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What I’ve learned: Art of Living

Three legs of the stool

Three legs of the stool

I just completed the Art of Living course, and this is what I’ve learned:

  1. Opposite values are complementary. Values like fear and confidence; doubt and hubris; trepidation and elation. The key is balance. We must assume that these values exist for a good, perhaps evolutionary, reason.
  2. Accept people as they are. Acceptance brings peace of mind; not doing so leads to its disturbance. You would be doing it more for yourself than another. It is true that “What you resist, persists.”
  3. “Don’t be a football for others’ opinions.” Have the courage of conviction, your conviction.
  4. Don’t see intention in others’ mistakes. This is an important one, and I consider it directly related to accepting people as they are. It’s for your own peace of mind.
  5. Be in the present moment. Easier said than done.
  6. Responsibility brings power. Taking responsibility is the launching pad for everything you want to accomplish.
  7. The Buddha spoke of suffering, and many others speak of expectations, but it can’t be stressed enough: expectations lead to diminished joy and even greater suffering.

    Having done the Vipassana course a few years ago, I can’t help but look for differences between the two courses. The Art of Living course seems more accessible for someone new to meditation, because it’s shorter, first of all, and it’s more active, in that you’re doing something with your breath as opposed to just observing it, which is much harder than it seems at first, given that thoughts intrude at all moments.

    It’s suggested that you practice Vipassana twice a day, an hour each time. The Art of Living Sudarshan Kriya, on the other hand, takes about 30-35 minutes every day. From what I’ve understood, the advanced teachings of Art of Living are where Vipassana starts, which makes the Art of Living easier for most people to start with.

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