-By Atul Shroff
In the seventies I was searching for something tangible, something I can't name, which would help me find myself, make me understand myself. I tried many ways--yoga, meditation, est--going from one "guru" to another. From each I learnt something special, a new dimension, but none of them gave me a "wholistic" outlook towards life--a wholistic dimension towards feeling and thinking.
It was in 1989 that I first came across the technique of "Vipassana" and undertook a course in Igatpuri. During the programme I knew that this was what I had been looking for. The change that I felt was wholesome. My mental as well as my physical status underwent a change.
Physically, the addiction of tobacco was broken; I no longer felt like using it, although I started again three months later. Mentally, there was a new dimension to my thinking and perception, an experience completely out of this world. Unlike in other programmes, the learning was all self-based. I did not have to depend on others to help me. I could move at my own pace, and also not feel threatened by others, which helped me understand myself honestly. I also did not need the support of others in my problem solving. The second time I went for a course was in December 1993.
All my harmful habits are almost eliminated now, and that without any pain. My ability to cope with stress has been enhanced. One manifestation of this is greater courage in facing negativity. Recent economic liberalization has had a great negative impact on my industry. I have taken this with minimal stress. Also I have encouraged the organization to take this as a challenge and to face the new realities squarely, rather than lying low.
I have found that Vipassana opens my mind--empties it and makes it receptive. I am then able to fill this with positive suggestions. I used to employ "auto-suggestions" and similar techniques. Now the positive suggestions given to the mind are more effective. I have ongoing moral and ethical values and social involvement from my family background.
The industrial relations in our company have been built on strong trust, resulting in no strikes for more than two decades. Now with Vipassana I see these strengthening and deepening. This arises from direct experience of purity rather than a handed-down norm or habit. So much for myself. My experience concerning others in my industry is as below: 1. Quite a few have given up smoking tobacco, although some of them have started again.
2. There is a softer, quieter look on their faces.
3. They listen more and are better understood.
4. Some have been able to control their anger.
5. They spend less time in emotional reaction.
6. There is more patience and tolerance.
7. Our meetings are more quiet and calm.
8. There are many who can work for longer hours with more concentration.
9. There is decreased irritability.
10. There are many who have found some relief from pain related to backaches, headaches, acidity and other physical ailments.
11. Those around them feel the meditators are more approachable, acceptable and likeable.
We have introduced one hundred and forty-two employees to the Vipassana programme. They have been mostly staff, with some workmen also. Our aim is to introduce three hundred more employees to the technique in this financial year.