Awakening Mind Films in India - A Recipe for Enlightenment? Maybe.

bill free enlightenment Feb 14, 2024

Recently I was traveling with my good friend, film director and cameraman Leif Heimbold, for Awakening Mind Films documentary series and we started our journey in India going to Rishikesh to stay at the well-known Sivananda Ashram with ashrams and all over the world. We were interviewing Swamis and teachers for future episodes of the series. When you travel India the first couple things you want to prepare for is toilets. Without toilet paper (carry your own) and have bottled water if you don’t want to end up in a distressful situation or sick.

Most people may not know this, but India is the catalyst for all the world religions and spirituality around the globe. You name it, this is where it all started. Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Jew all emerged from the epicenter of many gods and one god. It is fascinating to see a culture with the largest population on earth with so much love for God and community.

Starting with India’s capital, Delhi, a population of 33-38 million, you can see right away how a population this size adapts itself to its numbers by living in the flow, with a system that looks like absolute chaos and pandemonium but actually is living in the flow. For instance, the roadways that may be two lanes in the US or Europe and work well for two cars or trucks actually work all over the country for as many as 20 vehicles wide in both directions without incidents. No or few stop signs and few traffic lights. You really must see it to believe it, and it’s very entertaining.

From Delhi to Rishikesh is a short 1-hour flight going to the beautiful Ganga River and the lower Himalayas. This may be my favorite place because of the beauty and rich spiritual heritage with Ashrams all along the Ganga and monasteries throughout the Himalayas. It is here that The Beatles are said to have worked on several of the tracks that made it to The White Album, and the songs 'Blackbird', 'Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da' and 'Sexy Sadie' are among those that were written or inspired in this period in 1968.

The Ashrams and temples reveal the way the country maintains its focus on religious and spiritual ideals and how aspirants and devotees are trained in the many traditions represented throughout the country.

I’ve always heard in negative terms that cows are everywhere in India and they literally have right of way in the streets, but I wasn’t prepared for the monkeys. In some areas they almost run the place. Yet they are just another part of a culture who understands and respects the fact that they aren’t just food for humans, but they are embodied spirit beings in other animal bodies.

Then I met the beggars at first with no eye contact and don’t give them money because eye contact is like an invitation for them to approach and for many they won’t leave you alone. You really need to be discreet about giving to beggars because givers are quickly identified, and you can be surrounded by them, and it gets very uncomfortable. However, they are people first and compassion and love say how can I do this? You will need to learn how it works, first by observation and the first two cautions above.

Somehow my mind shifted on this last trip to India, and I see begging as a job and they should be allowed to be proud of it. Weird right? But that’s my new perception and it makes me look and interact with beggars completely different than the last 50+ years of my life.

India is a very diverse culture and community for sure but the one constancy I notice from North to South India is the people overall are a Nation of Peace with a powerful devotion to God, Brahman, Shiva, Rama, Jesus, Buddha and others and a strong interest for enlightenment/self-realization. Why go to India? You may discover your true nature. Know ThySelf.

As we were leaving India, someone traveling with us on the South India intensive is at a free point (single) in their life, and somewhat retired, mentioned considering moving to India. I thought about this and could absolutely adapt to the lifestyle there. I would miss many things we have and take for granted, so you would really need to measure the plus and minuses, but the biggest consideration may be cost of living. You can live very comfortably on half what you live on in the US in cities like Bangalore and Delhi and half again in places like Rishikesh or Tiru.

As India surpassed China in the last decade for population size they are also raising the vibration of abundance for their nation by upgrading infrastructure in the major cities, notably the Bangalore airport considered the most beautiful airport in the world which looks and feels like a resort airport and adding to the near-term growth plans for surrounding area cities by adding new airports in locations around Delhi.

We had a most amazing and auspicious time in India this trip and we may be taking future groups to India later on with a group going to Tiruvannamalai in the South for Sadhana (pretty modest and bare bones) staying at the Ramana Ashram in Tiru for basic acceptable and clean rooming facilities. And another little bit nicer Ashram in Rishikesh for two trips a year. On a spiritual level for me, India has become a very deep devotional connection to Self-Awareness and purpose. Realizing the Self may be the highest possible and potential attainment in the world with infinite return on investment.

I used to, and still do think, you don’t need to go to India to awaken to your true nature. You don’t. But a trip to many areas in India may be that thing which takes you so deeply to the altar of your true nature (as it did many of our travelers and me) that you realize the Self, I Am that you’ve always heard about and seeking.

We’ll start building a list for these trips to start in 2025. If you have interest, submit your contact info using the form below with no obligation.

All my love to you and my gratitude for our hosts FairKonnect and Yogiville for the South India trip and Ramana Ashram Bangalore for our trip to the North and South.

— Bill Free