Monday, September 13, 2010

Deepali Patel, Art of Living Experience

Growing up was an easy job. I had parents who gave me the freedom to chose my career, my life, my decisions and always supported me even if they were not always okay with what I had decided to do and at the same time inculcated me with deep values.

From the time I started my college I was very clear what I wanted to became : a successful career woman. I graduated with a Bachelors degree from HR College of Commerce and then went to France for a period of three years. I studied the French language at the Sorbonne and went on to do my higher studies at Universitéde Dauphine . Coming back to India I worked at the commercial section of the French consulate and then moved on to the International Sales and Marketing Department of the Taj Group of Hotels.

Art of Living - To serve the planet, society and humankind

As by nature, I am always passionate about what I do, I was completely absorbed by my job, enjoying the traveling, meeting new people and sure that I would climb the corporate ladder. However after a few years down the line, I started feeling a sense of void in my life that I could not fill.

The work, the traveling, the partying, nothing could fill this empty space. I felt that life was going by and I was just looking at it instead of participating in it. I kept asking myself what is the purpose of my life. Even if I made it big in the corporate world, even if I made a lot of money, married, got children… So what ! It was nothing. I wanted to do something, give of myself to this planet, to society, to humankind but I just did not know how. That is when I heard of the Art of Living course.

There are no coincidences in this world. After attending the course, I found a drastic change in my entire perception of the world. I met the founder His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and was introduced to the social work that the organisation does in over 150 countries. Immediately it struck a cord.

I still remember that day when I went to H.H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and told Him that I wanted to do something, anything in my capacity to help. I gave up my job and under went the Teachers Training Course phase 1 and 2. I became an instructor with the Art of Living Foundation. From that day, I have not looked back. Being bilingual, I travel mainly to French speaking countries in Africa and Europe.

Amazing transformation in Ivory Coast and Cameroon by Art of Living

One of my best memories are in the rural villages of Ivory Coast and Cameroon. In Ivory Coast, Sri Sri sent me to put into place Conflict Resolution Programs. The country has been in war since 1999, there is no government in place and the country is split in to. Philippe Torella (a local Art of Living Teacher) and myself went to many of the rebel zones. Even the local Ivorians were taken back and advised us against it.

Once we went there, it was like magic. The people there had been so traumatised by the war. Almost everyone had lost at least one family member, had there houses looted over and over again, seen dead bodies strewn been eaten by dogs. Due to all this exposure, many had taken to alcohol to forget bad memories, became insomniac, lost all hope in life. We conducted programs for over 100 youth in these areas. Once they were relieved of their trauma, there was no stopping them.

Not only did they decide to take responsibility for their lives but also of all those surrounding them, which is the aim of the program. They cleaned up the market place, built roads, dug gutters, repaired the village orphanage, cleaned the local hospital… The entire village was surprised. All this for no money ! this was unheard of especially in a society that was so closed up after the war. One of the most beautiful instances I remember is when the youth of one tribe rebuilt the houses of the rival tribe (that they had thrown out of the village after living together for years) and invited them once again to live in harmony in the same village.

Love, Peace and Happiness

It was so touching to see the enthusiastic faces of these youth as they made peace with each other. That is when I realised that life is really very simple. It is just the human mind that is complicated. After all, we all belong to the same human race irrespective of our religion, nationality, colour, gender. Every human being is looking for the same thing – love, peace, happiness. The purpose of all our actions is to be happy and at peace. Once we recognise this, we can see the spirit that imbibes the human race and we can resolve all conflict and live as a true One World Family.

Life has never been the same since I met His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. He has inspired me to go beyond my limits and reach for the impossible. By teaching me to only see what I can give instead of what I can get, I have became the richest person on this world….

1 comment:

Comments are moderated to keep the conversation civil and respectful. Thank You.