Florie, a volunteer from the fifth Yoga Mela shares her experience:
It might sound like a strange thing to say, but a Yoga & Sacred Music Festival changed my life. I would be a totally different person today if it wasn’t for my experience at Yoga Mela.
I still remember very clearly the first day that I arrived at Divinya – Center for Evolutionary Consciousness in the south of Sweden, where the festival takes place. I came for a 1-month volunteering program, to help before and during the festival. When I was driving up the hill, through green meadows, surrounded by forests, staring at all this vastness around me, I felt such a strong energy grounding me, and such a peace in my heart. Somehow, strangely, it felt as if I was finally going back home.
I remember entering the community building and it felt like entering another world, almost like a dream. There was so much beauty, it was as if I was in heaven. You could see how much love had been put into every detail. Everyone was gracefully floating like angels around me. There was such a profound silence. And I knew: “One chapter of my life is closing. Nothing will ever be the same again.”
The next day I got to know the rest of the volunteer group, who came from all over the world, many of whom return year after year. Coming to Yoga Mela means not only experiencing a festival but also a new way of living. What is truly unique is that it all takes place where a spiritual community lives. Around 50 people from different countries and backgrounds who live there permanently organize the whole festival with the support of volunteers. They welcomed us into their home as part of the family with no difference made between community members and volunteers. We shared their life, following their daily rhythm and participating in all the engagements and which brought us closer to ourselves and our bodies. Every expression and every action contained a purity, an authenticity and such a joy.
At Yoga Mela, togetherness is the core of everything. I came on my own and thought it might be difficult to get to know new people, but I was included right from the start. Everybody was so smiley and it felt as if we all already knew each other. One thing which struck me the first morning was how no one asked the usual questions which normally begin a conversation, “What are you doing?”, “Where were you before coming here?”, “What are you planning to do afterwards?” At first, it felt quite unfamiliar to me, since this was the only way I knew how to interact with new people. I soon realized that being approached without any reference to the past or the future helps you to be fully present in each moment and creates space to allow new experiences to enter. It was a beautiful opportunity to meet each other as the divine souls that we are, beyond our stories, identifications and social roles. Everyone was given the chance to meet in the same space, and to share the beauty and joy of just being together in this very moment – sometimes not even talking at all and entering into a beautiful silence together.
Nobody behaved like a ‘guest’ by just consuming an experience. Everybody was active in co-creating this amazing event, helping with serving the food, cleaning and dish washing. You could feel such an incredible energy through thousands of people sharing one vision and helping one another. Throughout the Festival, I was more and more amazed by the collective peace and innocent joy that I experienced.
Before Yoga Mela, I was not used to working and doing things together with such a large number of people. I would have never imagined that there is a place on Earth where people work and create together so joyfully and peacefully. I had expected a big organization with a lot of structure and it was so beautiful to see how things naturally flowed with very little instruction. I learned what is possible when everyone is fully present and responds to what is needed in the moment. Of course things didn’t always go according to plan, but there was such a joy in all of us that it just became another adventure in how to find the best solution possible with everybody’s help.
At Yoga Mela people come together with a strong intention to create this field of Peace & Unity and through that to contribute to a shift in human consciousness. Being with them gives you the chance to do something for a higher purpose, something beyond yourself. It makes you wonder: How would life on Earth be if the whole humanity became one big family?
The Satsangs (“meeting with the truth”) with the enlightened Master Guruji Sri Vast, that take place every day during the festival, play an immense role in creating this field of transformation towards individual and collective peace. Guruji Sri Vast is the spiritual inspiration of Divinya. When I was searching for a yoga festival to join, there were many things which I was looking for: asanas, chanting, meditation, pranayama, but Satsang was not familiar to me, nor was being in the presence of a Master. To my surprise the daily Satsangs turned the festival into a spiritual experience for me, full of profound insights and inspiration. I had been interested in spirituality for several years, but only through Yoga Mela did I really get to know what spirituality truly means, and how I could personally transform. We were given daily Sadhanas (spiritual practices) to help us to come closer to ourselves and find peace and clarity inside. One day Guruji gave us the Sadhana of giving to others what you wish for yourself. “If you wish to be in peace, give peace to others. If you wish to feel love, give love to others.” Trying to practice this in every small action, I realized that I was making new choices. I started to approach people differently, not as strangers but as a reflection of myself and I started to see myself in all of them.
Yoga Mela turned out to be the beginning of a long transformational journey. Divinya and Yoga Mela opened my eyes to so many new ways of living this life. After so many years of restless seeking, of projecting my inner conflicts outside of me, I had finally met people who, instead of blaming or fighting against this world, are authentically creating the world they want to live in, with such a love and such a joy. Now I know that when I change, when my inner experience transforms, my perception of the world also slowly starts to change. Where before there was desperation now there is hope, and the belief that we all truly have it in our own hands to create the world which we wish to see.
Yoga Mela is an inspiration for anyone wishing to get a new reference and experience of how life can be lived differently. Everyone can take this energy back home with them. Everyone can carry this warmth, this innocent joy and this love in their hearts and share it with more people, to expand it even further. For me, this is such a beautiful way to change the world.
Thanks to the Yoga Mela festival at Divinya, today I know how I want to live. It was only through this amazing festival experience that my spiritual journey of rediscovering myself and the meaning of my life, really began.