Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Palace of Mir Amine

Three days in Raja Yoga retreat, in Beit el Dine (Lebanon); (Written on June 21, 2007 and posted on August 5, 2009)

Note: The description of the retreat is extracted from my diary

My nephew William makes it a point Not to give me advance notice for trips, nor for this three days retreat of the Raja Yoga members. I guess William must have gotten a substantial discount for me.

I woke up at 7:30 a.m. and my brother Ghassan, mother, and William were checking the leak in our bathroom; the first floor flat.

Shortly later, Victor and I joined the group.  Ghassan said that they are not using this particular bathroom (flat above us) and yet the leak is on.  Mother said that the attic shows a thin streak coming from the ceiling following the path of a pipe, and water was in the wall closet and the clothes were wet and smelling.

Victor said it is the cold water pipe and William said the leak from the cold water pipe must have spread through the sand and floor of the bathroom.

We went up to the roof to check which pipe descends and then Victor shut off the cold water and he said that the ground under the bathtub is all wet. (The source of the water leak was indeed from Ghassan’s flat)

I fetched the daily at the entrance of the building and then performed my exercises and worked for over an hour in the garden.

Elie, Victor’s driver, was waiting for Victor who was in conference with William. Elie was watching me plough the garden; he was impressed at the effort that this work involves.

William came out of the conference and asked me if I finished packing; he said that it usually takes him a couple of minutes to pack because he has one shelf that contains all his traditional white clothes that he brought from India.

After I shaved and dressed I started packing early so that I can remember other items to take before we drive off.

I visited with my sister Raymonde. William and Adrea were watching “Liar” while Chelsea was playing with the neighbors’ kids who had hollered to her since nine o’clock to come down.

I had lunch of “sambousek” and I removed to my study to start writing my diary and unpacking my swimming bag to select a few other items to carry with me like a swimming trunk, goggles and cap.

The neighbors’ girls stepped over the spiked fence to our parking lot and I helped them; they are going to play with Chelsea in our garden, sort of scout picnic.

We were supposed to leave at night but William changed the departure to 4 p.m.

It is 1:30 and I need to take a nap to relax my back.

I started packing in the morning and added stuffs as I remembered more items to carry.  We drove off around 4:45 and it was very hot and William never stopped perspiring even with the car air condition on.

We picked up a young man by the name George, wearing long hair like the reggae people or Rastafarians, by a gas station in Dawra.

George started right away talking about his emotional state and that he was no longer able to experience visions or something of that kind.

Then we stopped near an Orthodox Church in Ashrafieh on Sessine Street and waited for Carine.  She sat in the back of the car.  It was already 5:30 p.m.

Carine is about 29 year-old and very talkative, she babbled almost non-stop and she told us that she has seen a fortune-teller “bassara”.

Apparently, the “bassara” blew Carine’s head off with the accuracy of the revelations of her past facts and behavior.

We had to wait for Hanane  (William girlfriend) over 15 minutes in downtown Beirut and she rode with us at 6 p.m.

On our way to the retreat, Carine received a phone call and she told us it was from a girl friend by the same namesake Carine and had told her she was depressed: this friend had just finished a session with the “bassara” and could not swallow the fact that an unknown person could see her personality so vividly. 

We had to circle twice around the Phoenicia Hotel before we managed to take the tunnel that lead to the airport and toward the south because of some new detours that William was not aware of.

We took the exit to Deir Al Kamar which was 15 km from the exit and headed toward Beit El Dine.  William asked a middle age woman how far is the Palace of Mir Amine and she replied: “For you, maybe three minutes, five at most. Just go straight on”.  We had to ask another person after 4 minutes and we arrived at 7 p.m. just in time for the first session of the retreat.

The palace of Mir Amine is a very ancient Prince residence from the 18th century and it was totally renovated to become a 5-star hotel. It is huge and well-kept outside.

I was under the impression that this palace, just on the top of the Palace of Beit El Dine, and predated in construction, but I found out that it was built by a son of Amir Basheer II. The Palace of Beit El Dine used to be the summer residence of Lebanon Presidents of the Republic before the civil war.

I should have washed my face before I entered the session because we were sweating, but I sat down on a chair and stared at a rectangular orange picture with a white dot in the center.

