Thursday, September 9, 2010

Shikha Grover, Bangalore, India

Art of Living Teacher

Ever since my childhood, I have been a happy go lucky kind of a person. Be it studies, extra curricular activities or being a dream child of parents, I was all that. Breezed through school with flying colours and then college happened. I never had a problem which I couldn't really handle without losing the smile on my face. After college, I chose journalism as a career option and enrolled myself in one of the prestigious institutes in Chandigarh. I thought that life couldn't be better when I found myself being chosen as a trainee as a feature writer for the Times of India. This was when everything started going wrong for me.

Breaking free from the pattern

I got into the company of friends who only lived to shop and pass time until their parents found some rich suitable boy to marry them off. It took no time for me to become just like that. From a girl who had big dreams in life, I became someone who started treating life very casually. The inability to shake myself from these shackles of aimlessness started taking a toll on me. I wanted to break free from the lifeless pattern yet there was a part of me which was enjoying that kind of a lifestyle. My relationships with my parents, friends, sister, and brother began to suffer.

Verge of depression to fountain of pure love

It was at this point that my aunt (an Art of Living teacher) enrolled me into a YES plus workshop. For me, the workshop spelled torture. I was not interested in any self development workshop. For me, I was ‘just fine’ the way I was and no one on this planet could understand the emotional mess I was in. While everybody sat there mesmerized with the knowledge, I was counting each minute for it to end. I didn't want any kind of transformation in my life. On the last day, glad that it was finally over, I went in front of Guruji's(Sri Sri Ravi Shankar) picture and said “Thanks for this stupid workshop. I will never come again.”

That was it. After that I completely forgot about Sri Sri (Guruji) and Sudarshan Kriya. My life didn’t show any sign of improvement. I was almost on the verge of depression. Thinking that a change of place would do me a world of good, I accompanied my aunt to the Art of Living Bangalore Ashram for Navratri (celebration honoring Mother Divine). The ashram was upbeat, brimming with youngsters laughing and full of enthusiasm, but I felt suffocated. I sat for the Art of Silence Course, but participation was the last thing on my mind. I wanted to run away but didn't know where to go. My aunt took me to the place where Guruji was giving darshan to the course participants. Unwillingly, I tagged along. There was a huge crowd waiting to see Him. I do not know how but I managed to squeeze myself into the crowd. Then I saw ‘Him’. A radiant smile on His face, meeting His eager devotees. Every face in the hall had lit up. It was as if a sudden fountain of pure love had opened up. My throat choked and suddenly I found myself crying without any reason. I just couldn't stop myself. It was as if a huge weight was being lifted from my shoulders. I suddenly felt so light, so new, a kind of huge relief. That was it.

The beautiful path led by Sri Sri

It has been 3 years since that day. I have been a full time volunteer with the organisation. Doing seva (service) in the Art of Living Bureau of Communication at the Bangalore Ashram. It has been such a fulfilling journey. I have moved from confusion to clarity, weakness to strength, shyness to confidence, unhappiness to being the reason for others happiness. I am a completely changed person. So many aspects of my personality have blossomed by being on this beautiful path led by Guruji that I sometimes surprise myself. Life has found a beautiful meaning. Seeing Guruji work so tirelessly for humanity makes one feel that ‘Yes, I need to do my bit too’. Guruji has taught me that the most fulfilling experience is when you make yourself available for people. I never knew that carrying a small bag of an unknown person could bring so much happiness in my life.

Life of happiness, fulfillment, joy

It is said that ‘life is a gift that is why they call it the present’. My heartfelt gratitude to Guruji for making my life an abundance of happiness, fulfillment and joy. It is not that there have not been any hardships or bad days in my life, but when dealt with this beautiful knowledge has become a learning for life. As an Art of Living teacher, now, my aim is to add this life to other’s living.

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