Sunday, October 3, 2010

Shalin Desai Art of Living Experience

Art of Living Course Teacher, Sahaj Samadhi Meditation Teacher

I was born in Baroda, India and am now living in Indianapolis with my wife, working in supplier management for a Fortune 200 company. In the years since I have been in the Art of Living, I have had the opportunity of traveling and spending time with Sri Sri on a number of occasions. Those moments have been the best moments of my life.

Path to unbridled joy and love

I did my first Art of Living course when I was 17 years old, in my high school. Just a year ago, my mother had gotten into severe depression and the same person who was always bubbling with enthusiasm suddenly seemed to have lost the drive in her life (which eventually affected the whole family as well). Completely helpless looking at my mom’s situation, I used to pray to God to get my mom out of this. We had consulted many doctors, but it kept on getting worse. Later I figured out most of the medications were treating just the symptoms, not the actual disease. Then my mom’s sister got her into doing the “Art of Living” course, which she insisted would kick the depression out of her. And that’s EXACTLY what happened!!!! Within few months, she was completely out of it and there was a new zest for life in her.

Seeing this amazing transformation, I and my brother also ended up in the Art of Living course soon. I just loved the course and started practicing my breathing exercises everyday as I saw a noticeable change in my concentration and focus. Then Sri Sri had come to a neighboring town and there were lots of people going from my town to see him there. I had heard about him a lot and also decided to join the troupe. It was love at first sight. There was something in his presence that just made me feel so much at home and the word “Unconditional Love” didn’t remain an intellectual concept anymore, it became an experience. During my next trip to see Sri Sri, he asked me what I was doing in my life and told me to become an Art of Living Teacher after completing studies. I was still 19 years old and at that time it seemed very “cool”. But now, after years of teaching the Art of Living course, I realize the incredible value of this. It is in fact an honor to be an instructor for the Art of Living Course and to be part of such a noble cause.

How miracles became a part of life!

I have always been happy with my life, but the Art of Living added a new dimension to it. Suddenly, life became a celebration; at the same time adding depth to my life. After pursuing my bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering, I moved to the US to pursue further studies. I completed my studies and promptly did my teachers training course. Life was good, but it became even better now!!!! Many “coincidences” started happening in life. At first they seemed like “coincidences”, but then I realized that there is much more than what meets the eye. Like when I wanted to go for my Teachers Training Course. That year, over the thanksgiving weekend, I really had this desire for going for my training course happening in the Canadian Ashram over the December end – January beginning time frame. I had no vacation left (in fact I was already one week over the permitted vacation time that year), we had a very important launch at work early next year, so all of us were asked to work through the Christmas break. Suddenly, out of the nowhere next Monday, my boss asks me go to India to take care of some business in early January and he nonchalantly tells me “Hey Shalin, why don’t you take two weeks off and spend some time with your family in India”. Those two weeks were the exact two weeks of my Teacher Training Course. He even offered to buy two economy class tickets to India instead of a business class ticket, so my wife could also accompany me!!!

Sri Sri – the guiding Light

What has inspired me about this path is that it is full of celebration. The highest knowledge is given in such a simple form that any layman can understand. He gives such profound knowledge, yet has a child-like innocence.

As part of my work, once, I had to travel to 4 countries (with 4 different time zones) in 3 weeks without any break. After these three grueling weeks, I had to take some time off just to recuperate. It is mind boggling to see how Guruji does that throughout the year, day-after-day and has been doing this for years. I don’t understand how it would be humanely possible. Yet, he is always smiling and wherever he goes, people’s faces light up with a smile. I often tell people that every business school in the world should study Sri Sri. How one man’s vision can inspire millions of people around the world is just prodigious.

I had traveled with him to Mexico few years ago and spent practically the whole time with him during the trip. My wife thinks I am a workaholic, but I was amazed and astonished by the number of things Guruji would accomplish in a single day. Here is a man addressing emails from more than 100 countries, radio and TV interviews, public talk, meeting course graduates, board members, dictating an article for a newspaper, etc. And all this with a smile…not an iota of tension. It was like a dance flowing from one action to another. He could relate to Mexicans who are completely alien to Indian culture, many of them not being even able to understand English, because he spoke the language of the heart. In between all this, he would take care of those who would be travelling with him and ask if we were doing fine, if we were comfortable in our rooms, etc. What really touched me was how accepting he is with people coming with all different kind of problems and questions. He exemplifies the point of “Accept the People as they are”. He indeed does!!!

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