Dr Vikram Sampath (right) historian, musician, author & festival director in conversation with Sheelaa M Bajaj, life coach & Numerologist.(HT/PHOTO)
Dr Vikram Sampath (right) historian, musician, author & festival director in conversation with Sheelaa M Bajaj, life coach & Numerologist.(HT/PHOTO)

Puneites learned techniques to channelise grief and find inner balance at spiritual fest

Sessions at the International Festival of Spiritual India turned out to be full of energy, compassion and spirituality
Hindustan Times, Pune | By HT Correspondent
UPDATED ON MAR 03, 2019 04:32 PM IST

At the International Festival of Spiritual India at Yashwantrao Chavan Academy of Development Administration (Yashada), Baner, from February 22-24 at, Dr Vikram Sampath, historian, musician and author held a session ‘channelising your grief’.

A deeply cathartic and at the same time a very difficult session to deal with. For Sampath, it was the first time ever that he was speaking in public about “himself”, and about very personal issues related to his losses, his mechanisms to try to cope with it, partly failing and partly succeeding in them, in front of a group of perfect strangers.

Sampath says, “I was honestly dreading doing this but at the end of it, it seemed like a big load off my chest. The rapt attention with which the session was received by the audience and the very sensitive questions that were raised also showed the empathy that Pune audiences can show to a subject as personal and intense as this one. That was a very pleasant surprise and a rewarding experience for me!”

Fear of loss

All of us deeply fear the idea of getting too attached or to love intensely, since this is inextricably also linked with an element of loss. This is the inevitable ‘law of impermanence’ at work. We lose people we love the most to death or they just drift apart forever; we lose our cherished dreams in which we have invested a lot of ourselves in; we lose our ventures, relationships and physical strength. Sampath says, “It’s just an unending series of losses mounting one over the other. The society we live in conditions us not to grieve, to “be brave”, “hold your head high” and “move on”. But suppressing, avoiding, ignoring, or pretending that the grief does not exist or filling the void with something else are, in my view, very bad ideas. They eventually come back stronger and hit you again with a renewed force.”

How to channelise grief

How we deal with our grief caused by losses, and how we channelise them will determine whether they end up depriving and starving us or help us heal and strengthen ourselves. Grief can transform us in ways that joy rarely can. It can make us compassionate, can soften us and somewhere perhaps the human soul needs these experiences to grow and evolve. He adds, “In my own case, after several professional reverses that I faced, the sudden demise of my mother in January 2018---a person who was the epicentre of my life was debilitating to say the least. She left in such an abrupt fashion that the grief also coupled with the shock and trauma of the episode---and I am yet to come out of it fully. The best way to cope with grief of this nature is to embrace it and to surrender oneself to this experience of pain. One must realise that greater the love and attachment, greater will be the pain.”

Acknowledging or allowing ourselves to experience that pain does not makes us a less strong person in any way. At such times we have several well-meaning friends, family and well-wishers who want to force us out of this and in the process try to create an abrupt end to the process of grieving. But the tip is to be patient with the process and also realise that everyone’s grief has its own timetable. Some may grieve for months, years or an entire lifetime may pass and they might still not get over it. Sampath adds. “Different people adopt different tools to cope--Music as a therapeutic tool can work for some. Our ragas and their sound vibrations have the tremendous power of healing and can be used effectively in this direction. Nature can be another tool for some others ---just looking at the expanse of nature around us can help heal. Spirituality, our scriptural texts, seeking medical help and psychiatric counseling, modalities and practices such as Reiki, Pranic healing, meditation and other techniques may also work for some. In my case, in addition to all this, the entry of this lovely angel in the form of my pet labrador-- Leo into my life helped me immensely. Animals bring a subtle energy of their own that can be immensely therapeutic. Seeing a life grow and nurturing it can give a sense of purpose to those who are feeling hopeless about their own existence. Pet therapy is therefore an acknowledged tool that several psychiatrists prescribe.”

Finding you inner balance

Dr Aditya Gait, spiritual director, Ananda Sangha Pune, on his brush with finding inner balance. At different times it was different things. He says, “I remember at one point it was daily exercise and running after a day long at the medical college, then it was about making conscious decisions about how i would spend my time, later it was silence, spiritual reading , working on my diet and finally it was when i started meditating based on my guru Paramhansa Yoganandajis teachings when I really started feeling greater inner peace and calmness and inner balance so I think its a multi pronged approach.”

So, why is it important for today’s people to find this balance? “I think today the stresses have increased tremendously, there are more opportunities before people but i feel there are also more distractions and hence the need to find greater inner balance and clarity. I love to come back to the basics when I feel out of balance, some suggestions are: Brief periods of silence and introspection, adequate sleep, brief periods of fasting some physical exercise and finally meditation.”

The festival was organised by author Dr Manjiri Prabhu and the main focus of IFSI was to help spread the message of love and compassion in the world and help people rediscover themselves and find direction in life.

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