A Peaceful Soul Finds the Answers

A peaceful soul finds the answers

By Tessie Tomas
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 00:44:00 03/23/2008

MANILA, Philippines - On Sept. 29, 2007, I embarked on a remarkable journey. I had been invited to the annual Peace of Mind retreat on the Gyan Sarovar campus of the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University in Rajasthan.


I woke up at 5:30 a.m. to prepare for morning exercises at the Meditation Hall. Exercising while seated seemed simple, but it was effective, relaxing.

Then a silent morning walk into the forest ... quite a long walk and, since I had pain in my back, I did that quite slowly.

Breakfast at the dining hall next, with all the participants from around the world, including France, Spain, UK, Kenya, Congo Republic, Russia ... amazing!

After breakfast, we gathered for an informal discussion, during which we shared our thoughts and feelings. I had the urge to share on a more intimate level; I confided how restless I was about not having a television show, but how another part of me didn’t want to be working just yet. I admitted being at that stage where I felt I could use some solitude.

I recounted my recent trip to the UK and USA, and my solo trip to Vietnam. Then I started to cry. I heard myself actually say, “I don’t know why I’m crying.”

In any case, I said I was truly happy to be here, that I hadn’t planned on making this trip a priority, but that my sked cleared up and ... I made it! I also shared my fantasy of going to Madrid for a year to further study Spanish. And also to sort myself out.

Sylvia, from Australia, said she had seen a movie with a similar plot—I was quite amused to hear that.

At 11 a.m., I went to Harmony Hall for the lecture by Sister Meera from Malaysia, on “Meditation—Experiments and Insights.”

After lunch, we visited the famous 12th-century Dilwara Jain Temple, made entirely from white marble—one of India’s architectural wonders. It was stunning!

From there we took a walk around the village, then siesta from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Back to Harmony Hall at 6:30 for the lecture on “Inner Strength” by Brother Nirwair, from Madhuban (“Forest of Honey,” the BK main campus, about 10 minutes from Gyan Sarovar). His name means “The One Without Enemies.”

Some highlights of his talk:

•My natural personality is peaceful, loving, positive, sweet. Getting upset, or being negative, is unnatural—the result of outside influences.

•A tree with deep roots will not shake, even in a storm.

•Whatever is happening, there is a reason and benefit.

•When I meditate, I cultivate imperishable qualities, like self-respect and spiritual love for all.


It’s been a busy day but a special one, indeed! I was up at 5 a.m. to prepare for the 6:30 a.m. meditation at Meditation Hall.

We also did some very pleasant, extremely slow, exercises ... had breakfast of cereal, fresh yoghurt and carrot jam at the dining hall. Then returned to the Meditation Hall for a lecture on “Soul Consciousness” by Sister Shielu, also from Madhuban.

While walking, I was overcome with so much joy over new self-discoveries, and for finding the answer to the nagging question, “Who am I?”

I am not this body, I am a soul.

Some quotable quotes from the lecture on “Soul Consciousness,” by Brother Ramesh, from Mumbai:

•Life is always going ... going ... going. The present is everything.

•Soul consciousness gives me the power to face problems and suffering. It’s like seeing things from an elevated place—my perspective is clearer.

•Life does not allow me to go back or rewrite things, i.e., once words are spoken, I cannot take them back. So I always have to be careful !


Same routine, and I’m happily getting used to this.

In our Meditation Circle yesterday, I shared my feelings again: I am excited to work on myself—why have I spent so much time working on my body alone? That’s so much time to make up for, so that I might find a deeper meaning to life, deeper happiness.

Today, Sister Meera gave a class again, this one on “Experiencing Connection.”

•Who is God? God is the Supreme Soul. Why Supreme? He doesn’t go into the cycle of birth and death. He is the source of all virtues.

•When I meditate, I should connect with God so that I might become “God-like.” To see Him, I should open the third eye.

