The Art of Living....and Loving

CAUTION: Big Big post.... exercise discretion, I would not take any blame for anyone falling asleep while reading this post. :P

A lot has been going around and within me lately that just disturbed my soul and inner peace to no end. So when papa decided the entire family would go for THE ART OF LIVING basic course, I said why not give it a try. On 9th February, I woke up at 5 am to attend this course and not without my doubts. Confused about my status between being an athiest or agnostic, I went into the couse thinking this would be one of those rare days the entire family would be together....for 6 days.

I must admit, the sessions that started at 5.30 everyday and went on till 8 in the morning, were fun. There were plenty of other people in the class and at the end of day one, all of us knew each other by our smiles. Though we had all said our names to each other before the class commenced and I could recollect only a few by the end of day three, I just knew that I'd get a smile on my face in the company of these complete strangers. We did the breathing exercise called "Sudarshan Kriya" and experienced something different....not everyone had a similar experience but everyone had something to share. Positive and Negative.

I went the first 3 days without any fuss but the 4th day I just didnt feel like going. It was 4.30 am on the morning of 12th and I was sitting at this very place writing my previous blog post and whining and grumbling about the thing that has been slowly eating me from within, for the past few months. The rest of the day went fine and I spent it with Diva watching Dev D, eating yummy gobi pakoras her mom had made. I got back home and just kept feeling that the hours arent passing by quickly enough. Something was missing. I enjoyed a lot with Diva but then there was this sudden emptyness that crept in and I just didnt know what was wrong. I went to bed that night thinking I am not going back to the ART OF LIVING class. It felt foolish that I was enjoying myself in moments and it doesnt help me overcome these sudden moments of anxiety, fear and depression. 

The next morning I chose to go just so that I dont anger my dad. After all it was just two more days and I might as well go there. And I am glad I did.

In the class, apart from the breathing exercise, they make us play games too that might seem childish to outsiders. I am not going to delve into details here coz there are two many of them to write. Each game we played told a story and had a moral...something that makes us look deeper into our inner selves and ask ourselves some burning questions, the answers for which we keep expecting from the outside world. On day 5, I went into the class and we had yet another activity to do.

We were divided into groups of 3 -- 2 males and a female. We sat in a huddle and told our life stories to each other with the promise that these stories would remain within the group. One of the member in my group, Niroop, had something to say about his life, wife and family that reminded me a little of what I had been going through for the past few days. I thought he has been through something similar and I should ask him about it. Since each one of us were given our 5 mins quota to tell our stories and Niroop's being the last one, our gurus had started telling us about how no one is free of problems and that everyone has faced hurdles in some form or another. Until that moment, I was going to the ART OF LIVING class just to get the worth of my Rs 1000, but it changed a little bit in the moment. 

I sat next to Niroop and shared my reasons for coming to the class and he sat down patiently and listened to me. It was time to go and we were all asked to get something to eat for the next day coz it would be an extended session. We were all asked to bring a gift, something small would do, for a "divine guru" who was going to come the next day. Else we were free to buy something from the gift shop they'd put up the next day. I made Coleslaw sandwiches and decided we would buy gift from the gift shop.

Today we went on doing our routine of the pranayams and the breathing exercise and there were some stories that our gurus and the guest gurus told us all. A lot of them dealing with H.H.Sri Sri Ravi Shanker and some relating to personal experiences of our gurus. Once that session was done, we were asked to get our gifts from the gift shop. I picked up a book called Tales for the Young and the elderly. We all assumed that these would go to the gurus and the guest gurus who had come.

We were all asked to close our eyes, no peeking. They played a music and asked us to slowly move around the hall with our eyes closed. We had to keep moving till the music stopped. So we all did, bumping into each other occassionally, not knowing who we were passing. And then they stopped the music and asked us to stand still wherever we were, slowly open our eyes and look at the person standing nearest to us. What followed next just brought tears to my eyes.

When I opened my eyes, I saw the same two group members that I had huddled with and we were standing almost as close as we sat in the group yesterday. The three of us were just so happy to see each other while the gurus asked us to exchange our gift with the person standing closest to us. Niroop was standing closest to me so I gave him the book I had picked up and playfully asked him for my gift. And Niroop just told me, "I didnt get anything but all I can say is  I wish you all the happiness in the world and with all my heart I hope you overcome everything that has been disturbing you. I'm giving you the love in my heart and I truly want you to find your peace". That was the moment I couldn't control my tears. 

Here was a person, the only thing I knew about him was his name and what he did for a living. Yesterday he gave me a glimpse into his life and that is all there was to it. Today he was honestly and with all his heart, telling me that things would be alright and that it matters to matters to the universe that I stay happy. These were the tears of joy. This was a moment when I know whatever  I have held inside me for all these months, just got flushed out with all the tears and I feel at such peace right now that I cannot express in words.

I am not getting any more spiritual. Yet.
I am not getting any more philosophical. Yet.
I am not advocating the ART OF LIVING course. Yet.
I do not revere Sri Sri Ravi Shanker any more than I revere the next person. Yet.

But I know for sure something changed in me today. I know I felt something different. And something is just glowing within me right now. I do not know what that is. As of now, I would call it the Art of Loving myself for who I am and the realisation that things would be alright. I just need to have a little faith. Miracles can happen, small or big. I had one today and I hope to give it back to the nature someday.

