Om Express on Respect [Bhayandar, Mumbai]

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Date: 24 July 2011

Venue: Tapasya Dham, (BK Center), Next to Gurudwara, Saraswati Nagar, Navghar Road, Bhayandar East. Mumbai- 401105 | INDIA

Participants: Teenagers (13 to 17), 9th and 10th grade (high school), junior college.

35 in number.

Co-ordinator and host: Shivani Sharma & Siddharth.

Time given for entire workshop: (evening) around 2.5 hours

We began the evening by welcoming all to Tapasya Dham, as some were first timers and few of the kids had taken the 7 days course, and knew ShivBaba very well, and also meditated regularly. They were very co-operative and already were practicing respect and unity which was visible in their attitude, as they didn’t make much noise when they entered, which is quite rare in teens here. They had respect for the program, for the center too.

They all sat comfortably in the ambiance that was created with candles, and light music and red lights as they anticipated the event. As they approached, they already formed groups.

With patience they listened to all that I spoke about spotlight values and saw the video with great interest and had interesting expressions on their faces and were excited that they could create something like that. In fact they asked for a replay of the video!

Well, after the intro, I took them to the process of exploring for a few minutes, just to break the ice and get them into interaction! They introduced each other and discussed what is common in the group. I gave them two Qs – do young people get respect today? And do young people give respect today? I got involved with them and guided their conversations and it was fun actually to hear them. After a while, they shared from their groups what they discussed and they realized they actually are not giving respect to others and hence not receiving respect from others! Parents, friends, peers, teachers, elders, maid, watchman, driver, poor people, underprivileged ones, etc etc. they actually felt that life can be much better if respect is exchanged especially with those whom we take for granted! They even shared that respect should be given to nature, environment, education, even little things that we use daily, appreciate your mom for her efforts, love and respect your siblings and accept them as they are. After about 20 minutes of exploring the value of respect I took them to the next phase of express where they spent about 45 minutes creating paintings and stories based on respect, and it was fun to get involved with them as they were sipping cold coffee along with their creativity. There noses were buried into their jobs as if they are in for a competition and each one wants to put in their best and claim the first award! One of the groups was a bit confused as they really weren’t coordinating initially but after guidance from one mataji, their story also got sorted out and was in fact very sensible when they actually presented.

Many groups shared that only when we give respect do we get respect, which is quite in tune with the two Qs they explored initially! One group played a skit where one set of parents, who are although uneducated but are educating their daughter, are embarrassed when the child fares poorly in school and she insults the parents; and then she receives the same disrespect from her own child when she becomes a parent! The message was more than clear!

Another group was of the opinion that we msut respect the different colours which represent the different types of people in our lives. Yet another group also shared that what I do, reflects back at me, and I can expect respect only if I give it, not otherwise! I cant demand respect.

Respect should be given to mother nature. To education and books whom we take for granted. Respect to every little thing we possess ‘cause it helps us put our lives in order. Respect in relations. Some even felt that giving or exchanging respect actually can turn devils into Gods or into good people! Such strong was their feeling for the value.

In fact I encouraged them to share respect within the group by encouraging everyone to talk and others listen with care. Also give respect to other groups when they are sharing, thus boosting their morale. Its surprising to see such young teenagers are so sensible and well behaved! I could feel love and harmony with them. After the exchange, we took the pledge by giving our hand impressions by diping them into a spread of colours, which everyone enjoyed a lot. And we exchanged our group ledges with everyone. The impressions are even better, because it is longer lasting than a candle light pledge. And its exciting to see teens having fun like three year olds. It was put up for everyone to see next day in murli class at the center!!

We did a few minutes guided meditation in which they all sat in patience and in fact even focused on Baba’s light. We shared a few encouraging words with them thereafter and toli (home made chocolates) and blessings with drishti. They promised to stay in touch and come back soon as they really enjoyed the entire workshop.

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