•God has a multitude of qualities that I can meditate on: Peace. Truth. Love. Mercy/Forgiveness.

•The fruits of meditation are sweet and nourishing: Quality in every action. Accuracy. Beauty.


Again, the routine is the same, but only on the physical (time) level. On the spiritual level, I feel the boundaries are constantly expanding.

I am awed by the simple, pure yet powerful thought that my original self is peaceful, loving, caring—how could I have forgotten and changed so much?

Today, Sister Shielu was back to give a talk on “Raja Yoga.” Some precious points:

•I have to give something back to the world. I have to give something to Nature. I can’t just take and take.

•The first 10 minutes when I wake up are extremely important. The subconscious mind is fresh, open and accepting at that time. I can choose to create only positive thoughts.

•Raja Yoga is, simply, connection to the Raja or the King, the Supreme Being.

•Five blessings I can meditate on:

1) I am a child of God. Success is my birthright.
2) I am a victorious soul, a destroyer of obstacles.
3) I have the power to give peace to everyone. My peace is my power.

•All the problems in the world are the fruits of negative thoughts, negative energy.

•A person’s greatest resource is his thoughts.


Now I know I’ve been carrying around excess baggage (maybe due to unresolved issues with my family of origin)—hence my back pain? But I am happy to be spending so much time with myself, for myself. I am a beautiful soul, though momentarily disconnected from the Source. I must reconnect

Dadi Janki, the university administrator, gave the class today on “Laws of Karma and Time.” Sister Shielu translated for her. The main points I picked:

•The soul is the doer, as well as the reaper. If I sow something good, I will reap good things.

•Suppression leads to cancer; aggravation causes heart attacks.

•I should see everyone as a peaceful soul like myself.

•If I change, my family will change, society will change, the nation will change, the whole world will change. Self-transformation leads to world transformation.


My first thought upon arising is: I am a diamond—but at the moment, I may be dirty, tarnished. I need to do a lot of “cleansing” so that I may sparkle again!

Sister Jayanti, from London, gave a talk on “How to Meditate Properly.” I took down a lot of notes from this one. Here are some:

•Meditation is a process of going inwards to myself, upwards to link up with God and outwards to serve the world.

•All the treasures are summed up in one word—power. Power that I can harness. Spiritual power is what it’s all about. Peace. Love. Purity. Wisdom. Joy.

•I can be clean, clear without any motive.

•I should constantly ask myself: Am I giving or am I taking?

•External things do not last. But the happiness I get from inner treasures lasts.

•As I gain power, I become a master of Time.

•I am Peace (Om Shanti). The power of peace keeps me safe.

I attended my last morning meditation with the group at 6:30 a.m., followed by a delightful breakfast at the dining hall. Newfound friends exchanged good-byes.

A mental picture of that moment has lingered to this day: Seated in the bus, those of us who were leaving waved goodbye to the others who were staying a little longer. We were serenaded by a fellow delegate, a violinist. We could not hear the music clearly, but we could feel that she was playing straight from the heart.

I had to wipe away my tears. I said to myself, I will miss this, for sure; I will miss them.


Back in Manila now, I continue practicing morning meditation. My life unfolds beautifully and pleasant twists and turns have sprung. Instead of a television program that I thought I wanted, I have been cast in two very interesting movies: Panoramanila’s “Ploning,” directed by Dante Nico Garcia and set in Cuyo, Palawan; and a Cinemalaya entry, “100” (short for “100 Things I’d Like To Do Before I Die”) written and directed by Chris Martinez.
But yes, I’ve also been told that I will soon be in a TV show in April or May. What more can I ask for?

Every day, as often as I can, I close my eyes and smile ... and summon positive, powerful thoughts: “I am victorious. I am a child of God. Om shanti.”