Anna, the head of the group of raja yoga in Lebanon, spoke softly and we broke off for dinner at 7:30.  It was a satisfying vegetarian dinner of soup, salad, pasta, and sweet in the vast dining room with arcades.

We regrouped at 8:30 p.m. and introduced ourselves and offered the reasons for coming.  I said that I had the time, I felt bored with my life and that I enjoy the company of William.

Giselle, the lady that was kind to offer to share her house with the members who cannot afford the hotel, met with us and we realized that we are going to be eight, excluding her.

Giselle introduced us to Nicholas, who was her brother, and said that he will be in charge of coordinating the activities in the house.  The Kassatly family is famous in wineries and all kind of alcoholic beverage.

We drove off in two cars toward Baakline, kind of 6 km from our retreat.  It was 9 p.m. and the multicolored lamps were lighting a nicely maintained small garden with a willow tree shading the entrance.

The smell of gardenia was embalming the air.  William, George and I were allocated a small room with double Deckers without windows; the three girls of Hanane, Nisreen, and Rita were allocated a room with a window separated from us by the bathroom on the left and the shower room on the right and a lavatory in the middle.

Sanaa was to sleep in an adjacent section; Nicholas and Giselle had a master bedroom that lead directly from the living room.

The public electricity was off and the air condition was not functioning that night and we were suffocating and tired. I guess everybody barely slept that night.

Nisrine was not used to sleep early and wanted to remain on the swing. Smoking cigarette after cigarette she started to speak with Sana2; it turned out that both were divorced.

Sana2 is Druze with a child and Nisrine a Christian Maronite who discovered after a year of marriage that she didn’t want to have children as yet, and they divorced amicably.

Sana2 prepared matte, a drink like tea that you sip through a tube and is common in Argentina and South America in general.

George whispered to Nisrine and said that he is afraid that his question might disturb her; Nisrine snapped that his way of beginning his question is disturbing all right.  George wanted to sleep on the swinging couch and Nisrine was not ready to go to bed yet, but we vacated the swing for George soon after. Thus, George had decided to sleep outside on the swing and we vacated the swing to make room for him.

Later, someone told George that nobody was allowed to sleep outside and he climbed the double-decker because I was occupying the bottom part bed. William was sleeping on the floor over his sleeping bag.

Nicholas came in after midnight to tell William that Rita (another voluntary “slave” worker) needs a ride to the hotel. William was back half an hour later; he had to wake up at three with Rita to go to the retreat for the 4:30 a.m. session of meditation for the ancient members.

Giselle entered her master bedroom and we didn’t see her until we were riding to the retreat around eight; she was riding with a guy in another car.  It turned out that this house belonged to her boyfriend Farouk.

I managed to sleep around 1 am but was awaken by William sneaking out around 3:30 a.m. I went back to sleep until six so that I might have a head start for taking a shower and shaving before the rest of the “household” wakes up.

I performed softly my first set of exercises in bed and went outside in the dark and did some more exercises; I discovered someone sleeping on the swing and never knew who he was; obviously it was not George; my guess it might be Farouk because Nicholas denied sleeping outside.

George claimed that he didn’t sleep a wink and so said Sana2 but it seemed that most everyone was exhausted.  We had to wait for the girls to be ready and were late for the first session.

First day of the Raja Yoga retreat

Breakfast at the hotel was monumental and the buffet was varied and plentiful and was supplied by the hotel.

The menu for the breakfast consisted of the following: “sa7lab“, croissant, jams of two kinds, “labneh”, and several kinds of cheeses, “mankoush”, “foul”, “homus”, tomatoes, cucumber, “fegel”, “na3na3”, olive and other stuffs.  Coffee, milk, and juices (orange and pineapple) were on another buffet outside.  Breakfast was my favorite meal though I used not to have breakfast at home.

Lunch and dinner are prepared by the yogis and uses the hotel kitchen facilities for $250 a person for the entire three days and nights.

We met at 9:30 a.m. for the morning session.

Dr. Prashant, a surgeon of the nose and ears by practice, was the lecturer for the retreat; he talked till past 11:10.  The subject was that once we cross the ignorance line between liking and wanting for possession then insecurity is increased and we are on the path of unhappiness.

When we just like, then we are in the position of trustee, guest, master, observer, and free to enjoy our life.

When we reach the want state then we increase the number of our ego in identities, we become very insecure and we try to possess more items as backups to our security and we are slaves to material things.

