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 someone....it 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..... :)