Feeling Good, Perfect Mood - glitter text

Perfect mood, feeling good

By Pocholo Concepcion

Posted date: June 21, 2007

Joey Ayala couldn't have put it better: "Kung kaya mong isipin, kaya mong gawin…"

The singer-songwriter was clearly in his element as he urged the audience to follow his lyrics about the power of thoughts and the will to change for the better.

Along with several guest artists, Joey provided the kind of entertainment numbers that lent more meaning to "Time and Transformation," Brahma Kumaris' 25th anniversary celebration Monday night at the Araneta Coliseum.

Brahma Kumaris (BK) is an international educational institute that operates in more than 100 countries. In the Philippines, eight BK centers have been established since 1982.

Touch of humor

Hosted by Tessie "Teysi" Tomas, "Time and Transformation" presented music, dance and videos to enhance the principles that BK has been promoting quietly, but successfully, through its "students."

Supporters, including Marikina City Mayor Marides Fernando, former Miss Universe and now rural development worker Margie Moran Floirendo, new student Mon Tulfo (a columnist of the Inquirer) and many others, personally attest to the knowledge and benefits they have gained from joining BK programs.

Teysi's spiels had the slightest touch of humor: "Ang Brahma Kumaris po, hindi kulto, hindi religion, at hindi rin po pyramid scam…"

In a nutshell, the BK, as an organization affiliated with the United Nations, seeks to make everyone better persons.

Guest of honor

At the anniversary celebration, the BK had for a guest of honor Dadi Hirdaya Mohini, one of its top administrators and concurrently director of centers in New Delhi and Kashmir. (The organization is based in Rajasthan, India.)

Better known as Dadi Gulzar, Mohini was a striking presence during the program. Her eyes brightly captured the term "windows of the soul."

Speaking on center stage with an interpreter, Mohini's message, delivered after the cleverly conceived numbers, focused on recognizing the soul, the "master of the body and mind."

Mohini said everyone can tap their limitless potential by acknowledging the soul.

How? The key word is silence, which Mohini defined as "the state in which the mind is engaged in pure and elevated thoughts."

A few minutes of silence every day, she said, can brush away tension, anger, sorrow and other negative thoughts and feelings that cause conflicts.

Silence is power, Mohini said. Frankly, it may not solve corruption and world hunger outright. At the very least, however, it can help change people's minds and lead them to engage in positive acts, starting with real communication.


And how to achieve silence? Go right to the source, Mohini intimated. Recognize God, the true giver of peace.

She said meditating was communing with God, and the priests and nuns behind us nodded in agreement.

The potency of that idea was captured earlier, when Grace Nono opened the show with the song/chant "Dosayan" (literally, "praise"), an invocation that hushed the audience.

The choreography of Douglas Nierras' Powerdance was flawless. In a number called "Tenderness," all the dancers complimented precise movements with angelic expressions on their faces.

Timmy Cruz, who sang several songs and also acted as co-host, was so effusive in talking about the BK that, for a moment, our seat mate was worried that the event would sound like a prayer rally. Thankfully, Timmy caught herself.

Very uplifting

Later, she redeemed the awkward moments by leading the crowd in putting "tilak" in the shape of stars on one another's forehead. As a middle-aged man, a stranger, pinned one on ours, he wished us the best in all our endeavors. It was very uplifting.

At the end of her brief address, Mohini gave her audience three steps to bring about change in ourselves: 1) smile more often; 2) offer others a "sweet" drink in the form of sweet words; and 3) maintain happy feelings.

The mood was thus perfect as Timmy finally led a choir and mime artists in singing a tune about the winning ways of smiling and feeling good. At that point, the crowd at the Big Dome did look ready for collective transformation.


Serenity on a Platter

Manila Bulletin, July 27, 2007
Life and Leisure

by Ethel Timbol

The chef, Cecilia Montoya, was given the name Sister Sushila which in India means "one who is serene." As head cook of the Brahma Kumaris, Sis. Sushila prepares vegan meals guaranteed to nourish the body with food to energize and yet calm you.

