A widely-traveled Art of Living teacher for Yes!+ courses, Dinesh Ghodke is a household name in several countries and a youth icon for many. On the occasion of The World Youth Day on 12 Jan, 2013, we bring you Dinesh’s practical solutions to some of the most common challenges faced by the young population today.
Dinesh Ghodke’s one-line message to the youth: Live the life you want to live, rather than the one you have to live. Ask him how and he says – “With yoga and meditation!”
We chose a sample group of 20 people and asked them to list out at least top five issues that they are struggling with at present. The responses collected were interesting. We then presented these youth challenges to Dinesh Ghodke, whose answers to them were even more interesting. Read on to find out. The star rating shown against each issue represents the number of votes given by the youth to every challenge.
Issue #1: I can’t help getting anxious (and anxiety doesn’t help me either!)
Dinesh Ghodke: Anxiety happens because the mind tends to get caught up in the future. Yoga and meditation bring the mind to the present. So, you can have your goals, hopes and ambitions and yet come back to the ‘now’ and act creatively and productively so that you can reach where you want to. Then, you can act 100% in the present moment and there is no room for doubts or anxiety.
Anxiety also happens because there are doubts about our own capabilities - whether it’s relationships, studies, career, anything. Yoga and meditation give you the faith and confidence in yourself.
An English proverb says, “Fortune favors the brave”. Indian scriptures complete the truth with “Fortune favors the brave and the hardworking”. Yoga and meditation make you both. Further, the faith that only whatever is right will happen starts developing in you. You have to practice yoga and see for yourself how all this happens.
Issue #2: Parents, lover, spouse – relationships are so complicated, man!
Dinesh Ghodke: How you feel inside is how you feel outside. Yoga and meditation give you that high, they raise your prana shakti (life force energy). Let’s put it this way: If you have a headache or if your girlfriend shouted at you and a beggar comes to you, what would be your reaction? You would shoo him away, right?
On the contrary, if you are happy that someone has complimented you or you have scored fantastic marks in your exams or got a raise in your office and then a beggar comes, you would at least think for him, “I must do something”. So what is the difference here? Your level of energy, your state of mind determines how you react to a situation or a person, which is what inter-personal relationships are all about.
And how you keep this energy in you high is through meditation. Don’t you give time to everything else during the day - eating, sleeping, taking a shower? Same way, meditate everyday for a few minutes and see how your relationships transform.
Issue #3: What would my friends say if I do this?
Dinesh Ghodke: Sabse bada rog, kya kahenge log (thinking about what would people say is the biggest disease!) This is very effectively handled at the Art of Living Yes!+ program. The mind has this tendency. Before we start anything, we keep thinking, “What would my friends think, what would my parents think, what would the society think, what would the world think?” We live in imaginary fears and feelings.
It’s a fact that 90% of the things we should be doing, we don’t do them because nobody else is, and 90% of the things we should not be doing, we do them because everybody else is.
Again, spiritual practices and self-knowledge give you the inner strength to have your own opinions, at the same time, they do not make you arrogant such that you don’t listen to anyone else. There is a fine line.
Issue #4: My dad has complaints because I’m utterly lazy!
Dinesh Ghodke: Laziness is just Tamas (one of the three gunas or qualities of nature) taking over. Tamas starts to show with laziness, goes on to procrastination, doubts and disinterest in life (even with the things that you love doing), which progresses further into depression and suicidal tendencies.
The other guna is Rajas which manifests as restlessness, then increases to too many thoughts and confusion, no clarity about the future, leading to an inability to make a decision or choice. If not contained at this point, it goes on to frustration, anger and violence.
If you see, today’s society is polarized between these two gunas. On the one hand, there are suicidal and depression tendencies in people. The WHO predicts that by 2020, depression would be the biggest killer on the planet. On the other hand, there is so much aggression and violence, domestic or societal.
This is where yoga and meditation, knowledge about our mind and life helps. They guide the youth to channel their prana energy properly. Then, Tamas and Rajas don’t affect you adversely and you sustain in Sattva (purity). You naturally become a good human being, a good brother or sister, leader and a good citizen of the country.
Issue #5: I can’t focus on studies. Too many distractions
Dinesh Ghodke: A decade ago, we would say, “I don’t want to do this”. Nowadays, more and more youngsters are saying, “I can’t do it”. Some people think that it is a waste of time to sit with your eyes closed (meditate). But, it is like you have a cell phone and you need a couple of hours to charge it. Similarly, you need to unplug yourself from time to time. Also, if you have to construct a building, you have to dig deeper, you set the foundation. The same way, with meditation, you go within, dig deeper into yourself and set the foundation for a better you.
I don’t want” is more powerful than “I can’t”. And how can we shift from “I don’t want to or I can’t” to “Yes, I can?”
Meditation teaches you the knowledge of the mind and that you can do all those things (that distract you) and still reach where you want to. So, you don’t get distracted from your goals.
Yoga and meditation are not anti-fun, anti-money, anti-fame or anti-fashion. They simply aid you in doing all that you are required to do or want to do and yet, be an ethical person and contribute to people around, be liked and be popular, be adored and respected by all.
Meditation gives you the bigger vision to do something for yourself and for the nation. It makes us see beyond the tip of our noses to the reality around us. Once we integrate yoga and meditation in our daily lives, we will be able to handle our personal issues much better – emotional, mental and physical. Then, we automatically feel within us the energy and enthusiasm to do something for others.
By Pritika Nair