I was going through a very rough patch in my life. I’d just lost my father to cancer and my relationship with my boyfriend was also ending. I was in bad shape, really bad shape. I wasn’t sleeping well and I felt reluctant to get out of bed every morning. I went to my doctor and became one of the millions dependent on anti-depressants.
This was my existence until the summer of 1999. A friend of mine had taken this “Art of Living” course and he insisted that I do it too. After months of pestering, I decided that I would take the course only to see what sort of cult he had gotten himself into. I decided that my last act as his friend would be to see what sort of de-programming he would need.
The first session of the program we learned a strange thing called, “Pranayama.” It was more than foreign to me, but it seemed harmless enough so I participated. That night when I got home, I slept better than I had in at least ten years. So I decided to show up for the next session.
Then we did this breathing technique called Sudarshan Kriya. I found it very difficult to do. I peeked at what was going on around in the room, basically minding everyone else’s business. But even though I had my eyes open most of the time, not keeping the rhythm, I still felt really good afterwards. Someone made some funny noise in the room and that was it. We laughed for what seemed like an hour. That afternoon I did many things in which I had not done in years. I felt energised as well as a sense of peacefulness I had never felt before. Most importantly I slept the deepest I had in years.
Next day we again did the Sudarshan Kriya. But this time I decided that I would keep my eyes closed and see what happens. It seemed so much easier this time. I felt extraordinarily different when I opened my eyes. I noticed the sky through the open window, and it was as if it were the very first time I had seen the sky in my life! Then I looked around the room and for the first time, made real eye contact with anyone in I don’t know how long. Their eyes were so bright, so beautiful. I felt like I just fell in love with each and every one of them.
Shortly after practising the Sudarshan Kriya I was able to stop taking anti-depressants. This was just the beginning. From that very moment in which I opened my eyes after the second Sudarshan Kriya, I realised that the entire fabric of my life had changed and I began LIVING again!!! Smiles returned to my face. Kindness and warmth began to radiate from my heart to others. My entire life began to transform from one of bitterness and sadness to one of richness and beauty. I began experiencing more beauty and love than I had ever experienced before. The purpose of my life became clear and a contentment I had never known came.
I have no words to accurately capture the magnitude of the gratitude I feel for Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.