Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Art of Living - Part 2 Course

I will be doing my part 2 course in few days and so I thought it would be a good idea to put down my thoughts and apprehensions before I go into the course. I want to re-visit them when I am back and want to see if anything has really changed.

I hear so much from people who have done part 2, about this course and how it has been a life changing experience. But right now I don't expect anything as big as changing my life. I think I am a very level-headed person. Like I always say, I don't get accustomed to any change easily, so I don't see how a 3 day class can be life changing. I am not being negative here, or not supportive of the Art of Living idea but I feel there is very less I may want to change for good right now. I think I am already as good as I can be :)

When I went for the Part 1 course in October of 2008 (last year) I thought it would be a good experience to learn meditation and also get a chance to know what all the hype was about. After I did the part 1, more than me, my husband Navin found a difference in the way I approached everything thereafter. He thinks I have become more passionate and expressive and started enjoying life and worrying less. I don't agree as much but I did realize one thing. All the people who attended the course 1 were from varying backgrounds, had varying lifestyles, talked different languages, followed different religions, some very rich, others barely meeting ends meet, some with big egos and others very friendly.

But when we all sat in that room, we were all humans. We all realized that even though we come from different paths of life, we all were made of the same life elements mind, body, breath and soul. After that I have never had any awkward moment to approach anyone. Money, religion, color, lifestyles, or job positions have never made me think of people differently. I was now able to connect with people easily. I was more passionate about the work I loved and appreciated others without passing judgments.

Now here I am, waiting to learn about part 2. I hear students don't talk for the time the course is going on. Spending even a day without talking scares me. I think it will be boring. I myself don't talk much but doesn't mean I enjoy keeping quiet for days. Interesting I guess!, time will tell.

How will a student ask a question? How will someone indicate they want to use the rest room? Or find the way out to a room? Or ask when is the lunch time? Or share room with others without communicating? May end up being a circus; hope I don't end up being a joker in the circus :)

Part 2 is all about learning about oneself, of dwelling within yourself and getting all questions answered. But seriously, I don't have any questions . I hope I don't learn how big a monster I am or how insane I really am that I end up finding solutions to the insanity. Wish I could meet Navin before I go into this expedition. Who knows, what if he does not recognize me when I am back. You know, like I get transformed into this new person or something! hehe Would be fun... he cracks some PJ (like always) and I don't laugh but instead start teaching him about spirituality and way of life or how to be a good human being? hahaha! that would be a hilarious conversation and I can imagine Navin boiling with anger and regret for not stopping me from taking up the course. I wonder, do they make you sign a disclaimer saying 'We will not be held responsible if you change... or whatever'... Just kidding!
More than Navin, I hope my roommate allows me to stay in the house once I am back!

I am looking forward to go into the part 2 session and sharing my learning once I am back. Stay tuned!

Today...Thursday 2nd April 09
It is strange how things change overnight. I am about to go for the course 2 in couple of hours. But now it is not about curiosity but more of mental peace. I hope I get some peace of mind or learn to keep my cool in tough situations when I come out of the course.
Two days back I got to know that my project at Sears Holdings has ended and I am right now desperately looking for opportunities so that it would allow me to stay back in the US. Otherwise I have to go back to India within a week.
I have been thinking about all this and every time I think about going back to India, it has bothered me. But I just realized that the more you try to run away from it, the more it bothers. But if I think going back is not bad, then there is no pain at all. Be it US or India or anywhere else. All I pray is wherever I end up, I feel at home and peace at mind and happy by heart.

Here I go into the magic course :P Bye for now.

Like a 'Change'?

Does me liking a change, make me a more fun person? If I like the same thing for rest of my life, does it make me less ready to take risks? How does it define my psychology? Well, does it?

Now, by change I mean small things in life, like... what you eat, how you look, what you wear, what you do and so on.

I know just one thing - I don't care! :) I like what I like and I also like that I don't like something. It surprises me at times, to think of certain things I can continue to do forever just the way it has been before or I pick up a taste for something and stick with it without getting bored of it. I feel no one gets habituated to anything like I do.

I was in my office food court the other day for lunch. I looked around every counter to see whats new and making up my mind on what to eat. Every day, most of the counters have something new to offer. I wandered around and then for a moment thought, why am I doing this? I know what I will end up eating anyways.
After a minute of talking to myself, I headed straight to the Deli counter and ordered my favorite Buffalo chicken salad. I have been eating that since the day 1 and even today I order the same thing. One day I forced my self to order a delicious burrito but next day I was back to my buffalo chicken.

I wear the same shoes, use the same purse till they are worn out. Just not my cup of tea to try anything new! Imagine, my husbands name is Navin, meaning new! hehe

If I like something, I will keep it with me forever; it gets difficult to let go of a habit or a taste. Certain things I know is cos of laziness like picking a new purse, or a new hairstyle or trying out a new recipe. Certain things cos if I like something, I am 100% loyal to it. Or may be I don't get bored so easily. But no, I get bored so easily... with everything. Then what is it?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Five people you meet in heaven

Last month I was reading this book called 'Five people you meet in heaven' by Mitch Albom. I am impressed by the way the author narrates the story, you just cannot keep the book down half way through. From reviews across the web, it looks like his other book 'Tuesdays with Morrie' is more appreciated, but this one was good enough for me to like his style of writing. Very simple way of story telling and very simple story.

