ground overlooking this unfolding panorama beyond, I can more easily see how we can conquer any fears of facing the unknown ahead in travel.

9. Religious Learning

As I humbly observe the inner serenity emanating from these beautiful floral surroundings in India, I imagine then that spiritual connections can be felt anywhere in travel.

10. Political Learning

From our recent cruise stop in Barcelona, Spain, angry political protests in favor of Basque political freedom again capture my attention. It seems I must make travel more of a grassroots, protest mission against human injustice. Making more visits to local museums/bookstores and street bars overseas might help me to undertake this activist mission.

 

Savoring Steamboat Silence

“ The quieter you become, the more you can hear.” (Ram Dass)

The experience of inner silence can be a difficult concept to grasp when you live a continually busy life in South Florida as we do. Fortunately, Ruth and I have long found remote Steamboat Springs, Colorado, nestled quietly amidst the Rocky Mountains, to be an ideal vacation respite for calming our most active minds. On our late March visit to Steamboat on days 17-20 of our road trip, we particularly savored a much needed slowdown here from our challengingly long days of driving. Being inspired at first by the the utter stillness of winter here outside our motel window, we proceeded to find additional opportunities on this visit to “zone in” quietly. In observing the following photographs, you thus might imagine the meditative silence we experienced on this visit.

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After settling in at our favorite motel, Steamboat Mountain Lodge, our room offered stunning views of a mountainside, winter wonderland. Opening the window, a meditating calmness of steadily dripping icicles and crackling snow dampened our urge to turn on the television then. Additional calmness settled in as we listened to the shrill whistle of approaching trains and the frantic calls of migrating Sandhill Cranes.

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On our second morning we took a leisurely walk along the Yampa River Core Trail. Following a winding trail lined with towering snowpacks, our senses embraced nature’s slowdown in the dead silence of winter. Taking a closer look for subtle signs of springtime awakening, steady river flows and occasional bird sightings would further relax our mind.

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Looking for a suitable excursion, the next day we would drive a lonely county road north to Steamboat Lake Park. Along the way, we noted the welcoming appearance of snow whitened farm houses/adjacent pastures, and slow oozing brooks reminiscent of a seasonal Hallmark Holiday card. Even the cows hovering contentedly in the fields seemed unaffected by the perpetual cold.

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At Steamboat Park, we then found snowshoeing to be a relaxing way to spend our second morning. By observing my breath rise and fall as I walked slowly alongside my wife on the snow packed path, such meditative calmness helped me to more confidently keep my balance as needed. For a fittingly serene encore, we then enjoyed stunning panoramas of the mountains over lunch from rocking chairs at the park visitor center.

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As an isolated western town, Steamboat Springs seems surprisingly cosmopolitan in cultural awareness. Thus the Steamboat Library’s weekly film showing, “Mantra: Sounds Into Silence “ on day three of our visit would offer us an engaging look at Buddhistic chanting as a new way to find “inner peace and enhance our yoga practice meditation in the future.

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