Any journey begins with preparation. For a holiday, packing is necessary, along with knowing what to do there. The orientation days are not about telling us what and where our project will be. The days are necessary to get an insight into why we are doing this; gain ideas about how to transform our dreams to reality; to focus on our self-development, so we are ready for our future challenges.
Although the orientation day may have been a few weeks ago, I believe every activity we have had to prepare us for this adventure should be mentioned. It is important for you to know what we had to do to prepare ourselves for this challenge. The orientation day will be split into two blog entries, to highlight how important each activity was for us.
Just another early morning…
The early mornings are one of the many things I expect to have to go through this summer. My day started with a fresh, typically raining 5am in Manchester. It was an interesting drive down to Warwick, with a nice variety of music, including bhajans, Lord of the Rings (my personal preference) and a Vinod Mistry classic, Bohemian Rhapsody.
In my zone…
When we all arrived, it all kicked off with mingling, icebreakers, analysing everyone’s likes, dislikes and opinions. After a brief introduction by Avanishji Thakrar, the excitement started. The day began with a little bit of Yogasāna by Anandji Parekh, founder of Hot Yoga, Nottingham. For those who know me, Yog is one of my passions. Not just practising the āsanas(~ postures)/ dhyān (~ meditation), but also reading into the deeper philosophies of Yog. Anandji helped kick the day off by making us feel relaxed and energised. I’m just glad I was at the back of the class, so no one could see my flexibility! Anandji, then discussed how he started off Hot Yoga, his inspirations, motivations, the challenges and the push-backs he had to face.
The visions outside of my zone…
This is where the preparations really started. We were joined by Sumitji Sharma, founder of Spread Wisdom UK. The activity started with us having to share with everyone, ‘What are we grateful for?’ I decided to pick my phone. We, as humans, are
extremely dependent on phones. We spend hours upon hours on our mobile devices every day. It could for a variety of purposes: business, social, or simply to create memories.
We were then asked to close our eyes to do a bit of self-reflection. To understand the meaning of gratitude and realise how we can be more grateful in our daily lives. It’s easy to think we should be grateful for the things we own. By reflecting and discussing further, we took a step back and began to take the first few baby steps of changing our perception of gratitude. Once we started to let go of the ‘I’, the ego, we start to see a whole new level of appreciation. Respect towards our body, our organs, or lives and committment towards helping to build a strong, loving society are some general ways we believed we can show gratitude.
Definitely outside of my comfort zone!
To conclude this half of the day, we’ll move onto food – sort of. Our next talk was by Jayeshji Mistry, founder of ‘Suitable for Carnivores’, a new plant-based, vegan catering business. Now eating food (vegan friendly!) is something I 100% enjoy. However, my cooking expertise isn’t something I’d put on my CV. Thankfully, the talk wasn’t entirely on food.
Time management and organisation was a key topic of his talk. It taught us how we should aim to put every minute in our day to good use. Jayeshji told us about his daily timetable: wake up, work, eat, relax etc. But, this wasn’t something he found enjoyable. As a result, he wanted to change to this. But to do this he had to make a change to himself. This included a strict routine which includes the infamous ‘morning cardio’, and using a lot of free time toward building up his catering business. Although this routine required severe discipline, pain and sacrifice, success was achieved in the end.
We created out own daily timetables. I’ll be honest with mine. It involves watching TV episodes in the morning, a lot of procrastination whilst studying at university, and a ‘well-deserved’ chill session in the evening. This is where I came to two conclusions. 1) I spend too much time procrastinating. 2) If I juggle my time around, there will be so much time for me to do something I enjoy. To conclude, I came to 3 goals:
- Have a more structured morning routine – i.e. stay away from my phone and do something useful!
- Procrastinate less whilst studying – i.e. again keep my phone away from me
- Make use of my evenings for reading (not maths related/podcasting etc.)
More importantly though, I ask you all to keep track of how I’m doing, where I can improve, and make 3 challenges on how you can change yourself!
After this, we got around to having a delicious lunch made by, yes you guessed, Jayeshji Mistry. Our mouth was watering, our stomach was rumbling, calling for the food to be put on our biodegradable plates.
Decisions: Making the correct choice
There are two important things about being in university. The studying (of course!) and the ‘student life’. Our primary goal of university is to come out with a degree, a good grade to be precise. And yet, each one of us have a need, a desire to meet as many people as we can, build on social relationships, and fill every space in this new chapter in our life. But there comes a dilemma. What decisions are the ‘right’ decisions. We were joined by Sachin Nandha, to communicate how we should go about our minute to minute dilemmas.
It is easy for us to avoid work, to chill, or sleep. But is that the right thing to do. There comes a point where we must take a step back and analyse our situation. In this scenario, the correct right choice we should make when is to prioritise studying. This is what’s known as ‘Shreya’. This is what helps us develop and flourish more. But in general, we also want to fulfil our desires and pleasures – ‘Preya’. It is what feels is what feels good. It’s not necessarily the wrong choice, but the path we travel down in life should not be dictated by our desires.
We are all victims of this endless cycle of cause and effect. Every decision we make will create more paths. To succeed and flourish in what we enjoy, the correct decisions need to be made today, at this very minute. But, we all have senses, thoughts, emotions and desires. It is acceptable to do the things that gives us pleasure. Making the ‘correct’ decision should not be a burden and it shouldn’t inhibit us. Therefore, we should create the right balance of Shreya and Preya in our daily lives.
Socialism, Capitalism, or the third way
This isn’t my first talk on Integral Humanism. In fact, the last time went to a talk on this topic was by the very same speaker, Chandrakantji Sharma. There are two needs in this world. A need for the society to be strong, as well as a need to fulfil put desires and materials. Just in the last few hundred years, we have seen lots of philosophical and political change, such as, communism, socialism, capitalism etc. These philosophies may be ideal for the individual within a society, but what about the society as a whole. Integral Humanism was put forth by Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya, which recognises that in order to provide a life of dignity, the need of balancing individuals and society is key.
It was a very long day. The plan originally was to simply knock out during the road ahead. But each of us seemed to have learned something and taken something out of this day. So instead of sleeping, further discussions occured for the next few hours. Overall, I am starting to understand what it required of me on this journey I will go on, and how I can impove myself to gain further knowledge and give back to society.