Dr. Prashant said that security attainment means love, peace, and happiness. Security can be attained through soul consciousness, detachment from involvement; the purpose is to free the mind from desires.

We had a break from 11:15 to 11:45 and regrouped from 11:45 to 2:05.

Dr. Prashant described addiction to cigarette by unnaturally increasing the serotonin chemical in our blood stream and then, when the level of serotonin drops it drops below the natural level and we need to smoke more cigarettes to palliate the increased deficiency.

Dr. Prashant was very much involved in convincing us from eliminating addiction to TV, radio, music, information, communication, and anything that modern days hook us to.

Lunch was prepared by the yogi team in the kitchen, three of them are full-time food preparers and two are from Greece (Joanna and Drazul), and Rita is Lebanese.

William and Nancy helped a lot in the kitchen, peeling and cutting vegetables and washing the utensils and packing the food for next meal and serving on the buffet.

I was not hungry because I was not used to having a big and plentiful breakfast.

At lunch I had a chat with Nancy and Alice; Alice is the sister of Nisreen and who could afford to pay for a room in the hotel and is engaged to marry a Druze guy from B3akleen.

Nancy said that she lost a good friend Charbel to a car accident; Charbel she said was a 29 year-old colleague at work who was the dynamo and very cheerful. Nancy claimed that she managed to feel detached at the funeral and would have wailed and felt utter sorrow if she had not reached a certain level in raja yoga.

Nancy was with William in India for a month retreat at the Raja Yoga university in Mount Tabo.

I had a nap on a lounge by the swimming pool.

Sandra, the younger sister of Nancy and working in Dubai, was lying in the next lounge and she was seeking privacy and loneliness.  I dipped my feet in the pool and felt good drying them in the breeze.

I asked Sandra to imitate me and we chatted and I asked her how she is coping with her roommate Carine.  Sandra shook her head several times and asked me to go back to sleep.  I then removed to a sort of large alcove with tons of pillows spread all around and tried to have a nap.

Hanane was deep asleep recovering from last night and then Nisreen, Alice and Sandra joined me.  We had to buy water because the hotel was not making money with the deal and I visited William in the kitchen to drink.

The third session was at 4 p.m. and the topic was about type A and B individuals.  Type A is very insecure, wants more and quickly, has to do several things simultaneously, achieve quickly short-term objectives because they usually have a 7 times higher risk of heart attacks and strokes than type B.

During the break I had to buy from the maitre D’ a Gauloise Blonde for 1,500 LL because it was the only kind available and Ma2moun paid 2,000 LL because I didn’t have any change.  I lighted a cigarette and was heading toward the swimming pool, away from the crowd, when Anna stopped me and said that I better be very discreet smoking because many are trying to quit.

I told Anna that I am smoking in the fresh air and I was just walking further from where those “supposed quitters” are assembled. Actually, two of those who decided to throw away their boxes kept borrowing cigarettes from me throughout the day and evening such as Michael who lived 7 years in New York City and the audio-visual technician who did a good job.

We met for the last session of the day around 7 p.m. and the lecture was of how the relationship between slaves and masters are formed.

Dr. Prashant said in every relationship such as marriages or mothers and sons then the one who take the initiative to increase the expectations and desires of the other partner becomes the slave because the other partner was offered the potentials to act and behave as master.

Thus, if you cannot learn to detach yourself from emotions and passions and desires then you are doomed to become a slave fulfilling the expectations and desires of others. The more you are detached the freer you are.

I asked Dr. Prashant that here in Lebanon we have learned to detach ourselves from the desires to have continuous electricity, clean water, safe environment and true democracy through a huge mismanagement in our society… Thus, does that mean that we have earned our freedom? That the Lebanese people have become the masters and our politicians the slaves?

Dr. Prashant nodded but did not comment as if my concerns did not concern him.

There were many dissatisfied persons to my question and their noises of hooo demonstrated that the audience has identified the party “pooper”, the angriest person among them.

I was not hungry at dinner time, mainly because the yogi food is too dry and insipid for me.  I sat at the table with the Ashkar family of three middle-aged ladies who ordered a dish of fruits and would have loved to order steaks if it were not appropriate among these vegetarians.

