Spiritual Journeys into the Heart Cave. The Journey to Awaken the Heart. Spiritual Pilgrimages to India, the Mountain Arunachala, and the Sri Ramana Maharshi Ashram (Sri Ramanashram in Tiruvannamalai).

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October 5th 2009
Published: December 24th 2007
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The Spiritual HeartThe Spiritual HeartThe Spiritual Heart

If we are so fortunate in this lifetime we open to our true nature, which is an open heart. May it be so.
Going deep into the space of Unknowing
The Heart Cave is dark
You cannot find your way with your eyes or your mind
The only way you can know is to feel your way through
It's within the darkness that we discover who we really are
The Heart Cave holds the mystery of the Universe
In the Heart Cave we are One
Yet with the Open Heart
It is still just the Beginning
Mind quieting in its Searching
Attention directed to the Source of all Being
Spaciousness Revealing
There is no Ending

Going to India was about finding myself, or awakening my heart to the meaning of Love. These journeys have served as my foundation, and have enabled me to explore the meaning of my life on ever deepening levels. My first two trips in 2005 and 2006 were about spending as much time as possible on or near the Holy Mountain Arunachala, in meditation, being present to what is, and discovering what within me never changes. I would meditate in the modernized caves several times a week, and visit the nearby Ashram as much as possible. Just gazing at the Mountain would often stop me in my tracks, as
May we open our Hearts to What Is, and in this Presence, discover OurselvesMay we open our Hearts to What Is, and in this Presence, discover OurselvesMay we open our Hearts to What Is, and in this Presence, discover Ourselves

When we fully open our hearts, allowing the love and compassion we feel rest deeply in our own hearts we become divinely touched.
I became more and more in tune with its mysterious vibrations. Tiruvannamalai is a growing and popular spiritual destination for Hindus and spiritual seekers from around the world.

Light of Shiva
Gazing at You
Makes my Heart Flutter
No Understanding
Movement of Stillness
I Stand in your Presence
Oh Arunachala

I returned to Asia again from Jan. 9th - Feb. 6th 2008: A growing passion to understand and explore the truth of our interconnection with animals inspired my most recent pilgrimage to India and Thailand. Previous travels to Asia were to deepen my spiritual understanding. (See the entries on Varanasi, Jaipur, Agra, Delhi, and the Elephant Nature Park in Thailand). However, mysteriously my most recent journey was one of most spiritual of all. When we fully open our hearts, allowing the love and compassion we feel rest deeply in our own hearts we become divinely touched, on a level that is only possible when we fully let in whatever we may be feeling and experiencing. May we keep our hearts open to life and be open to the movements of Grace abundantly present if we just slow down and tune into the presence of our own
The Sri RamanasharamThe Sri RamanasharamThe Sri Ramanasharam

The Ashram of Sri Ramana Maharshi offers a free meal daily to mostly Sadhus, many are featured here. It has a terrific meditation hall, shrine rooms, and peaceful grounds shared by colorful peacocks and sassy monkeys.
waiting heart. Om Namo Shivaya. Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya. Om Arunachala Om.

Also please refer to my websites @ www.cathyrosewelljonas.com and www.animaldreamers.org to see where this travelblog lead me to...

My self-published book called "Bringing Home the Mountain. Spiritual Journeys into the Heart Cave" is on track to be out early 2010.

Additional photos below
Photos: 33, Displayed: 23


A Cute Boy and a Lucky DogA Cute Boy and a Lucky Dog
A Cute Boy and a Lucky Dog

This little dog has found a loving home. Unfortunately, the majority of dogs run as strays, searching constantly for food but resort to eating trash if they have to. Many go without medical care, so suffer when they are injured or ill. My heart ached for many of them.
The Love for a MountainThe Love for a Mountain
The Love for a Mountain

