Sunday, March 26, 2017

The 'Art' of living

Last year, I attended a couple of 'Art of Living' programs - more on the insistence of a fellow colleague than becuase of any real interest. S, my colleague and friend is an active AOL volunteer, and she literally dragged me to the 'Sahaj Samadhi' program. I liked the meditation techniques and it was a weekend well spent. I even practised the meditation for a couple of weeks after the initial training. S then enrolled me in the basic program which is called the 'Happiness Program'. Now, this is where they teach the famous breathing techniques and also dole out some general gyan. To me, the gyan was superfluous, I have acquired enough during my stay on the planet to qualify as an AOL teacher myself. And the breathing exercises tired me out. My allergies often lead to labored breathing and I somehow manage to inhale/exhale just about enough air to survive. It is really too much to expect controlled & patterned breathing from me. So long story short, the Happiness program didn't make me too happy. Alright, there were some funny moments, like the instance when the instructor advised me to join the 'YES' program - designed for 13-18 yo's. Yes.. despite the crow feet, the sagging skin and the occasional gray! I had to politely decline and inform that I am bit mature for that, by a factor of 2. My tryst with AOL pretty much ended with the Happiness program, and I didn't attend any further programs or follow up sessions.

Today, after a really long break, I went back for a morning follow up session - which was focussed(not again!) on the breathing techniques. It was difficult, but I decided to not try too hard and just do what I can. My eyes were shut all through, so I have no idea if the instructor noticed me cutting a slack. After the exercises, we were asked to lie down and look into our internal selves. I groped my yoga mat to determine the edges, ensured that my limbs don't run off it and reclined. After a while, I kid you not - I felt a surge of energy in my head. I clearly felt bright and warm, and it only continued to get brighter and warmer. It was like achieving some kind of higher consciousness - what do we know, this was absolutely my first experience. I basked in the light and warmth of my elevated self. After what felt like an eternity, we were finally asked to sit up. I opened my eyes to discover that the sun had come up in the time that I worked on my breathing and self-analysis, and light was falling directly on my face. So much for the enlightenment!

In any case, the session got over and we were briefed about the upcoming programs. One of them was customised for kids, and the coordinator asked me if I would like to enrol Pari for it. I have absolutely no intention of sending her for any of it. Also, Pari will be off for her summer vacations on those dates, and so it was easy for me to turn down the offer. However, when I returned home, I asked Pari, mostly in jest and slightly out of curiousity, if she would like to attend the AOL session. My child, clear-headed as always, responded - 'I don't need it Mumma.. I am already happy!'. These days, I often find myself torn between having an achiever kid and a happy child. Apparently, we are doing well in at least one of the departments.


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