They are originally from Beit-Chabab, my hometown, and had settled in Ras Beirut.  Rosemary was starting on a protein diet because she survived on cookies, cakes and sweet stuffs; three of her daughters studied in the USA and two are working with American companies in Lebanon such as Booz and Allen and America Bank.

After nine we watched a silent movie about religions and mass work by people sitting side by side by the hundred to do chain work and the traffic in crowded cities and pictures of genocides in Cambodia and rituals in Africa.

The misery and herd behavior of human conditions and restlessness.

I could identify the countries, but I figured that at least this good movie should have informed the viewer to the locations.  Anna stopped the movie around 10 p.m. so that it would be continued next evening.

Michael borrowed a cigarette from me because Dr.Prashant convinced him to throw away his box of cigarettes and he told me that he thinks Anna might have been Hitler in her past life.  I smiled to myself because I had sensed that many of those who have mastered the “spiritual energy” are control freaks.

I imagined Dr, Prashant to have been the perfect Gestapo sitting behind a desk and fine tuning the most efficient way to control the masses.

We all slept right away and slept well because we had the air condition on.  Farouk was everywhere, making sure the AC is functioning and that we are not lacking anything.  Even George climbed the double-decker gingerly without much fuss.

Silence Day (silence optional); June 23, 2007

I woke up at 4:30 a.m. because I was worried that I might be advanced to the shower and then decided to piss and went back to sleep.  I forced myself to wake up at 6:30 and took a shower and shaved and drank plenty of water.

Giselle was having the kettle on the stove at seven and I had turned the gas off last night because of the smell of some gas leak and I said “mar7aba” and she signed that it is “silence day”.

I went outside and did a few stretching, standing legs wide apart.  I came in and fetched a cigarette and smoked it on the swing. Nisreen joined me on the swing and it seems that Giselle signed her also that it was silent day, though it was optional.

George had his shower followed by Hanane. I put on a pair of jeans because of the flies “debbane” and I packed my bag of water bottles and a sport jacket for the night and a box of cigarette.

I had to leave the bag in the car because Nicholas said that it was not proper to carry the bag around during the retreat because it shows that I am more concerned with my physical well-being instead of increasing my spiritual capabilities… Go figure

During breakfast we enjoyed practicing silence and played the part by signing to people on our table. But as the day progressed and individual felt like asking questions during the lectures, then the vow of silence broke down, to my displeasure.

Dr. Prashant first lecture of the day was about the levels of consciousness, the PARAS (precious) and the PATTHAR (stone) which are Sanskrit terms.  (Actually Sanskrit origin is the language of our land)

Since life is a drama played out by props and actors, wearing masks and the real director is the observer, then individuals have to strive to reach Paras and learn to see the Big Picture, the subtle eternity, the global view of beauty and the general knowledge.

The Patthas consciousness is gross, small, have a partial view of eternity, he lingers in the pettiness and ugliness of materialism and seeks specialization.

Dr. Prashant focused on the hundred of identities that we define ourselves with such as our nose, wife, clothes, car, professors, and other things constitute our personality and become our serious enemies.  Every addiction and desire is an element of our identity and to reach Paras we have to overcome every element of our Ego through the process of not thinking of it for three days so that the devil or Ravan is weakened, starved and shrinks.

Dr. Prashant went on saying that we might win over our enemies and become detached from desires. He gave us the example of the one who killed John Lennon; the killer of John loved every thing that John did and represented and he emulated him so thoroughly that he thought that he is John Lennon; thus, there was no need for two John Lennon.

Our break session was curtailed for 20 minutes because the previous session extended to my displeasure.

I used the time to dip my feet in the swimming pool and lay down on the couch.  The Achkar ladies were around the pool.

Back to the second session around 11:45 and I sat on a pillow by the wide opened windows. I barely listened to Dr. Prashant ancient Buddhist stories.  Dr. Prashant talked about Sita, Ram, Ravan (the devil), Maya (the mediator)… while I kept writing my diary and closing my eyes to focus on my breathing.

I asked whether Sanjeevan represented the knowledge of the rules of the game “Razz” and then what could be the age range to draw the line of ignorance.  As usual the answers were fuzzy at best, if he deigned to answer.

Nancy was in charge of translating to Sana2 in the back row and it must be a hard task, and I wouldn’t rule out that Nancy was telling Sanaa her own story and interpretations.

We were to visit a forest after lunch.  I didn’t feel hungry.