Thanks to my colleague Emmie Velarde, I have sampled Sis Sushila's cooking a good number of times such as my most favorite cuapao stuffed with kangkong stalks and minced mushrooms doused in sweet sauce.

Sis Sushila used to be an accountancy agent in the BIR, a job she shunned soon after joining the Brahma Kumaris center in Dagupan.

Because she enjoyed cooking even as a child, tutored by her grandmother in Pangasinan where the family meals were mainly Ilocano, it was only natural that she would end up in the kitchen.

At the BK center in Dagupan, she learned to cook "vege-meatarian" meals through recipes from friends and cookbooks.

The Inner Peace BK center in Bagkitan St., Makati, is only one of over 8,000 BK centers in 129 countries. We have eight centers in the Philippines and one retreat house in Tagaytay, the Center for Spiritual Learning, which is the only one in all of Asia.

My friend Emmie would always celebrate her birthday at the BK center in Bagtikan although it normally does not serve meals except when there are whole day training programs and meditations led by Sis. Rajni.

Sis. Rajni, who hails from New Delhi, India, started the "movement" (a word she
dislikes) in the Philippines 35 years ago at the urging of Filipino journalist Marge Enriquez.

The Brahma Kumaris began in the early 20th century, started by the son of a village schoolmaster, Brahma Baba. Brought up in the Hindu tradition, Brahma Baba later became a successful jeweller and diamond trader.

At the age of 60 when his colleagues were talking of retiring, Brahma was recharging his own life, strangely "energized" by the principles of quiet reflection and solitude.

Spurred by visions which visited during his meditations, Baba founded the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University in Karachi Sindh (now part of Pakistan) in 1936. The community of 300 people spent their time in intense spiritual study, meditation and self development. In 1951, the community moved the university to Mt. Abu in Rajasthan, India.

To this day, devotees flock to Mt. Abu in October just as the Muslims head for Mecca. They seek peace and a higher spiritual light in the inner soul.

Their motto - "when you change, the world changes" -makes good sense.

Among these "changes" is the diet which is what I am most interested in now.

So, to discover healthy, nourishing food, Annie Ringor, Toni Gregory and I visited the Center for Spiritual Learning in Tagaytay.

We were welcomed by Sis Sushila, Sis Rajni, and Sis Alma Echano. The latter hails from Daet Bicol, and used to work as a chemist in the San Miguel glass plant, being a BS chemistry graduate of Adamson University.. Today, Sis Alma teaches meditation at the BK centers.

They are all volunteers who give their time and service to the Brahma Kumaris cause, yet who remain professionals in the outside world. For instance, Sis Lila, aka Lourdes Aseneta, works weekdays as a teacher/trainor for companies.

On weekends, one will find her in any of the BK centers.

Sis Timi, the "assistant cook," is both an English teacher and computer specialist outside the BK center.

The girlish looking Sis Ria, another volunteer, is a college teacher at UP Diliman.

We were joined at lunch by Timmy Cruz, the singer/ entrepreneur, who volunteers as "hardinera" of the Brahma Kumaris retreat house. Her own little "farm" in Tagaytay is a green haven that she herself had landscaped.

Because of the growing interest in vegan food, the Brahma Kumaris centers in Bagtikan and in Kamuning, Quezon City, conducts cooking classes on request.

You can call them at 890-7960 and 922-9231.

But if you'd like to sample the cuisine first, you can drop by at the "Unknown Chefs" food festival being mounted by the I Can Serve Foundation (composed of cancer survivors) on Aug. 11 and 12 at the Rockwell Tent in Makati.

The basic principle of a vegan diet is simply . nothing that destroys life nor offends the olfactory senses, only food that nourishes. So obviously, all seafoods and meats are out, including egg, as well as garlic and onions.

But no need to feel deprived.

At the retreat house, they serve homebaked pandesal, cereals, "bacon" and "adobo", siopao using delicious vegemeat, cuapao, luga, lomi, salads galore, fruits in season, and an amazing tarragon & mint tea.

