Shivam from Hawaii was in this years’ summer retreat with Madhukar in Tuscany and writes:
Buongiorno Amici! I am leaving Italy after a fantastic few weeks here with a friend and recently joined by her sweet daughter. Our journey started with a flight into Rome and a several hour drive up North into the Tuscany countryside. We were going to a silence retreat with Madhukar, an enlightened master we met in India last winter.
I do not take the term “enlightened master” lightly. I have met many excellent teachers in my lifetime. I have met many exceptionally loving and kind human beings in my lifetime. Madhukar is different and something new for me entirely. His very being exudes a level of internal silence and love that I have not encountered before. I recall meeting him at a satsang held in a room in a humble hotel in Rishikesh last February. I received darshan from him and as I looked into his gaze of pure love I was overwhelmed with the beauty. There was literally light streaming from his eyes. His ego had dissolved to the point where it was as if I was looking into the very eyes of God. I felt profoundly uplifted and effortlessly peaceful.
I immediately fell in love with him and resolved to go to one of his retreats on the spot. So that is how we found ourselves to be with him again in Italy. We found Madhukar to be as amazing as we remembered him. During satsang he is a model of perfect peace and love. Outside of satsang he is still peaceful and loving, but also unpretentious, fun, funny, healthy, intelligent and not averse to enjoying the pleasures of the world. We shared many bottles of wine over long dinners at night and occasionally went adventuring with him to local towns.
The retreat was a simple affair. Meditation at 7:30. Yoga at 8:15. Breakfast at 9:15 and Satsang at 11. After that a long and restful afternoon hanging out or perhaps adventuring to a local town, garden, hot spring or other countryside attraction. There was often a Satsang in the evening as well.
Satsangs consisted of a longer meditation followed by dancing or questions to Madhukar or perhaps a very short teaching. He doesn’t teach much with words. He calls his teaching the Yoga of Silence. The main point is to silence the mind machine and come back to your true self which is a deep well of peace and happiness. This peace and happiness is always present and one can choose to dwell in it any moment (or not). As we are usually on auto-drive by our brain/ego, we often trade this inherent peace out for emotional dramas, striving, distractions, struggling or literally anything else our ego can come up with to keep the self from experiencing this profound silence and peace.
After a couple of weeks of meditation, satsangs, darshan, plenty of rest and hanging out with a community of high vibe people I feel totally rewired. I find my mind effortlessly silent as I go through my days. I realize that after so much effort in my life to “find truth”, spiritual searching, studying and striving, that the answer to spiritual peace is so simple and so easy. It is and has always been fully available to me my whole life. It’s written in the title on famous books I have read such as “Be Here Now” and “The Power of Now”. And yet to make the leap to actually living like this on a daily basis feels revolutionary to me.
My friend described an insight that she had that she has always felt that she had to “rise above” to find inner peace. And yet as she realized the reality is this deep well of peace and happiness, is one that is always present BELOW the surface of our ever chattering mind. To reach it requires no striving, no workshops, no practices. One simply has to relax into it. When I find myself out of this peace I simply let go of the mind machine and allow it to happen again. It’s a continual realization that at any moment one can choose peace OR the ego-drama or distraction of the moment. Of course meditation and other practices can help but are not required. It’s so easy!
So this has been a big couple of weeks for me. Many thanks and a deep bow to Madhukar who is a living example of the attainment of true peace and happiness. Also thanks to the kind folks of the Sangha who put this retreat together. It was truly a lovely and rejuvenating experience.