We gathered at the front desk around 2:15 and left with 5 cars and a motorcycle where Carine hopped in the back of the motor cycle and on to Ma3aser Al Shouf,  passing Al Moukhtara where the palace of Druze feudal leader Walid Jumblat is located.

A checkpoint of Internal Security thoroughly checked us and the cars and even asked for our identity cards before they let us go.

The natural reserve that we walked through is the smallest of the three cedar reserves in the Chouf and we can walk 50 km for three days to cover the whole reserve.

We paid 3,000 LL each ($2) for a 15-minutes walk and Nancy was the self-appointed leader in charge of the outing.  A few sat on trees to meditate and I went back to the entrance and asked the guide if that is all to walk around and he said that we have taken the wrong route.

The guide led us to the right path, followed by half a dozen, including the Ashkar ladies, and we saw the original cedar of 3,000 years old that is supposedly drawn on our flag; the cedar that we saw at the end of the previous path is called the Lamartine cedar.

The guide told us that the Chouf cedars are called “Arz Al Rabb” or the cedars of the God because Solomon (Suleiman) built his temple from cedars harvested in the Chouf and then transported to the Litani River to be floated south.

Thus, there are a path that can take us to Niha Fort, another in Ain Zhalta-Bmohray Forest, the Barouk Forest, and the M3aser Forest which is the one we entered.

Carine was upset and very frustrated with her roommate Sandy and told William to witness how Sandy is behaving with her and emanating bad vibrations.

We stopped at a shop to purchase water and fruits and I met with the English couple sitting outside at a table and eating “mankoushi” and I explained to them what we saw and told them about my niece Joanna in London.

Yesterday I saw the husband reading “Blue and Black” around the swimming pool.

On our way William asked George if he saw an ancient house and George said no and William said that he felt a strong energy coming from that side.

We arrived at the hotel at 5 o’clock, just on time for the evening session.  George has decided to leave the retreat this evening and William attempted to discourage him; he told him an anecdote and a real life story to convince George to stay to the finish.

William told George that he practiced modern dance for two months but quit and didn’t participate in the show. When he saw the finished product that was fully operational then it made sense and was beautiful. And when he heard the applause the dancers received from the audience then he realized that he made a mistake not to push to the end and participate in the whole experience.

William said that since then he decided to finish any task that he undertook (he has yet to finish his architecture final project, being delayed for years, and didn’t do it!)

The anecdote of William was about a father asking his four sons to visit a tree, each one at a different season, and when the father and the sons gathered and told their impressions about the trip and the tree the story was different and the whole meaning was beautiful when the whole is taken on.  All William’s attempts didn’t work and George left

In the evening session, Dr. Prashant talked about children remembering their past lives and also retaining physical marks when death is brutal, like hanging or stabbing and also they keep former ailments.

He said that 60% of those brutally murdered remember that they enjoyed a higher social class.  People with multiple personalities, or several souls, then when a personality takes over, the colors of the eyes may change, scars may disappear and illnesses vary.

When Rich people die, their last impression is that they lost their fortunes and everything material and that they are poor; the consequences is that in their next life they start with the psychic of being poor.

Dr. Prashant told a story about an 8 year-old boy who refused to be corrected by his mother when learning English and Dr. Prashant interpreted that behavior on account that the boy must have been an English professor of literature. Go figure.

It seems that Nisreen is restless and not attending any lectures.  I asked her if she is not feeling well but she replied that she is fine physically.

In the evening we resumed the movie of last night and saw a section of reincarnation testimonies and the movie “The book of the dead” which is the process that Osiris went through after his body died.

I had rolled over a pool lounge chair close to the screen and lied down. Nicholas said that he saw all these movies and left early with Sana2 who was not feeling well and tired.

William also gave a ride to Rita who tore a muscle while handling a heavy carton of food and had a “she77ad” in her left eye due to “7sassieh” (sensitivity, susceptibility.

We had to wait for William to clean the kitchen and pack the food into storage before we rode home around 11 p.m. with Hanane and Nisreen.

Michael also left that night after inviting me to eat cherries as much as I can; he said that he hoped to borrow a cigarette but I had run out of that addictive element for the day and wanted to be home to get hold of my box of cigarettes.

Before the movie, Hanan got the key to Nicholas car and brought her jacket and my sport sweater and a small bottle of water from my backpack.