You can make reservations there at tel. 413-2128 or (046) 890-2257 or email


Global Executive Retreat

Summary report – July 2007

Global Executive Retreat – a unique blend of spiritual and corporate wisdom.

"A rare opportunity to hit the pause button… observe and reflect on your life's impact…experience meditation and take time out…Amidst a peer group of senior executives, this residential weekend retreat offers a unique opportunity to unwind, discover the spiritual undercurrents influencing your choices and determine what's most important in your life…"

Approximately 35 participants from 18 countries - a select group of influential and senior executives within the business world – attended the second Global Executive Retreat at the Global Retreat Centre, Oxford, from 13 – 16 July, 2007. Hosted by Dadi Janki, Brian Bacon and Sr Jayanti, the retreat provided participants with an opportunity to take time out, learn how to meditate and deepen spiritual understanding as a basis of effective leadership.

Plenary sessions conducted by Br Brian, provided insights and reflective exercises into the role of spirituality and meditation in personal and professional life. Sessions entitled "Learning to read the signs – being the Detached Observer and "The Harmonic Triangle – Connecting, Giving and Receiving" allowed participants to deeply reflect upon their personal journey. This paved the way for Dadi Janki to inject the spiritual understanding needed to unblock one's energies, develop good character and move forward in life. Sessions with Dadi included 'A Still Mind' and 'Connecting with the Divine'.

Sr Jayanti offered the clarity and crucial bridge from spiritual understanding to practice in sessions entitled "Understanding the inner conversations" and "Harmony in relationships". Interwoven throughout the retreat, participants had the opportunity to process, dialogue and experience meditation in small groups led by an experienced BK 'meditation guide'.

Significant highlights of the retreat were the 'Global Café' session, an evening of informal conversation where participants were invited to share in (rotating) small groups over hot chocolate and cream; and a special dinner and cabaret style entertainment which generated lots of fun and a sense of belonging to a wider family.

The humility and honesty of participants during the feedback sessions created a deeply moving and appreciative atmosphere leaving everyone with a renewed sense of purpose, refreshed and inspired.

Some of the statements…

"Coming here 15 yrs after I went to Mt Abu – I am conscious that I have a new direction and path to follow. This has given me ideas of what that path should be…in partnership with the Divine. I am associated with a great number of networks and we can realise that we all want the same thing and come together to make a big difference" – Napier Collyns – Co-founder and Managing Director, Global Business Network

"The description of the harmonic triangle has brought me to a major realisation about my relationship with God. It brought me to a major realisation that I was doing deals with God…serious commerce. I was making deals with God that I'll be a good person so long as you give me what I want. Even goodness with God can be a deal.

By asking myself the question: Who am I? I have realised what kind of relationship and connectivity I deserve as a soul. That's my commitment to myself…to be the soul. What you are talking about as a responsibility is actually a commitment, not a responsibility but a commitment to who am I and what is my purpose. My purpose is to bring out potential in people and to make a commitment to myself, being a soul in the process. I realised what was missing because, I didn't think that my soul deserved that? Now through this experience, I have connected again with the soul, myself."

Emilia Mosseri, Founder and Partner, Leading Edge Technologies (L.E.T), Dubai, UAE:

"Whilst being here, parts of my own spiritual practice have been highlighted.

