Back then in 2000, one of my school friends had shared with me a small card, with a picture of a saintly person, below which was written a beautiful quote. I had felt so positive; she said this quote was written by her Guruji. As a matter of fact, while growing up, I had read books like ‘Autobiography of a Yogi', which had made me realize the significance of a spiritual guide in one's life.
Just a few months after this incidence, my father asked me to attend the Art of Living – Level 1 course along with him. Since childhood, I was a very shy person, who preferred a solitary life, due to lack of self-confidence, with a messed up mind and marred self-identity. But I was an obedient child, and so reluctantly, but with some hope, I joined him. When we went at the venue, to my surprise I saw the very same person's picture I had mentioned earlier, but this one was a huge frame. So the photograph was of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar or ‘Guruji' as he is fondly referred to. Well, well, this was going to be interesting.
Initially precarious about the purpose of this course though, I slowly started experiencing some sort of peace. I was almost in some weightless state for a few days as if I was floating. ‘Sudarshan Kriya' introduced by Guruji is a powerful rhythmic breathing technique that facilitates physical, mental, emotional and social well-being. Two months later, I got the opportunity to perform Sudarshan Kriya in the presence of Guruji. This was like experiencing the purest form of bliss and the divine connect you experience can be overwhelming. This is how my association with Guruji began.
In all these years, I have always felt connected with him. He knows what I am going through and in some way or the other sends a message for me, so that I could understand myself, the situation and the solution clearly. There has been a gradual but drastic change in my personality over a period of 17 to 18 years.
My first hand experience of feeling worthless, good for nothing, to the point that I used to hate myself has become a faded memory. I could barely read a book earlier; in fact my situation was so bad that reading 200 words itself used to take me an hour or so. Writing was an even bigger challenge. Not that I could not, but mind is a complex piece of art. Probably my confidence was paralyzed. But I started reading Guruji's books. Reading his books came to me like a spring of inspiration. Initially I started at a slower pace, but I finished reading almost 4 books in a row. That is where my love for reading graduated, because now the mental barrier I had that I could never finish reading a book had gone. Today if I have the competence to write anything is because of all the beautiful ideologies imbibed in me as a result of reading his thoughts and scriptures.
If you ask me now what has changed, I would say, that first and foremost I love myself. If that is not very explicit, my Guruji with his blessings has made me capable of bringing out most importantly the enthusiasm to live and make life better, to get past all the insurmountable negativities and inabilities, courage to handle any situation or consequence and yes some decent competence to cascade a few mindful thoughts.
This is an experience shared by an Art of Living member who wish to remain anonymous.
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