While waiting for William to pack off food in the kitchen we sat with another lady also named Hanane and a guy named Abu Hamzeh from Mokhtara who had purchased last July an expensive Canon camera with a long lens and never used it since then.

Our Hanane showed him how to use the camera and then William resumed the camera teaching later on.

That day we had four newcomers and three had left the “experience”.

When we arrived home there was no electricity and we managed by candle lights; William could used the upper bed of the double-decker. Rita was in the swing with Nicholas and when I asked how she felt she replied that everything was gone; just the habit of saying that the body doesn’t count much when one is filled with spiritual energy.  Nicholas told me that he had stopped at a shop and had a beer because he longed so much for alcohol.

Last day of the retreat (Sunday, June 24, 2007)

I woke up at 6 a.m. just to check the time because we had to pack our belongings before we leave because we might not have to come back to the house.

The electricity was still off and I showered in the dark with the door open but the curtain closed.  We also had to remove our bed sheets and pillows.  I shaved and performed a set of exercises lying on my stomach in bed and then stepped outside and stretched in the sun.  By seven, William, Hanane and I were ready and all packed.

Nisreen was taking a shower and Sana2 was almost ready.

We left before 7:30 and attended the first meditation session around 7:45.  Anna prayed and blessed a special food like “Meghli” over a tiny and small table covered by an expensive cloth and with a bowl of roses and flowers.

During breakfast, Brigitte said that she suffered migraine last evening and a guy told a joke about shutting in his wife with a gorilla just to let her feel how he usually feels when she claims to have migraine.

The first lecture session started at 9:30 and it was about the six spiritual levels such as Brahmin (knowledge, simplicity, and service to community), Deity (happiness), Warrior (courage), Merchant (comfort), Shudra (laziness and indulgence), and Demonic (sorrow).

All the time I was meditating with my eyes closed because I was not interested in the talk.  Then I realized that the six levels represent the cast system in India and the discrimination that millions of Indians have suffered through the centuries based on these theological divisions.

I felt furious and commented energetically and heatedly that the lecturer was trying to give spiritual content to these discriminating classes and told him that he is using terms that are politically incorrect and covering them with spiritual meanings.

I offered that it would be more decent to change the terms and not support the religious cast system in India which is providing power control to the Buddhist hierarchy.

The audience was implicitly in favor of my comment but stunned and was wondering why I am always attacking the lecturer who usually never responds and resumes his lecture, as if what I said is none of the business of King Yoga doctrine.

During the second break and while people were packing and getting out of their rooms in the hotel before noon, I took the opportunity to have a tanning by the swimming pool; I removed my shirt and undershirt and my sandal and walked around the pool and then dipping my feet that could sustain the burning floor.

For the first time we had half a dozen of local girls enjoying a swim; Farouk and Giselle, nicknamed the love birds, were sitting on a remote bench and acting very sentimental; I tried not to disturb them.

We had another lecture session which ended at 1:15.

Dr.Prashant explained that Maya is the assistant to Ravan and the advisor to Sita; Maya represents the person that says: “later, it is difficult, you are weak, it is a process”; she provides excuses, and raise doubts.

Sanjeevani is the consciousness that can revive the dead, helps with knowledge, and bring back consciousness.

Vinash forces are capable of removing the ego elements that are identified with our personality.  He talked about the age of decadence and satisfaction of the senses that carry the seeds of destruction during the period of peace following major wars.  We have to reach Sati Yoga or the age of truth or what is known by the Golden Age.

We had lunch and the food tasted better than the last two lunches because the dishes were simple and varied in vegetables.

I joined Hanane and the other Hanane, and Nada in an inside table because it was too hot outside.  William joined us when he finished serving at the buffet.

Nada told me that she works as a coordinator for a group of business leaders who study economic public policies for the “Mustakbal” movement; she also told me that many businessmen, who later shifted political allegiance, were forced to vacate their places.

I asked her if Demianos Kattar (former minister of finance) is a member and she replied that he never joined them because he intends to keep his options open.  I gave her a hint that Demianos is considering to run for President of the Republic.

After lunch, I spent another hour tanning and walked over to the front desk and wrote a message to the English couple asking them to be in contact with Joanna at her email address in London where they reside.

The last lecture session started at 3:15 and I got the email addresses of Farouk, Nada, and Brigitte.

