I have just left an NLP Course.
As I fly across the heart of Southern India, from Chennai to Mumbai, or as the English called them Madras to Bombay, I am reflecting on my time out here in India and the amazing insights, revelations and adventures I have had. I wonder how much time we give ourselves in the West just to reflect, to be… in a neutral space and allow the emergence and enjoyment of natural being-ness. I think they call it meditation in the East.
I have been here for nearly two months now. England, winter and the credit crunch couldn’t be further from my mind. It is a strange feeling to even think of such things, and yet when I do, I realize how integrated and accustomed I have become to life on the road and living in India, and how nourishing it is compared to thoughts of striving for more in England when things seems to be almost going in reverse in the depths of winter.
As I write this, I am on my way to visit some very good friends on mine in the financial capital of India, Mumbai, which was struck by terrorist attacks just before I came out here. They are still suffering economically and socially to some extend in Mumbai with the impact of those atrocities. I am only there for a few days before heading back South to Cochin to and an NLP course run by Sue, one of my mentors.
My experience of Chennai over the last couple of days was nothing short of spectacular, bizarre and enlightening. So, where to begin? The spectacular for me, included being treated like some sort of a film star, having my photograph taken over a thousand times and handing out about that many medals and trophies to the children, teachers and parents of the phenomenon that is called BraioBrain. Boy, my feet hurt by the end of the day but my grin was practically glued onto my face.
BrainoBrain is quite simply a revolution in learning. It has been launched by 3 great friends of mine, Ashok, Arul and Anand who I met a few years ago but only really got to know in the last couple of months having spent so much quality time with them. The are brothers, and have all contributed to spreading this revolution, so far into 8 countries, and now, I believe, it is on the verve of exploding across the world due to the utter commitment of the brothers and all those involved. It is also down to the unique ability of BrainoBrain to help children in particular, but also adults to learn, to memorize, the be creative, to use left and right brains and develop the skills, abilities, knowledge and confidence to – I’d go as far as to say – create leaders in the world.
And I do not mean that lightly. What I witnessed as chief guest for the day at the 10th Indian National BrainOBrain competition was somewhere in the region of 4000 children, teachers and parents all committed to developing themselves and each other in a way that gets results unlike anything I have seen in traditional education before.
I gave a short talk on leadership, about being the change as Gandhi put it, and recognizing these amazing young children as leaders of the future… and in fact even as leaders right now. It really was an eye opening and spectacular day. The bizarre was feeling a little like David Beckham, being asked for my autograph by children.
And the enlightening was when I was talking to Ashok the following evening about my vagabonding lifestyle and not feeling like I have a real sense of purpose at the moment. He enlightened me to just what an impact I have had by being me, making the effort to be in Chennai for the event and the children – the hundreds if not thousands of peoples lives I touched by talking to them, being in their photos, giving them medals, recognizing their efforts and success; also playing and connecting with his and the other brothers young children – so that they now have a positive view of Western or white people, an anchor if you will.
Also by spending time in their home – apparently I am the first Western or white person ever to have dinner with him and his whole family – I am building cultural ties and mutual respect, understanding and possibilities for the future. That is something I believe the world needs right now – more understanding, compassion, respect and cohesion. So thank you Ashok, for waking me from my trace of feeling I was not really doing anything productive or constructive with my life, when in fact I am, we are, all the time touching other people’s lives in ways we cannot fully appreciate. As a bumble bee creates new life and possibilities for flowers by going about their normal daily lives completely unaware of the impact they have, we too touch people’s lives in ways we will never really fully know.
I have also been awoken in part by Uta as to what leadership is really all about. It is not, as she put it “about long term planning [or organizing or controlling things] but about doing what is right in front of you wherever you are”. And perhaps even more importantly, it is not really about doing, it is about being; being the change we want to see in the world, and in others; about being an example and living our deepest truth. About being truly present, here and now… and always. That’s often more than you get on an NLP course in the UK.
I had the great pleasure of not just being force fed by the brother’s families in Chennai- for which I am very grateful, thought a little full, but also by Ramesh and Tulsi. And my hosts have at all times treated me impeccably (apart from the force feeding of course) and given me insights and pleasures I would not have otherwise experienced, had I just been a traveler or vagabond. So I am very much indebted to all my Indian friends for giving me such a rich experience of Indian culture and perhaps, I have got even more than I had previously imagined, now that I take time to…reflect.
Enjoy yourself enjoying others enjoying you!
Until next time….
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