On Thursday January 19th 2012, we had the very first ‘Introduction to Art of Living' session facilitated at Austin Recovery's Buda campus. About 20 people (a good mix of youth to senior citizens) undergoing rehabilitation from Alcohol/Drug addiction participated in the 1 hour session and reported immense stress relief.
A game of 'Seven Up' served as a perfect ice-breaker, it was followed by a couple of simple breathing techniques and a few minutes of meditation, during which the participants experienced a state of joy. The highly interactive session that followed the meditation involved participants bringing out the knowledge about the natural tendencies of the mind (chewing on negativity via thoughts about regrettable experiences from the past and thoughts about future anxiety), the 4 sources of life energy and descriptions of various experiences of 'present moment awareness'.
Towards the end of the session, most participants shared that they felt very relaxed with a feeling of lightness within and higher energy level. One of the participants shared that he felt bliss rising from within and another participant brought out the knowledge that if joy is felt from within utilizing these simple techniques and there is no point in seeking it through attachments to external means (alcohol/drugs).
The snapshot of innocence, so palpable through the sharing, and the inner beauty, so palpable through the smiles around, was a sight to behold and will stay in my memory for a long time.
The sketch below was drawn by one of the rehab program participants, which beautifully conveys the crossing the barrier of despair and the kindling of human values.
At the end of the session, the participants recommended Austin Recovery's staff members to schedule an ‘Introduction to Art of Living' session every Thursday to help with their rehab. One participant who was spending his last day on the rehabilitation program promised to seek special permission from the staff in order to allow him to attend next week's session.