A great deal of living is found in giving.

IHAV

 

Art of Living

After a journey of self-discovery, I was more than happy to witness establishing the International Association for Human Values (IAHV) in Jordan After a journey of self-discovery, I was more than happy to witness establishing the International Association for Human Values (IAHV) in Jordan, a sister NGO of the Art of Living founded by my Guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. Choosing Jordan for the location of the center was ideal since Jordan maintains a high level of stability, and it is centered and close to neighboring countries, therefore it is easier to work from that location and reach to women to support and empower in the Arab world. IAHV focuses on special programs and training that help women become independent, successful and empowered. It fosters the daily practice of human values – a sense of connectedness and respect for all people and the natural environment, an attitude of non-violence, and an ethic of social service. The programs enhance clarity of mind, shift attitudes and behaviors, and develop leaders and communities that are resilient, responsible, and inspired. The project’s programs include stress release and resilience workshops, trauma-relief, healing resilience, and human values training, youth anti-violence and peace ambassadors training, and training in personal resilience, stress management, and professional self-care.

“Self-discovery is a never-ending process. Yet it is one through which we become more conscious, more compassionate, more understanding, and more enlightened”

2005 has been a turning point in my life. It was when I have discovered the road to a peaceful mind, which is something definitely attainable through the act of meditation. Joining the Art of Living was an incident that initiated my journey to self-discovery. The first breathing course I attended has changed my whole perception of the world; a world I once understood and related to through numbers only.

Five days later, my world has transformed into a life full of feelings. I realized that the true beauty of life lies within the smallest details we often tend to neglect. As it is the ability of words to acquire new meanings when put in different contexts, my life, soul, and self, have been through this exact process. The deeper I delved the more I discovered the secrets of life. It reminded me of the discoveries and the beauty I’ve seen when diving deep into the ocean while scuba diving. The deeper I go, the more I see, the more beauty I encounter, and the more I learn.

The Art of Living showed me another ocean to dive into; the ocean of the self. This has certainly broadened my horizons and made me a believer in “learning breeding learning”. I met my personal life coach at the time, Robin Sharma, the one from whom I’ve gained extensive lessons. I also attended all the Jack Canfield workshops and courses where I continued to dig deeper within myself. However, it was only when I met my Guru Sri Sri, founder of the Art of Living, that I recognized there is still much more to learn. Sri Sri, also known as Guruji, can stand as one of the greatest role models one can gain extensive lessons from. He has dedicated his whole life to helping others, and thus he is helping in making the world a better place to live in. He has steered my mind towards a different direction. I experienced a sudden insight and a moment of realization when I started to question things like the very purpose of our existence; why am I here? What is hindering my progress? How can I free myself from old habits? How can I broaden my horizons to achieve my newly found goal, my newly found understanding, and my passion for life? Until today, Guruji has a profound influence on my life. Through his remarkable vision, I realized the joy of giving; the more you give, the more you find yourself. Giving truly from the heart can nourish one’s soul. My journey has not been smooth traveling all the way, but it has been tremendously rewarding. During this journey, I have discovered the five “selves” that have accompanied me during my life and that will still accompany me for the rest of it. The first one is SELF-RESPECT: I used to think that respect is a reciprocal process; we respect others and thus gain their respect in return.

However, my understanding of respect has gone beyond this conventional definition, for the true meaning of respect is that of respecting the God within us; respecting our true self is to speak not the ego or the conscious mind, but the true self, and to find the silence within ourselves. The second self is SELF-AWARENESS: I have also developed a wider definition of awareness: it’s no longer limited to one’s feelings and thoughts but goes further to recognizing the awareness of one’s energy. It’s important to realize your own energy before trying to read someone else’s. The haze around you should be recognized and cleared. It is about being aware of our mind and why it moves from one place to the other as well as being aware of the impact others may have on us. Always remember that the journey isn't so much about finding answers to all these questions; It is about being aware of what surrounds us and enjoying the mysterious side of life itself. And then comes SELF-DEVELOPMENT: life is full of hurdles we need to cross or else we will stay stagnant in one place.

This is a life-long process that demands a great deal of efforts. Personal development can help you to set goals and reach your full potential. The fourth is SELF-CARE: It takes a little bit of attention to self-care in order to feel more connected to yourself and to the world. Always make sure you are at optimum, emotionally and physically. Our body is a precious gift from God and therefore we should treat it with care, along with our soul which is the bulb that lightens our body, and therefore should be fed and nourished in order to live. And finally, SELF-BELIEF; which is believing in all the above-mentioned selves’ beliefs. After all, believing in our senses is believing in our values. Our values are never given; we create and adopt them. Always be careful when defining your own values for they determine what is truly important to you. They guide us as independent individuals who are defined by their own actions, not just as a result of what we were taught as kids. This journey is a never-ending adventure of learning, and life is a succession of lessons; the more I live the more I know, influence, and teach. Throughout the course, I made sure that my participants understand comprehensively the major roles the art of living focuses on; and these are: focusing on the now and not to be lost and caught up between yesterday and tomorrow. Be grateful and satisfied for what you have because true happiness is in enjoying the present. The lack of acceptance and satisfaction is generated from comparing things to the past or caring too much about your future, this will hinder you from living life to the fullest. Therefore, it is a must that you focus on the now, and not to miss the moment. Besides, you should accept others for who they are and who they are not. Simply put: let people be! Always remember, after darkness comes light. Bad things must happen in life so that we can appreciate the good ones. Another important aspect of the Art of Living courses is the focus on teaching participants the art of breathing. We are so unaware of our breathing because we take it for granted as something that will happen automatically. Yet, the art of breathing is a kind of art that helps the body rid itself of stress. Each breath travels to every part of our body. It is one of our utmost important possessions, and without it, we will cease to exist. Furthermore, I teach my participants how to relax their bodies and minds through the art of meditation. It’s a deep relaxation method that stills your mind and stops the constant chatter in your head. One of the most interesting things I’ve also learned is how to spend ten days in silence through the Art of Living advanced course. It cools the system down and allows the body and mind to rest and relax. Life moves at such a fast pace that it seems to pass us by before we can enjoy it. These courses will enable us to rebel against the hectic lifestyle, focus on the important things in life and enjoy the now. Most importantly I have stopped taking things for granted. I learned how to be appreciative and grateful for everything I have, no matter how small it was. Every morning when I wake up I write ten things that I am grateful for, which jump-starts the day on the right track and proceeds to be a day full of positivity. With more awareness and understanding I realized that happiness is not about having all you want, it is not even about the “you” itself, rather, true happiness is achieved through giving, not to buy or have, but to GIVE. Giving gives us a better feeling towards ourselves, strengthens our connections, and builds a better society for everyone