I was reminded of this little nugget of experience that I had a couple of years ago while reading this short post today morning.
One afternoon, there was an hour long demo and talk about the "Art of Living" and the "Sudarshan Kriya" at the institute with which I was associated then. By then, I had heard a lot about this stuff. I had seen people going gaga over a particular way of breathing or some such thing. I think my temperament is not one that looks for quick fixes or may be I'm usually happy the way I am, I don't spend time on godmen or godwomen. To avoid getting into a discussion that I don't want to get into at this point, let me stress that I'm not talking about the merits and demerits of various spiritual therapies available these days. I'm not inclined to undergo such therapies, that's all.
In any case, that particular afternoon, curiosity got the better of me and I thought I would go and see firsthand what exactly these therapists talk about. And so I went to the lecture theatre where the demo was going to be held. The room was kind of full, almost a hundred people were already seated. I found a chair in one of the last rows.
A woman who looked thirty five plus was the instructor. She was introduced as a leading exponent of the art. I guess she was a successful professional in the industry before she quit her job to don the role of a messiah. I vaguely remember some such introduction.
She was a good speaker, I think. At least it wasn't boring. She had a style of her own and her language was, well, interesting. First twenty minutes or so had some nice story telling. I didn't mind it at all.
Then she said it was time for all of us to practise what she was describing in words till then. I thought I would just sit and watch others. First she asked everyone to close the eyes. Most of us did so. She noticed that a few of us did not and she repeated what she said. Everyone except me in my row closed the eyes. I thought she would proceed to the next step. She wasn't going to.
The instructor might have had the impression that I did not follow what she said. She looked straight at me and said the same thing in Hindi. I lazily eyed towards the ceiling to avoid making an eye contact with her. She was insistent and I felt a bit uncomfortable. Everyone was waiting for her next order, but Shrimathi Shrimathi was after me!
I did not want the situation to worsen. So I thought if I was unwilling to listen to her -- and I was, perhaps due to her peremptory tone -- it's better for me to walk out. After all, they had the right to conduct their program the way they like.
And I walked out. No eyes, other than the instructor's, followed me! I could hear her going to the next step. She was asking the audience to sit straight and to keep their hands on the abdomen. A few seconds more and I was back in my own world, where I wouldn't be asked to do anything that I would not want to do. I met a few friends in the canteen, and I told them how the instructor who talked about anger management lost her cool so fast.
P.S: Two, perhaps related, links: