Our Volunteer - Japleen

our volunteer - japleenMy visit to rural and tribal schools, run by The Art of Living in north east India, was beyond words. I visited around 30 schools in West – Bengal, Assam and Tripura with our team. If I look back and ponder over how the whole journey of those last 15 days of the year 2009 has been, I would describe it as total. I could actually laugh yesterday, putting all my soul in the laughter, thinking of those days. All was there - I was happy at times, I was sad at times, I was an observer at times, I was stuck in the intellect at times, and I was stuck in my mind at times. But the visit to each school was unique and gave me an opportunity to learn and grow.

I was very excited the moment I came to know I was going to visit the schools. My mind slipped easily to go to its trip of imagination (in whatever little time was available) and I was putting all my effort to bring it back to the present moment. I could somehow control my excitement. However, things were different from my imagination, consisting of moments that moved me, touched me, upset me, made me happy and made me sad as well. The whole journey was not very smooth. It was rough at many times but that added more beauty to the trip. The word I can recall to describe the whole trip, is, COMPLETE. It was total in itself.

People in some of the places, we visited, were facing real difficult situations like flood, terror, no water and no electricity but that neither let their smile go away nor stop them from celebrating. School children, and at some places parents and teachers, participated with full heart and celebrated with us without any good reason to celebrate. The zeal and enthusiasm of people was moving and encouraging. To add to this was the beauty of places, consisting of hills and green thick forests, especially in Tripura and Assam. I could feel an expansion in my consciousness at times and those were the times I experienced peace within myself.

The visit, including the day that I caught train to visit all these schools, was one of the most learning experiences of my life so far. It brought about more peace, patience, acceptance of the present moment and more stability in me. Along with this, one thing I learned was,‘one doesn’t need to be very resourceful or in perfect living conditions of survival to celebrate life and feel happy. When one connects with people and things around, celebration happens’. I still feel the trip hasn’t ended.