The story is about an old man named Eddie who dies in an accident and goes to heaven. All life he lives with a sense of bitterness that he was tied down in one place because he had to take care of his parents. If not for this responsibility, he thinks he would have gone away to do better things in life. There are few incidences in his life which take the center stage in the story line. All of the people whom he meets in heaven are people he was connected to while alive and are waiting to tell him a story. A story that tells how their life stories are linked to his. Each tale has a lesson to teach for all of us. I don't want to narrate the story here; Mitch Albom has done a fabulous job in his book. So do read this one if you get a chance.

But I do like to share something interesting about the book. The first of the people in heaven is one guy who Eddie doesn't know. The story around this person is that as a kid Eddie was playing with a ball and he throws it on the road alongside a park. There is a car approaching which barely misses the ball by an inch. Eddie picks the ball and walks back in the park to continue playing with his brother. But the car driver looses control and somewhere down the road meets with an accident resulting in his death.
Lesson, the author says is that we all are connected. Knowingly or unknowingly we cross each others lives; we know the connection with people whom we interact and know how they impact us. But as part of this universe (in Hinduism we call it Brahman) we are all connected. The connection can be a relationship you share with a person, it can be an incidence you may have experienced together, or as part of a community or just that we are all alive.
I was listening to news one day; they were interviewing people who were survivors of the Hudson river plane crash. One of the people said, once they were off the plane everyone hugged and rejoiced and everyone felt connected to each other.
I was in the train traveling back home from downtown. As I was reading the book, I just looked up and saw around. I could not stop thinking what if some mishap happens while I was in the train? A train de-rail? Or some really physched guy had a bad day at work and decides to shoot down people in the train? In that situation may be all the people in the train compartment get together and put down the gun man. May be the people would then feel some kind of bonding between each other! But should an experience like that make me feel that there is a connection?
I looked around now.
I saw some yawning, some reading newspaper, some sitting eyes closed, some talking out loud of their children, some talking of their bosses and some of their boyfriends. Everybody was having yet another day after work. But here I was having a new feeling, a feeling of oneness, that everyone around me are humans and part of the same one being. It was a strange and weird yet a good feeling. I smiled to myself.

Btw, I loved the suspense in the end of the book about the last person Eddie meets. Just as the book ends, you get feel 'Ah! Never expected this. Nice'.

Overall a good read. Most importantly the book has only about 300 pages. I easily get bored to read books, so a quick read is always preferred. And very few books are worth like this one.

Moving Mania

Just realizing how painful all the shifting can be. I am moving to another apartment over the weekend and right now struggling to get things packed.

My house is in such a big mess right now. I have put an Ad on craigs to sell off some of the furniture. I know it is going to be embarrassing even to get strangers home to take away the stuff. Anyway! I don't have much choice right now.

Only thing that is motivating me to give away things and moving from 'my home' is that it means it is going to be yet a new beginning; things to do right from the beginning; get stuff you 'like' and less you 'need'; know a new locality; make new friends and meet more people.

This has not been the first time I am packing and shifting. For some reason, I am the last one to move out of an apartment (be it with roommates or as a family). Each time there have been new challenges and same old chaos.

The first time I was faced with this situation was when I was traveling from Mangalore to NJ. We were 3 gals staying together and obviously being the last one to move meant finding new rommates, move stuff, settling the accounts (which is the worst of all). At the time I felt helpless and had the 'why me' question to God; or whoever was to be blamed! But little did I know that it was just a beginning. One good thing out of that shifting was I met new people while looking for new roommates and was happy that they crossed my life. Also, since I was traveling to the USA for the first time soon after; the excitement killed all the pain.

Next time was when I was going back from NJ to Mangalore. Again, we were 2-3 roommates and I was the chosen one to do the finishing honors. But I was in good company and had friends to support me. Once again, I was going back to India for a planned courtship (well, me and my friend-now my husband had done the planning); I was very excited.

Next was when I moved with roommates after I returned to Mangalore. My roommates moved out; one went to US, other got married. Again, I was left with the pressure of moving and shifting. But soon I was getting married and YET again the excitement pulled me through it.

Navin and I got married and moved in a lovely apartment. We were just married and every moment spent in the new home was worth the effort it took when I had to pack again. Navin was first to leave to travel to US; I did join him shortly but what that meant was, I had to all the cleaning, moving, packing! My sister and friend helped me out. Once again, I was looking forward to a new beginning with my husband in a new country, I was very excited.

And now here I am again. The same situation and yes the same responsibility. It is a different place and different challenge and a different me too. But no excitement to quote this time. But now, the excitement really doesn't matter to get me going.

Btw, last night I went for "Satsang"; the first ever I attended. For those of you like me who never thought Satsang is 'Cool', it is very cool!
I slept like a baby after 2-3 sleepless nights worrying too much about simple things.