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Tag Archives: Art of Living course

Skydive into the Present


I had read somewhere that ‘if you believe you can fly, you will’ and this is exactly what I experienced at Skydive Long Island, New York.  For a lark, I saw myself signing up, where the first thing you are told is that when you Sky Dive, there is a probability that you may die or get maimed for life.  Despite these not so comforting words, I had to put on a cheerful expression looking at the excited faces of my friends, .

Before I go any further, let  me share with you that I have a fear of heights, and terrible motion sickness. Why was I doing this? I like birds, airplanes and the sky and  these to my mind are the perfect reason to jump off an airplane.

So, we troop into a small plane with two rows of benches. We sit astride with no seat belts, facing the tail. I see a cameraman sitting on the floor. He closes the door which is really a flap like shutter and we take off.  As we noisily lurch skywards, I am inescapably committed to jump off the airplane or tag myself a coward. I choose the former, reminding myself that the worst case scenario is death and that I have attended enough Advanced Meditation Courses with the Art Of Living so the death-processshould not be unfamiliar; that I have died before in many previous lifetimes and can do it again.


I decide on mudra-pranayam to calm myself. Breathe in…blue sky…breathe out…blue water below… I feel a jab on my back, it is my instructor.

“Are you meditating”

“Yes”

“How do you meditate?”

I’m confused.

A part of me wants to give an Art of Living intro-talk and another wants to whack him because now I’m jittery again!! Thankfully, he wants to talk, telling me about his workplace: the sky.

Soon, it is time. We have climbed to 14000 feet and the door is open. I go over the instructions once again, pull on the eye glass and wiggle on the floor till my feet are dangling out of the plane. It feels similar to dangling one’s feet out of a truck; only, this one is in the sky!!

There is no turning back now. Breathe in ...and JUMP!!! And I am free-falling towards the Earth. I see the beautiful Atlantic Ocean, green and brown Earth with a river. Strangest of all is that the Earth appears convex, nothing like what we see out of an airplane window. Though we free-fall for about 10 thousand feet, there is no perception of speed or the height ! It is something I have never experienced before.

Free Fall is the most magical experience one can ever have.  It is a totally new experience for the body and mind. As the body starts taking inputs through the senses and before the mind can add labels and form concepts…you experience the PRESENT MOMENT, one hundred percent, un-adulterated, pure moment !!!  As you fall, in that moment there is…no fear, no judgement, no like or dislike, no thoughts…not even thoughts of life/death/ loved ones. It is awareness minus the labels!!

Once back on the terra firma, I realized this is how babies must be experiencing life. For us, it is extremely difficult to live without labelling everything. We label our experiences into likes and dislikes, we form concepts of right, wrong, good or bad which compel us to repeat or avoid experiences. Every single sensory input that we experience is immediately labelled and stored and we become a sum total of our concepts; but when we are babies, the world and its experiences are so new that all we ever have is the present moment…

It took me a leap of faith to understand the depth of present moment.  My sky Dive into present  moment set me free.

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Simply irresistible YOU !


A few years back, a young guy of about 30 years came to meet me at my office. He was an Art of Living teacher and I had absolutely no interest in spirituality back then. But the moment I met him, I knew instinctively that I wanted to be a part of Art of Living. He was irresistible. He didn’t have to say a word. I could feel the peace in his presence. I could see the glow on his face and I was overwhelmed by his aura.

Do you want to be irresistible? It has nothing to do with age or being beautiful. It is quite simple. All you have to do is follow some simple tips:

1.Smile Have you noticed how little kids befriend everyone? And yet,all they do is flash their cute smile and even a stranger can’t help falling in love with them. A smile is an inexpensive way to change your looks.People seldom notice your clothes if you wear a big smile.People look perfect when they smile.Wear a smile and win friends!

2.Be kind It’s important to be kind.Treat everyone with politeness.Kindness is a language which everyone understands.Sometimes we are so caught up in our busy lives that we forget this basic human trait.Be kind and gracious to everyone.In a world full of people who don’t care,stand apart by being the one who cares.

3.Be natural You are beautiful as you are.Don’t try to be someone who you aren’t.Have you noticed little children? How they are at ease everywhere!They don’t try to impress anyone.

4.Be attentive If you genuinely want to be irresistible, then be attentive to others. Be an attentive listener.The best gift you can give someone is that of your undivided attention.

5.Silence We live in a world of noise and distractions, which continually tug our attention out of ourselves to the material world. To reconnect to our true self. Take time now and then to be still. Meditate or simply sit away from distractions and relax. A few moments everyday in silence not only helps you connect with your inner wisdom but also helps in increasing productivity and creativity.

6.Simplicity Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.Simplicity in dressing up,simplicity in behaviour, simplicity in living,simplicity in your thoughts is what catches the eye.

7.Be non-judgemental Stop labelling people just because they’re not like you.When you are judging people,you are creating a distance.

8.Be honest Honesty is the rarest wealth anyone can possess.When you are sincere and honest,people are drawn towards you because they know that they can trust you. Few delights can equal the mere presence of the one whom we trust.