Around 4:15 we gathered outside beneath a tree and everyone was asked to express his opinion about the benefits that he might have acquired from the retreat. 

It was the usual routine of compliments and then I took the floor and said:

“I discovered that I am still a tough cookie because I attended all the sessions for 15 hours a day and managed to feel active and not tired by managing my health and controlling my spiritual well-being. (Many people got tired or sick or depressed and failed to continue attending the lecture sessions).

I said that I miss the poetry of Shakespeare when he declared that life is a stage and we are the actors in this drama.

I said that the codification of the doctrine of raja yoga has removed any poetry to their understanding of the drama staged in life and that I will be missing the weaknesses and emotions of people if I have to abide by king yoga theology.

I said that I sincerely believe that Raja Yoga is very efficient to remove insecurity at the personal level but society would be cold and very inhuman.”

The audience was awed by my boldness and my straight talking.

Many ventured to say that is what they felt in the first day but that they recovered and enjoyed the lectures.

Most comments were followed by encouraging applause except my comments.

After a while I raised my hand and people started the oooh, oooh expecting another direct talk and I said:

“I just raised my hand because I missed the reaction of the oh, oh.  I said that I feel practically closer to the concept of Raja Yoga than many because my daily life is pretty much detached and that is why I never receive applauses.”

After this session everyone got up and got a piece of chocolate wrapped in nuts and palm fruit from the lecturer; Drazulla handed the Truth cards, supposedly at random.

My card said: “Faithful. Loyal, and true to my word.  I am steadfast in seeing things through.”

Then we said farewell and got email addresses and phone numbers and hugged each others.  I asked Giselle whether she uses modern techniques for studying aura of people and she said that Farouk is the specialist.

Farouk said the modern technique might correlate with the personal expertise but not as efficiently; he said that I have a huge aura but it is not reflected in my face; he said that I am the type that is willing to trade a stanza of poetry to a bag-full of gold and roam the world after my love if I chanced to fall in love. 

I said maybe that is why I am detaching myself so that I would not succumb to that foolishness. (Farouk is polite and a sweet talker)

I waited for William to finish his work in the kitchen and spent my time around the swimming pool. Brigitte was flying to Dubai next morning and Sandra to Dubai in the evening.  Brigitte told me that she had hard time emotionally with guys who needed a lot of help and attention and that she spent most of her energy trying to solve their problems.

We drove off around 6:30 p.m.

Hanane and Carine sat in the back seat. Anna had already left and I failed to thank her.  On our way, William asked me: “7ebayt?” (Did you like?).  I wondered what he meant by “Did you love” and he said “Did you like?” and I said I did, to cut it short.

Carine was having a stomach ache on account that the chocolate contained butter but she kept chatting non-stop with William and almost making love to him leaning on his right ear as she did to the guy riding the motorcycle.

William recalled the sexual overtone response of the lady on our way to the retreat when he asked her how far the Palace of Mir Amine is. She said that for him it might take 5 minutes or ten at most.

William recalled that he waited for more information and he saw a cunning smile on her face before she resumed “or longer, just drive straight ahead”.

Carine wanted to hear all the details of what the lady said and William was very patient; William said at some point that every time he felt a strong spiritual energy the girls were very much attracted to him and destroyed his bliss.

William filled 20,000 LL worth of gas and no one volunteered to contribute. We dropped Carine at her apartment and William helped her with her bag and chatted away with her for quite a while inside the entrance door.

We dropped Hanane at Seheyleh and William instructed her to say to her folks that she was at a Maronite patronage with Ashley, Tony, and I, because her parents don’t like her to practice yoga doctrine.  William was exhausted and his knees hurt and we arrived around 10:30.

The cars of Yuhanna and Pamela were parked on the street.  After saluting mother I went up to Raymonde’s; she and Victor were visiting Riad and they arrived after 11:30.  Yuhanna came down with me to save a CD on my computer; Joanna had asked him to aid me locate publishers in Lebanon, but William computer and mine, needed software that can read Arabic.

William was not in a partying mood and I went up with Yuhanna. We watched a DVD with Pamela, Ashley, Cedric, Adrea, and Chelsea while drinking beer, Pepsi, nuts and popcorn.

I watched part of the movie and excused myself and went to bed around 11:45.  My mom was sleeping.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

December 2020
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