Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Patti Montella - Art of Living Experience

Senior Full-Time Faculty Member, Denver, Colorado USA

I took the Art of Living Course in 1995 in Boulder, Colorado.  At the time, I was a corporate executive for a major airline.  A client told me about the program.  In ‘95 there was no website, no brochures…just a flyer that said this program was about the breath.  I had recently moved to Colorado to get away from allergy-ridden Texas and to start a new chapter in my life, hoping to leave my career and start my own company.   I had suffered for years from migraine headaches in Texas.  For 2 years, an inner message kept telling me to pay more attention to how I breathe to alleviate the headaches.  So when a flyer about breath work was presented to me I immediately signed up for the course.  Little did I know at the time just how much my life was about to change from this one course.

Sudarshan Kriya Experience

The first night of the course I clearly thought I was in the wrong place.  The friend who brought me even offered to return my money because she also thought it was the wrong course for us both.  But we had paid so I said, let’s just finish it out and see what happens.  Of course the experience of the Sudarshan Kriya as it does for everyone.  It was amazing to witness how much emotional residue is left in our “self” in spite of thinking we have moved on.  A week later I was watching the Patanjali Yoga Sutras and falling in love with the knowledge.

A few months  before I met Guruji  I had a prophetic dream The theme of the dream was  unconditional love.  When  I awoke, I knew my best friend was coming and all I had to do was wait a bit more and he would reveal himself.  That morning I wrote in my journal about the dream and as I put the pen down, I felt confident and secure that secure that my best friend, the person I would dedicate my life to was going to show up…finally! It was clear that he would be a source of the unconditional love I’d been seeking and knew had to exist (but couldn’t find it) throughout my life.  The thing is…I had no idea that this person would arrive in the form of a Guru!

Patanjali Yoga Sutra
Jesus, Krishna and Saints

A few months later I received Guruji  at the  Denver airport, meeting him for the very first time.  He walked right over to me, looked into my eyes for what felt like a very long time without either  of us saying a word. A few minutes later when we were in the car driving him to the course  venue it hit me.  He was the one in the dream! He was the best friend I had waited my whole life to find again. Summing up my courage I told him this.  He threw his head back and laughed. That night I dropped my worries about who to pray to…Jesus, Krishna, the Catholic saints I had read about all my life…I just dropped all conflict in my mind and surrendered to the Divine.  When I told Guruji this the next day he smiled and said, “don’t worry, we compare notes!”.

One year later I met Guruji in Denver, Colorado and within 24hours of meeting he told me I would be a full-time teacher for the Art of Living Foundation.  The next year (1997) I traveled to India for the first time, spent more time with Guruji and in Rishikesh he told me that yes, it was time for me to become a full time teacher.  The following year I walked out of a 20 year corporate career and into life as a spiritual teacher for His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.  I was with Guruji  the very day I left my old life for my new life.  That was in 1998 and my life has been an extraordinary and dynamic stream of experiences under the protection, grace and direct teaching at a personal level from Guruji ever since.

It wasn’t easy at first for me, for the people around me or for the Guru in the early years. I didn’t know a thing about our tradition, Guru’s, India or what I had gotten myself into and I clearly wasn’t anchored in the knowledge just yet!  I wasn’t a regular meditator and was full of  restlessness to “be someone, to do something, to experience a result” as are most of us who are from the world of business especially.

When I first met Guruji and walked out of life as I knew it – my actions were all based purely on a gut feeling that I knew him, I trusted him and that he was here to protect me and teach me as a dear friend and guide.  I’ve been a full time Art of Living teacher now for 13+ years and  never once has he let me down.  When I have been full of doubt, fear, anxiety or uncertainty – this knowledge has helped me to go back to my “self” to see what the truth is for me – and Guruji has always been there to support me in whatever it is I wanted.

Teaching Art of Living - Breath, Meditation, Knowledge and Service

Through Guruji’s ever present grace, protection, love and teachings….over time the hard edges softened, the knowledge took root and the heart blossomed.  Through years of teaching people the world over and sharing this knowledge, breathing, meditating and serving – life has truly become a celebration of dynamic activity combined with infinite patience…which I understand is a recipe for enlightenment!

The next  year I walked out of my  corporate career and into the Art of Living German Ashram as the first USA President of the International Association for Human Values and as an Art of Living teacher.  In fact I had only just finished teacher training a few months before.  The year  was 1998 and still today I travel the world teaching the Art of Living Course, helping to start up new cities, I continue to lead numerous projects of all kinds, meet with thousands and thousands of people from all walks of life in all kinds of environments– and this  extraordinary journey called my life… continues.

Through all of this, Guruji was the only one I knew and trusted and I counted on him to show me the way. When I came to Art of Living.  I didn’t know anything about Guru’s, India, ancient traditions, nor had I even heard of the term enlightenment. I was successful in my career yet it wasn’t fulfilling. I traveled the world in first class and played a lot – but it was short-lived pleasure and over time unfulfilling.  I had done service work most of my life but it was transitory. I wondered if this was all there was to life…make more money, travel more, work hard and then die.  For years I had secretly prayed to God to help me to become the best human being I could be, to show me the way.  When I came to Sri Sri what I knew to be true was simply that the Sudarshan Kriya had transformed my life , that I belonged to Guruji, that he was the “real deal” and that this path was an opportunity to transform myself to finally become that best human being on earth that I could be.  It was an answer to a prayer and so what if it came in the form of a Guru from India? This made the experience all the richer! So I  closed my eyes and jumped into this life and while it has had its advantages and disadvantages over the years like anything does  - it has offered me the most fulfilling, interesting, dynamic and purposeful path one could every wish for – all the time filled with love and peace with the protection of Guruji  who cares for each and everyone one of us 1,000x more than  we could ever imagine.

Guruji  is so very wise,  funny, regal, playful, brilliant, mystical, compassionate, caring, available to everyone, inclusive to all and oh so universal.  He walks his talk and leads with grace, vision peace and enthusiastic dynamism full of creativity and caring for each and every person who comes his way.  He is a role model for how to a full, purposeful and passionate life of selfless service based in divinity and human values.

Through his love and guidance I wove my way through this new world as a spiritual teacher, and I continue to today to keep my commitment to uplifting the world, to rising above life’s challenges and to apply  the wisdom of his teachings in each and every moment so as to let go of any negativity or action that does not support a sense of belonging, love and peace with myself and others.

I have been blessed to be trained and coached directly under Sri Sri all these years and like they say, “he is the gift that keeps on giving”.  I have seen Guruji be of service to others with infinite patience, love and concern countless times putting aside his own personal needs. He is the rare individual who authentically cares for the world.  He has given up any sense of a personal  life or anything  at all that falls under the category of “I” – so as to be used fully and completely for the upliftment of humanity. Sri Sri is an amazing mentor, teacher, Guru and friend !

It is my absolute blessing in life to follow in his footstep.  Sometimes I trip,  sometimes I fall, but always - - through his love, friendship and support and the incredible wisdom and techniques he has given us so freely– I always get up stronger, more confident, more empowered, wiser and happier.

It is because of Guruji ‘s love and patience as a teacher…watching and learning from him, that I  have  been able to continue to dedicate my life to this path of divinity and the upliftment of humanity as he does day in and out.   My sincere hope and all that I continue to strive for is to share this knowledge with millions and millions of more people the world over so that they too can experience life with the  ultimate freedom I have been blessed with….through Guruji’s unending love and support.


  1. my personal blog has changed its name. please update your link to this one. it is: http://thetravelingmystic.blogspot.com/

    thanks, patti montella


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