“Be the change” was always the motto of Dixon’s life. With a Masters degree in social work, he began as a counselor for HIV/AIDS patients and now contributes towards positive and sustainable development in the grassroots of North-Eastern India.
“I envision a beautiful, stress-free North-East,” says Dixon, (a Manipuri himself) who is involved in training rural youth to be community leaders, transforming militants and helping provide opportunities for education and employment in some of India’s poorest districts, along with teaching the Art of Living programs in the region.
“There was always this emptiness inside me, and I used to constantly ask myself if this was all there was to life. I alsohad this inexplicable panic inside me along with a phobia of hard work. But all that disappeared after I did the course in 2004. I spent four months with militants in the Art of Living ashram at Pune and at the end of those four months, all fear was gone.”
Dixon has worked in places like Bishnupur, where he has helped build a free school for rural children, started an embroidery centre with over 20 women, conducted Youth Leadership Training Programs (YLTP). He has worked on rehabilitation of those affected by substance abuse related issues by creating centers for them in Imphal. He also reaches out to militants, and is now working to change the lives of members of the Assam rifles.
“Initially, it was just myself starting chapters of the foundation in some of India’s poorest regions. But slowly, more and more teachers are coming up.We are also planning to begin organic farming in places like Bishnupur, so that they can become a model for development for the other regions.”
Dixon believes that no real transformation can happen without spirituality. “Spirituality is purification, be it material or metaphysical. It has made me centered and strong. It is only when the system is free of stress that knowledge dawns. Only spiritual practices can provide the strength and confidence to bring about positive transformation in society.Like Guruji, I believe in having an everlasting smile on my face, no matter what the situation is like. “
The key to what makes him an effective tool for transformation is the question that he constantly asks himself, “How can I be useful to you?”
“No matter how much we plan, the ground reality is chaotic. So I always try to make myself available for volunteer work whenever it is needed.”
He says his journey has been so interesting that it drives his goals out of his mind. There have been many special moments along the way.
“When I was in college, I used to play the guitar. But once I got into the foundation, I completely stopped playing. One day I was teaching an YLTP course on a hilltop school in Arunachal Pradesh when Isuddenly realized that I had to lead satsang sessions for the enthusiastic youngsters as part of the course. I looked around and saw a broken guitar lying in a corner. I picked it up and started playing. The satsangs turned out so well that I have now bought a guitar. I’m so grateful that the Art of Living has given me back my music.”
And for Dixon, playing for people is the best way to share his music.
Writer: Harshini Vakkalanka, Graphics: Gurudatt Anveker