Thursday, October 22, 2009

Making a difference....

This is a letter from Antoine, a YES!+ Teacher from Montreal. This is why I say Being an Art of Living Teacher/Volunteer gives me 100% job satisfaction....Read on...Antoine sends a letter of the experience...

Thank you for your amazing guidance on the phone yesterday. Everything you told me about creating a family, doing Puja, being their spiritual guide…it felt nice but I had no idea how to make it happen! It turns out I didn’t have to do anything, it just all happened effortlessly and spontaneously on its own.

Yesterday night when I returned home after Day 1 of the course, I sat with my 2 hosts Emma age 24 and Jessica age 22. Jessica is addicted to pot and Emma is an alcoholic. I told them I wanted them to become completely drug and alcohol free. Not just for the 6 days of the course but for life. I spoke to them about how drugs and alcohol was destroying their community and said: “It’s better to put liquor in the garbage than to put garbage in your body. Are you ready to throw it away?”

The analogy was too good; Jessica got up, opened the fridge, and gave me her last beer can. She said:
“Here you go, I don’t want this anymore.”
I asked her to bring me whatever pot she was smoking as well. She went to her room, brought a plate that had a pipe, rolling paper, and little lump of weed on it.

I turned over to Emma, the 24 year old with the 8 year old daughter. I said: “Your cousin did a brave thing. Is there a bad habit you want to surrender as well?”
She went to the kitchen under the sink and brought me 4 bottles of hard liquor. She was hugging the bottles with such attachment. She couldn’t let go of them. Then she finally gave me 3 of the 4 bottles. The last one, a bottle of Kahlua, was her favourite. She said she wanted to keep that one for her birthday party. I looked at her and said:
“In that case, keep them all, it’s no use.” Before I could hand her back her 3 bottles, she had kissed her Kahlua goodbye and surrendered it to me.
I turned back to Emma and felt she was still hiding something. “You must have a bigger stash of weed somewhere?”
“No this is it.” she replied.
I lovingly told her
“You can’t hide secrets from me. I’m here to take care of you!”
She went back to her room and brought back a large Ziploc bag filled with weed. She looked a little embarrassed as she was revealing her addiction.
She held on to it saying: “This is worth 250$. I can’t throw it away, I already paid for it. I’ll finish smoking this stash and then I promise I won’t buy any more after that”.
I told her “I don’t care about a measly 250$, I’ll give you 250$ if that’s want you’re concerned with. What I care about is your health and your future.”
Jessica and Emma started consulting each other in Inuktitut, their native language. They had come to a consensus: “We promise we won’t smoke it but we can’t give it to you. We rather get our money back by selling it on the streets.”

“What good is that? If you improve your health by destroying the health of others?”
They had to agree, and she handed her bag of weed over to me. I put everything on the kitchen table and said I wouldn’t flush it because it had to come from them. They were both staring at their addictions with such attachment as though they were about to surrender their new born babies. Their breathing was heavy, they were trembling at the thought of having to give it up for good. Emma was holding back some tears. “It’s ok to cry, we are family here” I told her.
She got up, took the liquor and flushed it down the kitchen sink. Her attachment to the poison was so strong, she was sniffing above the sink to imbibe herself with the smell of Baileyes, Rhum and Kahlua one last time as it was going down the drain.
Jessica felt inspired by her cousin’s heroic move. She took her weed, we walked over to the toilet, and she emptied her stash and flushed it. The moment was so intense for them, they were trembling as I hugged them both.
I was proud of them. I told Emma it was the best thing she could have done for her and her daughter. She felt some truth in that, walked over to her room and brought a whole other crate of liquor she had ordered in by ship this summer. “This is all I have left” she said as she surrendered it. “There’s 500$ worth of alcohol in here.” she said. I was really proud of her.

“But what will I do on my birthday if I’m the only sober one?” she asked. I said “This year on your birthday you will not waste yourself. Your birthday should be an occasion to grow in wisdom. You will invite Art of Living people for your birthday and you will have a nice time.” I asked her cousin if she would support her and organize an Art of Living get together for her on her birthday. She agreed as Emma started pouring her alcohol down the drain more confidently this time, three bottles at a time. She felt so relieved.
Jessica noticed her cousin’s relief and walked back to her room to bring another bag, this time filled with magic mushrooms. This was her last stash. She flushed the mushrooms down the toilet saying: “Anyway this stuff is stupid, the only reason it makes you hallucinate is because it makes your brain bleed”. She was sure of herself this time.
Jessica said: “I feel so much lighter now. This house will be drug, cigarette and alcohol free from now on.

I told them:
“I am proud of both of you. Had you sold this stuff on the streets, what kind of role model would you have been? Today you took a stand and became a leader in your community. You are now role models and can inspire others to do the same.” Emma was so touched. It felt as though she had been called a loser by many people in the past. Today someone was calling her a leader.
I warned them that the days ahead would be really hard because the temptation would come back to haunt them and they had to be strong and inspire each other to stay clean. I reassured them I would be there for them.
They really wanted to come out of it for good, but it was apparent that they were not confident they would have the strength to do it. You could tell they were going through a lot of emotions and were both quietly praying for help and strength not knowing where to find it.
So I took out a picture of Guruji, lit a candle, put an asan on the couch, sat on it, and invited them to come closer and sit with me. I told them: “Now, we will sing the most ancient prayer in the world. It brings strength, blessings, and protection to those who hear it.” Just by seeing Guruji’s picture and hearing those few words they immediately felt confident that everything would be fine. I sang the Guru Puja as they sat at my feet holding hands with their eyes closed.
They had tears of gratitude. The moment was so serene; the whole atmosphere in the house had changed. Peace had dawned. They sat in silence for a long time afterwards as we meditated together.

I gave them each a blessing and sent them off to bed telling them to sleep with a blanket of grace.
When I arrived 2 days ago, the vibrations in the house were so intense; I was awake for most of the first night. But last night, everything had shifted; there was finally an atmosphere of calm and peace in the house.
Guruji had done his magic once again, changing people’s lives forever!
Today there are 2 more people who walk on the planet with Guruji in their hearts.
Jai Guru Dev.

ps You can directly write to Antoine, his email id is
Shamelessly cut copied n pasted from Bawa's blog....with his permission :)