What I take from the Brahma Kumaris is a sense of intention and commitment and a sense of humour. For me the, sense of humour is the most important…it is the sign of an ability to hold something deeply and lightly…at the same time. The Brahma Kumaris hold a big mind and big intention. What is exciting to me about the BK's is the global reach that you have. There is a kind of flexibility that you have in engaging communities around you in many different ways. You have an incredible potential in your organisation, intention and humour in how to actually to be a real key part in helping this world make the transition it needs to make. Thanks for your generosity – and making it good fun to be here." Michael Chender, President, Coemergence; Chairman, Shambala Institute for Authentic Leadership, Nova Scotia, Canada

"I come from Venezuela and I ask myself, how much time will our managers keep wanting to see us growing and growing. The key now is harmony and stability not growth. This world needs leaders, not more managers, those who are willing to focus on developing potential…

We depend on internal equilibrium and external stability. Meditation has been very valuable towards that internal equilibrium and to access the highest consciousness. Then nature evolves from there. …harmony is naturally created. This is the gift that you as a wonderful organisation and the people bring…We can do this." Adolfo Jarran – President, Creating C.A, Venezuela

Om Shanti.


Music and Magic!!!

Feedback from the people who watched the show....

* "This is it! I want to join your group."

* "it feels so lucky to be there. Everything went nice and smoothly."

* My two Japanese friends enjoyed the concert a lot. They commented on the organization and the effort that we did to make it truly a memorable event.

* Highly impressed. Well-balanced program.

* "Wow, wonderful". Thank you. Aged, 16

* "Thanks for the fortune of being invited." Aged 38

* "Tilak" segment was very touching.

* "Amazing!"

* We enjoyed and love the concert. Hope more concert and we will be invited again. Honestly, a different experience we can practice in our daily life – meditation. My congratulations! Aged 53

* "It's a concert which makes you feel relaxed and worry-free", aged 24

* "I felt very light and happy." Manager around 30+

* "Yes, it was worth it. Thank you so much. May fever pa ako that day and I didn't think I would make it thru the day. Felt the positive energy all around. It has helped me recover from stress. Aged 50, VP for sales in a construction firm.

* Got this text message from a seldom seen long-time friends, now in her 50's, a mother of 3 and recent widow – whose community group is active in church and caring for their very sick parish priest: "Salamat kapatid para sa isang mapayapa't masayang gabi."

* "Show enabled me to experience the message in the manner we were familiar with."

* Sense of wonder how crowd listened intently to Dadi Gulzar's talk when the show was long and the evening was getting late

* "I've never encountered anyone like her…as if she was air…floating in air… how can someone be like a living, walking silence?" freelance artist, 20+ years old


Brahma Kumaris Makati

forgive, forget, face forward!

03 DEC THUR 6.30 - 8.30 PM

Forgiveness releases us from these bitter emotions. Forgiveness means to compassionately and peacefully move forward with what is good, toward what is better.

peace & goodwill to all men

(in Celebration of the Human Rights Day)

05 DEC SAT 9.00 - 11.30 AM

Everyone has the right to life, liberty, and security of person. On the basis of such spiritual right, people respect an inner code of conduct resulting in a natural form of ethics. Communication, then, binds humankind through a common energy bringing us closer to world peace.

courage to change

10 DEC THUR 6.30 - 8.30 PM

Your courage has taken you beyond fear into the realization of your soul. You now know yourself as God knows you.

Brahma Kumaris Makati Center
7484 Bagtikan Street, San Antonio Village, Makati City
Tel.: (02) 890 7960
Telfax: (02) 890 7906


Brahma Kumaris Quezon City

happiness is a choice

05 DEC SAT 4.00 - 6.00 PM

To be more loving and considerate, to take time to laugh more, to sing a little song everyday… all of these are choices I can make. When I

consciously take the steps that will make me happier, I’m far better able to make other people happier, too.

increasing emotional stability

12 DEC SAT 4.00 - 6.00 PM

The more you activate the innately pure feelings of love and peace, the less your habitual emotions of negativity can come into play. But first, understand what emotions are.

celebrating love and peace

19 DEC SAT 4.00 - 6.00 PM

Peace on earth, good will to all. The world echoes the timeless message of Christmas. Join us as we celebrate the joys and deeper meaning of the Christmas season.

Brahma Kumaris Meditation Center
34 T. Gener St. cor Kamuning Road, Quezon City
Tel.: (02) 414 9421


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