A visit to the Ashram
The birth of Awake Human took place during a visit to my teacher’s ashram in Rikhia, India at the end of 2017. At that stage I had already been teaching regular conscious dance classes in Cape Town for some years. My Integral Yoga teaching had led me inside prisons in the Western Cape where I had found a “captive audience” for these profound practices.
I was visiting to the ashram to partake in a festival called the Sat Chandi Mahayajna. I’ve always loved the festival. I mean they basically invite the Divine Mother to manifest and hang out for 5 days. I used to think it was mostly a weird “Indian” thing, until during one of these festivals, I got a very clear talking to by none other than the Divine Mother herself (but that’s another story).
These visits are a way for me to connect more deeply to the incredible lineage of Yoga that my teacher leads and I’m a lifetime student of. Also to be inspired by the presence of a living master and all that unfolds around such beings. I feel important to clarify the role of the Guru. The inspiration is not to try be exactly like the Guru, but in seeing the expressed potential of such a person, to aspire towards what I know to lie within each and every human being. To see that it is possible to find this potential within is profoundly inspiring.
Seva Yoga Purifies!
During the festival the ashram distributes household items, farming implements, clothing and food to thousands of people living in poor rural farming communities that exist around the ashram to take care of their basic needs. As a participant you practice Seva Yoga. Seva Yoga is a method of serving others as a means to work on yourself.
Basically you get to be a cog in a well oiled machine of helping. To organise and execute this incredible distribution is nothing short of miraculous. It is so very heart opening. You work hard. You are spread thin. You get to see your positive qualities and face a fair amount of your shit too. It all comes up somehow. Your mind gets noisy. It reacts. Spews out all its negativity. It also settles into sublime quiet. And sometimes you get incredible insight into your movements and life’s direction.
It happened on one morning as the sun was rising. The priests had begun the invocatory chanting that calls in the energy of the Divine Mother. I received a clear vision that was to be Awake Human Being. I saw the complete unfolding of the how and what to include in the practices. I was very grateful as it was a clear insight. How to take my 21 odd years experience, studying integral yoga, meditation, conscious dance, and mindfulness, and also generally watching the whole “spiritual” scene, and put into a modern context. Making it universal and accessible to the western culture we are conditioned in. Without having to believe anything, or adopt a culture that is not ours. It was clear that it must be experiential. Not philosophical, nor intellectual. Nor impose any belief structure onto our already burdened self.
Ever since then, I have been working to bring the vision manifest. The feeling of the vision is deep in my heart and is the guide. It generally gives me one step at a time. It has been an amazing ride and continues to surprise me and fill me with awe as I watch it all unfold in ways that are often better than I could have ever conceived, or even imagined. Still feels like early days although a lot has been done already.
Awake Human Being distills all the fruits borne out of years of following a deep burning desire to figure out the big unanswerable question: “Who am I?” The desire to “Know” has been their since as early as I can remember. It is the main enquiry of Awake Human Being. All the practices have this overarching aim. The practices are way of exploring our being. Discovering our human potential. And of course how to move with the insights gained in all our ‘doing’ in world.
So Awake Human being offers practical tools to assist this seeking. This is the manifestation of the vision. The beauty of the system is that along with providing a means to process and work with our negativity, suffering, and challenges, it also unleashes our creativity.
It is an incredibly challenging time to be human. We live in a world that seems so filled with suffering, destruction, ignorance and darkness. It is tough to keep your head above water, let alone manage some mental stability, emotional balance, physical comfort, and creative expression.
As I watch the vision of Awake Human Being unfold, I can see how important it is becoming as aid to staying sane. Providing resources that enable one to move with love, in service, inspiration, and creativity, while at the same time help each one of us to step above the ignorance and shine our lights into this darkness. You know, like Awake Human Beings.
So the short answer as to the origin of Awake Human Being is this: The Divine Mother made me do it.