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Monday, January 7, 2013
Inner Pilgrimage - Ten Days to a Mindful Me by Raji Lukkoor Book Excerpt
“Inner Pilgrimage: Ten Days to a Mindful Me”
Are you standing at a crossroads? Do you feel
disconnected to your surroundings?
Why do you brood? What do you dread?
How do you
sketch the vision map of your life?
Diving into the secrets of the ever-elusive
mind, Raji Lukkoor takes us on a memorable journey of self-discovery in this
poignant memoir, through the vehicle of vipassana meditation.
Read an excerpt from Chapter 1:
Day Zero: Inhale, Exhale
It’s noonish. Hungry for a deeper meaning in
my life, I load my bags into the trunk, get in my car, and start driving to the
middle of nowhere. Along the way, I pick up Jill from the local train station
and then Joe from the area airport—both total strangers. A phone call last night
requested me to give them a ride as we are all travelling to the same
destination. We drive away, cutting through towns, rolling hills, extensive
meadows, and widespread farmland. Jill and I hit it off at once and within
minutes know more about each other than we could ever have imagined. Joe is
rather forlorn and wears a muted expression. All I’m able to extract from him
is that he is a college dropout searching for soul, information that both
impresses and appalls Jill and me. My motherly instinct kicks in, and I start
advising the young man to complete college.
Four hours later and what seems farther than
one hundred and fifty miles, the three of us arrive at the middle of nowhere,
which is going to be our home for the next ten days. We are here for a
residential vipassana retreat.
At a quaint retreat center, amid groves of
oak, pine, cedar, and manzanita trees in the picturesque Sierra Nevada
foothills of California, the technique of vipassana meditation is taught and
practiced. Siddhartha Gotama, the Buddha himself, rediscovered this meditation
technique and presented it to the world nearly twenty-five centuries ago.
Vipassana in the ancient Indian language Pali means “to see things as they are.”
The objective of the vipassana practice is to
develop mastery over the mind by observing the breath as it naturally flows in
and out of the nostrils, and thereafter observing sensations throughout the
body—both pleasant and unpleasant—with the awareness that those sensations
emerge from within, in infinite cycles of ebb and flow, and that equanimity is
key to sanitizing the mind of sankhara or pre-conditioned, mental patterns.
Hi I’m Raji Lukkoor, and I’m pleased to make your acquaintance. A travel enthusiast, I was born and raised in Goa, India, but now call California, USA, my home, where I live with my husband and two sons.
I have loved to write since I was in the seventh grade, and although I went on to study and work in the field of environmental engineering, the art of communication always fascinated me and has consistently brightened my verbal, aural, written, and interpersonal competence.
Travel- both physical and vicarious (although online volunteering)-across the US, Canada, Europe, and Asia over the years has given me perspective, motivation, a sense of achievement, the ability to connect to others, and deep regard for the world's cultures. In summer 2008, when an opportunity for travel presented itself, I couldn't resist. It was the trip of a lifetime - at a vipassana meditation course. This compelling experience held up a mirror to the reality of my existence, furthering my spiritual evolution and helping resurrect the authentic me. Thus was born my first publication, “Inner Pilgrimage: Ten Days to a Mindful Me.”