The experience of these 6 days I would treasure for a long time till I decide on taking the next level of this course. But what Niroop said would stay with me for a lifetime and I must show my gratitude to him here at this very moment. And to all my blog reader, the sad, sombre Smriti got washed away in a tear spell.... I promise to give you a brand new bubbling, lively Smriti who loves herself now more than ever and someone who will no longer give in to circumstances.

On this day, I promise to be my own Valentine forever. I promise to be happy and spread happiness. I found something beautiful within me today and someday I will witness the miracle of someone else finding something special in them too. I'm smiling with all my heart as I write this post and I vow to maintain this smile. :)

Happy Valentines Day everyone....and my heartfelt gratitude to everyone who commented on my previous post. Really appreciate it. 

OK. No more boring you today. Be back as frequently as possible with renewed vigour and enthusiasm :)

Cheers everyone..... :)

29 Observations:

  1. Nikhil said...:

    Cool yaar......
    Been wondering when this would happen with you all these years. Glad that Niroop was able to do what we friends coudnt!!!
    Welcome back to this world, it sucks but u will love it :D

  1. I have always been sceptical of such courses...but I guess they do have an effect on you..
    i will try them out one day for sure...:)

  1. aqua gurl said...:

    your simply awesome

    happy v-day, may love always surround you:)

  1. sawan said...:

    i have attended the foundation course loong back. and i luvd it :)

  1. smile dolls...we are here :)...happy belated Vday :)..


  1. Rakesh said...:

    Feeling Happy and Peaceful! I guess thats the purpose. The purpose wasn't necessarily to make you more spiritual, more philosophical, a bigger fan of SSR but what just happened to you.

    Reb, try it sometimes, and without being cynical of course. You may not be deeply affected like Smriti but sitting on the floor clearing your mind of all crazy thoughts is definitely a good experience.

  1. niceguy251 said...:


    First visit to your space. Read few of your posts. Each one of us carries some sadness at heart. It is good that you have come to terms with your unhappy event. One has to look within to find solutions to whatever one faces. Also it is helpful if one does something for those who are less fortunate. This gives a lot of confidence in self and also makes one feel better.

    Take care

  1. sumitra said...:

    wow smriti! im so happy for you.. glad to hear that ur feeling so good now..

  1. Renu said...:

    I have heard so much about these courses and people telling me that it is very good, but i have seen that many people follow Guruji with a faith, but dont listen to his teachings really, I mean they are not spreading happiness in their own family even.
    But I am very happy that it brought peace for u:)

  1. baap re post likha hai ki kya...padhte padhte ghanta bit gya :P

    par as usual likhti achhi ho :P so poora padha..uske liye award dena chaiye....

    but art of living :P


    won't comment more...ask any one in varanasi chapter of theirs my name...they must have me in their hit list :P

  1. --xh-- said...:

    great.. neat personal experience... very touching :) i plan to attend this one day :)

  1. Ria said...:

    I so want to attend this course someday...i hav been wanting to attend it from a while now. Happy for u babe! :)

  1. Mithe said...:

    HAPPY V'DAY!(belated)
    I loved the line
    'On this day, I promise to be my own valentine forever'
    liked your blog look and your little angel is cute:)

  1. Shalom said...:

    I've always believed in miracles and angels....not the kind with wings who come down from the sky, but angels in human form. I feel that God works miracles through people, it could be someone you know, or like in this case, an absolute stranger helping you to get out of your misery. Good for you & don't lose the faith!

    There's also a tag awaiting you on my blog!

  1. SMRITI said...:


    I hope I'll love it as much as I always did... and I dont think it was coz of that one person that things changed... I now believe in the power of meditation :)

  1. SMRITI said...:

    @Reb aka Jiggy

    Haan ji...tussi bhi try karke dekho... :) No promises but I hope you like the course :)

  1. SMRITI said...:


    Thanks so much sweetie :) Lots of love and hugs :)

  1. SMRITI said...:


    Isnt it?? :) Are you continuing the Kriyas that they teach you???

  1. SMRITI said...:


    Thanks dear..I know you all are always here :)

  1. SMRITI said...:


    Thanks for dropping by :) I had been aware of that fact but with too many things clouding up my view, I guess I needed a little something to get a clearer in a way I wiped my mind clean for something better to enter and I hope I can make a much better use of my time :)

  1. SMRITI said...:


    Thanks da....Hugs :)

  1. SMRITI said...:


    Completely agree with you... :) Thanks a tonne :)

  1. SMRITI said...:


    Abbey Hass Kyu raha hai?? Hassne ke liye awards nahi milte :P

  1. SMRITI said...:

    @Anoop take out time and attend it least the might just enjoy it :)

  1. SMRITI said...:


    Jab time mile kar lo attend sweetie...badhiya hai :)

  1. SMRITI said...:


    Thanks for coming back...have missed u around here :)

    I lost thread of ur story now...sorry abt that :( read only till part 2 i guess...have bookmarked it to read the whole story at a stretch ...Hugs sweetie :)

  1. SMRITI said...:


    :) :) :) :) Will not lose this faith :)

    And I've seen the tag...will take it up next...already thinking about what to write :P

  1. sawan said...:

    no, i m not.. its been long tht i did my refresher course and i am too scared to do it without guidance :(

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