Thursday, September 16, 2010

Aman Gohal - Art of Living Experience

Management Consultant, Washington DC

The ability to see beyond one perspective, the ability to take action beyond one role and the ability to sincerely care for others beyond one race, gender or religion is how Sri Sri Ravi Shankar transformed my life and inspired me to do the same...

Born in Patiala, Punjab, India. I was brought to the U.S. at one years old and grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. I am the youngest of three children. I attended UCSC. Intuition, inspiration and adventure guided me to DC after college, where I attended The American University for Graduate school and studied Organization Development. I work as a management consultant facilitating organization development, leadership development and diversity programs, as well as love to volunteer with The Art of Living and the International Association for Human Values as an organizer and instructor. I was raised Sikh and therefore Seva or self-less service is a part of life, not an extracurricular activity. My parents live in San Francisco and thanks to Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and The Art of Living Foundation the rest of my family is all over the world.

Beauty lies in Silence, Spirituality and Humanity

When I was seven years old, I read a book on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. which transformed my life. I was struck not only by his love for humanity, but the hatred that existed based on difference. And how such hatred was reinforced in social constructs and institutions. I attended a Roman Catholic school in the Bay Area. During world religion classes in school, I found myself in awe when discovering the similarities among religions and cultures and yet the violence that still occurs among them for similar reasons  that Dr. King's book pointed to when I was a child.  I longed for the wisdom to know how to live with turmoil and simultaneously contribute toward peaceful solutions. I feel lucky that there have been many teachers, many guides who have provided wisdom and insight throughout my life including my own parents.  

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has been the one that I personally have connected with not only in words, but in action--and most often in silence. I remember, he once said, "silence is when the souls speak" and thanks to him, I have really come to enjoy silence while with friends and family. Words are not always the best form of expression.  He has taught me the beauty that lies in silence, spirituality and humanity.

Art of Living - connecting with people all over the world

As you can see, Art of Living has been much more than a "Self-Development", "Stress Management" or "Meditation and Breathing course" for me, it was an avenue to learn more about the richness of various cultures and religions as well as an opportunity to unfold the beauty of spirituality. It is an avenue to connect with people from all over the world, engage in service projects with them and stretch to work with and relate to all kinds of differences, not just background but also difference of opinion :-). That is what makes the service meaningful and challenging to move beyond the difference and into a commonality. I have personally learned much more from people that I could not understand at first and  have sometimes felt more connected to them because I fully came to accept and value the difference they bring.  However, the ability to be more and more open to differences...came from the techniques...

Benefits of Art of Living Techniques in my life

When I sit to do the techniques created by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the whirlwind of thoughts and emotions settle down, and a calmness from within begins to creep forward. What I distinctly remember from the first Art of Living Course I did with Sri Sri was a soft, gentle peace, an effortlessness. It is truly like dipping into a vastness of pure deep rest and emerging refreshed, rejuvenated and inspired to not only experience but enjoy what the world has to offer. The value of these few minutes have been immeasurable.

As a college student, the it provided an avenue to learn more about myself and others. College is a time in one's life when choosing an identity can be a confusing experience - be it your majors or relationship. The technique and knowledge I learned in Art of Living made this transition natural and light.

As a graduate student, it provided a solace to long days of working full time and then going to school full time to pursue goals and still contribute to society in order to take small steps toward financial independence.

As a management consultant for the public sector, business owner, team lead, project manager, conference chair, facilitator, traveling trainer, instructor, daughter, girlfriend, best friend, aunt, sister, niece, and all the roles I play.. it allows me the space to breathe and bring the fullness of  life to each and every endeavor...

Awareness and conscious choice

The greatest impact has been an elevation of inward awareness to deliberately and consciously choose...that is true empowerment...because one can only choose when one has the awareness of a choice. And without consciously choosing, there is always room for regret.  Choosing to be happy even in tough times, choosing to listen to oneself more than the opinions of others, choosing to let go and see the world as it is rather than as you want it to be, choosing to see things from more than one perspective...these are all powerful choices and to make them intellectually is much different than to feel them from your core being.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is someone who chooses to act with human values, who chooses to connect with anyone no matter their background, who chooses to respond to humanitarian needs and crises instead of wait around and who chooses to unveil the potential of others by raising an inward awareness all while bearing an undying smile that speaks to the joy emerging from his very being.

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