Mon, 18 Nov, 2019

Art of Living Program; What I Learned

By Osheen Shrestha

Picture Courtesy: www.artoflivingla.com I had been hearing about the program 'Art of living' since my first semester at DWIT. When I heard about this program for the first time, I had a sensation that this program would be really beneficial to me. However, with my busy schedule, I never had the time to participate in this program until the Board Exam preparation leave in my third semester. The program started on 25th April at 3 pm in Mitrapark. It was a 6-day program with 3 hours per day. First Day I was late on the very first day. When I got inside the hall, everyone was doing some sort of movement. Without much hesitation, I joined them straight away. I was instructed to do some of the meditation with my eyes closed. The process is called 'three stage Pranayam'. After 15 minutes, I opened my eyes and I saw a short man with long hair and beard sitting on the chair. His voice was polite and peaceful. He was our Guru Ji. The rest of the class was conducted by him where we did different activities such as play games, meditate, and listen to the discourse. The class started with an activity where we have to hold each other's hand. We introduced our name and said to each other, “I belong to you”. I felt awkward saying that. Then, Guru Ji asked us our honest opinion about this activity. One of the participants replied that she felt like family after doing that. Everyone burst into laughter. Guru Ji told us that it was just for fun. The program had a “Knowledge of the Day” for each day. The knowledge for that day was “Live in present”. Guru Ji made us play a game called “Tom and Jerry” to make us realize that true happiness lies in living in the present. This game is played between two partners - one acts as Tom and the other as Jerry. Tom tries to clap using either his hands or feet, and Jerry tries to stop him. Everyone played the game with enthusiasm. I enjoyed the game myself. Guru Ji explained to us that the reason behind our happiness was that we lived in the moment, and that was the key to happiness. Second Day On the second day, the program began with the regular exercises followed by Surya Namaskar (around six times). Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) is the 'Aasan' which helps to boost up creativity within ourselves and also help us to lose weight. Six rounds of Surya Namaskar is said to be equal to a heavy workout done in a gym for 15 minutes. The Surya Namaskar was tiring but we lied down on the floor facing the ceiling which helped us relax to relax our body. Then we got to hear a speech from our Guru Ji. The topic for the day was 'Happiness'. There was a chart paper on display, where it was written: "If …… then, I am happy." We were given the chance to fill it up. Most of the participants wrote words like money, shopping, achievement, success, peace of mind, seeing closed ones happy. But, Guru Ji explained that happiness didn’t lie on materialistic things but living in the present. He explained that if we focused on our present then we will have a cheerful personality and happiness would come easily. After the speech, we did a long meditation for about 45 minutes. It was so long that some of us felt asleep during the meditation. However, after the meditation, I felt some positive changes in my mind. My mind was no longer wandering around with random thoughts but it was in a peaceful state. Then Guru Ji assigned us some homework. We had to make the list of our needs and responsibilities. Third Day Like the previous day, we did some regular exercises and Surya Namaskar. The topic for that day was the topic that we were assigned to think about yesterday. He told us about the needs and responsibilities. If the numbers of needs are higher than our responsibilities then our life would be miserable. But if the number of the responsibilities is higher than our needs then we can have a happy life. The motto of the day was "Don’t see intention behind other's mistake". To explain us the motto we were made to play 7 up game. Every participant was making mistakes. But, even when we were making mistakes we weren’t angry with each other. Guru Ji wanted to tell that mistake just happens. If we start searching intention behind other's mistake we won't be happy. That day, our assignment was to say ‘I love you’ to our parents and to give them a gift. Fourth and Fifth Day Like the previous days, we did our regular exercises and Surya Namaskar. Then, we talked about the importance of our parents. The knowledge of the day was "Accept the situation and people as they are". We shouldn’t judge people or situation. And, if don’t do that, we would find happiness. That day we did "Vajan". I never thought that "Vajan" would be so fun. The fifth day was a regular day except that there was a group discussion for tomorrow's dish. The participants were divided into different groups. We needed to decide the dish and manage everything. The last day On the last day, the program started at 10 am. Since it was the last day, everyone was excited. I could see some new faces around as the morning shift group had also joined. The program started with a game. Although everyone was enjoying the game, I found the game boring. Then, our Lovel Sir took over the class and shared us the knowledge for the day "Don’t be the football of other's opinion". "Why do we dress well?" This was the first question he asked us. According to him, people dress well because they want praise from others. He explained only a weak person does that and we keep on doing things in order to make others happy. The one who is confident enough doesn’t seek praise from other people. They enjoy being themselves. Then we had a cooking competition. Our group decided to make a fruit salad and "Alu Sadheko". On the basis of hygiene, teamwork, and taste, the groups were judged. The participants were given 20 minutes of time. The judges tasted the dishes of different groups. Then we shared our dishes to all other groups. Then we did "Vajan". We clicked some group photos and kept on dancing. At the end of the program, the winner was decided and our group won the competition. The program made me aware about many things that could help to live a happy life. The meditation helped me to overcome my random thoughts. I suggest everyone join this program once in their life.