Walking the 8 mile loop around the Mountain is considered a spiritual practice, many walk without shoes as a sign of devotion. Sometimes, people even body roll the whole length of the trip, while a relative makes an effort to sweep away some of the road debris. I left my shoes on, and especially enjoyed the times of quiet away from the traffic.
Morning glimpse of ArunachalaMorning glimpse of Arunachala
Morning glimpse of Arunachala

Sri Ramana Maharshi spent most of his life on or living on this Sacred Mountain. Since his death in 1950, he's popularity has only continued to grow as more and more students are drawn to his teachings about Self-Inquiry (as was true of myself).
Shades of LightShades of Light
Shades of Light

Just as the changing light reflects a different image of the Holy Mountain, we are constantly being revealed aspects of ourselves through each of our experiences.
Sharing the silence with a FriendSharing the silence with a Friend
Sharing the silence with a Friend

Both trips I was fortunate that the Universe provided some company, even though I traveled alone. This next journey will be a solo one, however we never truly travel alone, do we?
What is a Sadhu?What is a Sadhu?
What is a Sadhu?

Well... many can dress up as a sadhu as I discovered, and may not be serious about following a spiritual path (that is another story :) __ A true sadhu gives up worldly pleasures and selfish desires in an effort to seek spiritual truth (enlightenment). They often wander to places of spiritual significance, and spend their lives engaged in a variety of yogic practices.
Photogenic SadhusPhotogenic Sadhus
Photogenic Sadhus

I liked these guys, even though they were mostly interested in my money. I told them I wouldn't give them anything unless they smiled real pretty. They did! :)
The Flower SadhuThe Flower Sadhu
The Flower Sadhu

The Real Thing. Incredible energy, and eyes that would look right into me. He would give flowers to those who would come past his hut and special flower adorned bolder. Rarely would he come off from the Mountain.
Who is Sri Ramana Maharshi?Who is Sri Ramana Maharshi?
Who is Sri Ramana Maharshi?

The short story is that Ramana awakened to his true nature at age 16. He followed a mysterious longing to spend the rest of his life in silence by the Holy Mountain Arunachala. He did spend years in silence, but started teaching the path of Self-Inquiry when a growing number of devotees started hanging around. The rest is history, he moved down from the caves he had made his home, an Ashram was built in his honor, he left his body in 1950, but will always remain (as the answer of Self-Inquiry shows us).
A BeautyA Beauty
A Beauty

This young girl was so beautiful, and the light danced on her face so sweetly. I only hope her life will be good, as is questionable with many girls who come from poor families in India.
The Forgotten ChildThe Forgotten Child
The Forgotten Child

So sad was my heart to witness this little girl by the dog. She was in poor health, and had some type of open sores on her back that pained her. No one was there to comfort her, as she walked away from the other children, returning to the dirt alley where she lived.
So little and already workingSo little and already working
So little and already working

This little girl was helping to fetch water for her family at the community water pump.
Another cutie!Another cutie!
Another cutie!

The parents were so proud to have me take a picture of their child, even though I was unable to give them a copy.
Mother and DaughterMother and Daughter
Mother and Daughter

I liked this mother's energy, peaceful and confident.
A street scene by the templeA street scene by the temple
A street scene by the temple

I sometimes would just have to stop walking and watch as all sorts of people, animals, and vehicles zig zag to share the roads... the noise can only be imagined, or experienced: street vendors, yelling, honking, bells, temple music, drums, talking, dogs barking, trucks shifting and making a sound that could best be described as a siren. What Fun!
A Market Scene by the nearby templeA Market Scene by the nearby temple
A Market Scene by the nearby temple

So many colors, a contrast of beauty- along with trash and the not so pleasant smells. But... that's India, it is full of paradoxes and extremes.
The Life of an OxThe Life of an Ox
The Life of an Ox

Such a mixture of past and modern, Ox are still often seen pulling carts of all sizes. The piercing in their noses serve as a quick way to control them. Sometimes they would be seen resting their large bodies during a break and closing their eyes in deep relaxation, although mostly the loads in the carts appeared very heavy, and many did not look like they are getting enough nourishment, nor kind treatment.

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