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Archive for March, 2011

AOLfree

I could not help but read more comments on the blog I found against Art of Living, and found them very amusing. People who became AOL teachers had a bad experience physically by doing the Sudarshan Kriya. That maybe true. However, most of the people who complain come across as morons. Here is why. AOL claims that Kriya can cure AIDS, Sri Sri Ravi Shanker (the founder of AOL) is actually God and that he has healing powers, Sri Sri can fix anything, etc. Why in the hell would one believe these claims? Are people so naive and desperate to believe?

In one of my AOL sessions, we watched a video of Q&A with Sri Sri. One of the questions was by an American woman who was religious and a Christian. She asked Sri Sri whether it is okay to believe in him as God since she has seen him and he brought her peace. If so, would that make her a bad Christian. I found that question to be so stupid. As I said in my previous write-up about AOL, you have to take the good and leave the bad. I have found the beauty of meditation, and every morning I start my day peacefully because of it.

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I came across an interesting blog citing negative effects of Sudarshan Kriya, a breathing technique, which forms the basic foundation of the Art of Living. I started attending Art of Living courses to de-stress and have more peaceful moments in my life. I find the fact that teachers are volunteers and not paid, very compelling. My teachers had full-time jobs and are regular volunteers at the center.

Is the Art of Living good or bad? Are the long term effects negative? It is too early to tell for me. I do not practice Kriya everyday, but plan to. I attend the one at the center weekly, and it washes away the stresses of the week. Kriya is a type of controlled hyperventilation; research in this blog indicates that any type of hyperventilation is bad – that maybe true. But is it really worse than what we take into our bodies every single day? I don’t smoke, but every time I walk in the city, people smoke and I take in so much second-hand smoke. People even smoke in the park!!! Not to mention air pollution. Is controlled hyperventilation that brings a moment of peace and rest really that bad then?

Doing Art of Silence introduced me to meditation, and I am addicted to it! Everyday I meditate twice – I may not do Kriya, but I make it a point to meditate. Another benefit is that I started having milk and cereal (lol). I hate plain milk in general. The breakfast in this course consisted of “Go Lean Crunch” cereal with milk, and I found a cereal that I can actually like with milk.

Meditation really takes me to a zen place. I learned to block thoughts from my mind, relax every part of my body completely, and attain a level of peace. I meditate every morning and evening after work but before dinner. I enjoy and look forward to it now. Having such brief moments of peace is amazing! It took me a while to learn to dissociate from my thoughts – they come and go. I have been experimenting with various types of meditation such as Reiki and Mindfulness. Reiki is quite good as well, and mindfulness is something I am still trying to learn. Meditation is simple though. All you require is to practice daily till you learn to not get affected by thoughts and relax completely. In Part 2 (Art of Silence), we were made to meditate long hours and practice a lot, so I got the technique. But regular daily practice at the times recommended by the teacher is what brought me to a peaceful state, and I am finding myself becoming more positive and happier about life in general.

Even though there maybe so much negativity surrounding Art of Living, you really have to take the good and leave the bad. This is not a quick-fix, and in every course I took, we were asked to leave our expectations at the door. In Part 2, we were asked to write our problems on a piece of paper and drop it in a common basket with the belief that they will go away. Obviously common sense entails that it is not possible, so I did not write anything. We had to follow a specific technique that I found ridiculously stupid and could not do it. It was a way of getting people outside their comfort zone, and a lot of people in my class found it liberating. I thought it was silly. Any new learning requires using some common sense rather than following it blindly.

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