9.Be rock solid Ups and downs are a part of living but smiling through the ups and downs is the art of living.Don’t let the life’s unpredictable moments shake you.Events may come and go but you be rock solid.

10.Celebrate life Honour the big moments of life but also appreciate the little moments of life and enjoy them as well.Celebrate the spontaneity of life.Live each day as it comes to the fullest.Remember life is beautiful and so are you!

Be content with what you have, rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you. ~Lao Tzu

 

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The Art of Living : Keeping the Faith


Sharing a part of my lifestory… written a couple of years ago on my personal blog…. 🙂

I was 12 or 13 years old when I was gifted a book called ‘ The Art of Living’ on Vipassana Meditation by William Hart. I had already done the Transcendental Meditation course and as children my age would do, never practiced it again, though I still remember the mantra I was given!! 🙂

I must say, that all through this journey called life, spiritual books have found their way into my life.. 🙂 All this talk these days, about attracting things into life, going by that philosophy, maybe I must have wanted them in some previous birth 🙂 I have a story for each one entering my life in very interesting and sometimes, not so happy, circumstances. Always making me realize the presence of the divine around, taking care of me! 🙂

Coming back to the book ‘The Art of Living’! It’s a beautiful book on Vipassana Meditation with an outline of the basics of Buddhism, short stories and an ‘Intellectual Commentary on Experiential Wisdom.’ I loved reading that book, especially the short stories, every now and then. Must have read it 30-40 times but I never understood parts of the ‘Intellectual Commentary,’ and I wished I could find someone who would explain the meaning of quite a few things the book mentions. In vain!! I found no one near me who could understand it, or for that matter, was willing to read ‘SUCH BOOKS’ at my age :))) Definitely none of my friends, classmates or even elders.

Though I enjoyed the book immensely, I could not relate to all the experiences narrated in the book. However, I did not associate that with any form of disbelief on the writer, or Vipassana or Buddhism, nor did I ever doubt any of the experiences. I always felt there was truth behind those words. I knew that somewhere something in my own experience was lacking that prevented me from understanding the book completely. I always thought I would go to a Vipassana centre someday to experience it myself…

However, instead of Vipassana, something else happened!!! “The BEST thing that could have ever happened”!! The Art of Living Part 1 Course.. then YES!+ Navratri Advance Course at Ashram with Gurudev H H Sri Sri Ravi Shankarji ..then Sahaj.. DSN…

After I began practicing meditation regularly, that ‘Intellectual Commentary’ has become an ‘Experiential Reality.’ (An everyday affair) Transformed my life, attitude, thinking and continues to do so.. And now when I read that book, or other books on spiritual experiences, I comprehend a lot more of what they imply.

The Limitation of Words
Words sometimes (or maybe most of the times) fail to reflect experiences. (Try explaining the pain in your head, to someone who has never experienced any pain. Can you find words to express it…..We all want easy answers, but nothing can ever satisfy our highest quest, if it is genuine, except our own experiences. To add, Meditation is not a one day affair, although I have seen and continue to see hundreds of first time phenomena and miracles all around me.

The Cure for Restlessness
Most people say they are unable to close their eyes and relax even for a few moments. The absence of a person or thing that we love or want can definitely make us restless and feel lonely, but imagine, if that’s the restlessness in and around us, where we cannot sit with ourselves for some time, why would people want to be with restless people like us?
We are all energy transmitters, so it’s very important to see what kind of energy we are emitting.. 🙂

Not to say, that there are no restless moments, but mindfulness, the very awareness that we are restless, works to bring us out of it. The very moment we become aware of it, we begin to break the cycle and understand that ‘being alone’ and ‘being lonely’ are two completely different perspectives. In simple words, just a conversion!! The ability to experience the difference, may come after a period of practicing mindfulness or meditation, or can happen in a fraction of a second. 🙂

All is ‘Energy’
The quantum physicist and the saint say the same thing – All is ‘Energy.’ The former talks from a scientific and experimental perspective and the latter from an experiential perspective! Feeling the vibrations, electricity and energy in and around him! While there is no change in the temperament of the quantum physicist when he makes this proclamation, a true saint’s mere presence reflects the bliss, radiance and resplendence that comes from experiencing reality as it is!

Remembering Celine Dion’s song –
‘….When you wanted the most, there’s no easy way out,
When you’re ready to go, and your heart’s left in doubt,
Don’t give up on your faith,
Love (I call it the highest possible manifestation of energy) comes to those who believe it,
And ‘That’s the way it is’!! 🙂

 

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Art of Living courses around the World


Click on the links listed below to know about the upcoming Art of Living Courses around the World

Art of Living International Centre  Canada

Art of Living Canada

Art of Living Los Angeles

Art of Living San Francisco Bay Area 

Art of Living Atlanta

Art of Living San Jose

Art of Living  Philippines

Art of Living UK

Art of Living Ireland

Art of Living South Africa

Art of Living Australia

Art of Living New Zealand

 

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