We notice how addicted we are to our mobiles and how we little we use our bodies and minds to reach maximum benefit from them. We cannot keep up with even 8 and 9 year olds physically and mentally. They get up before 5 and use every minute of the day. They are always busy: One boy, who looks after guests lights two stoves to get us warm water. From 6 to 7 in the morning they muck out cowsheds, milk the cows, chop vegetables, prepare the meals for the day. There are 12 teachers and 98 students on the campus. They love reciting, praying, worshipping… we sit and observe as they do this each morning. There are no teachers supervising these activities. The students are eager to learn and help out, so teachers just step in when necessary. They serve meals, everyone cleans their own plate and cup. Our boys have done some yoga, weeding, thrashing rice, chanting, serving at meals, washing their clothes, swimming in the river, making mandalas in chalk, reading, chopping vegetables, playing football, volleyball and martial arts, going from door to door in the villages to collect food, drinking coconut juice straight from the coconuts, sitting on the ground for classes and meals, visiting temples, visiting a coffee-plantation… We are going to a place where they tame wild elephants and where they nurse elephants back who have gone off the rails. Before meals the children here recite one chapter of the Bhagavadgita by heart until they know the whole book. Some even learn off a dictionary by heart. Mr. Kortenhorst
This trip relates to wellbeing in various ways. One of them is the learning and the understanding that not everyone in the world has the luxuries that we have. Also we learn with the kids. I have learned that they live a very happy life, but having little. They have the virtue to appreciate everything that we sometimes don’t have. The kids here are very helpful and are always eager to help or to guide you. The kids have an extremely high level of wellbeing, so we can adopt new disciplines. This will help us to really put wellbeing into our lives and most importantly on a day-to-day basis . Leo Font.
The first thing I learnt on this trip that links to wellbeing is that you don’t need a nice house with expensive things to live well. I’ve been living on far less wifi than I would usually have which is hard, but I feel like I’m learning more instead. It also occurred to me that all the people in India have a smile on their face 24-7 even if they’re sleeping rough or can barely afford a meal. I think this is because of the practices they have, including breathing exercises, yoga workouts and chanting prayers. I don’t understand most of it but it clearly benefits all of them. Finally, I learnt that there are many forms of wellbeing. In Ireland, we have a system that’s very hygienic, but physical exercise often doesn’t occur enough. Whereas in India they greatly train the body and the mind but are not necessarily as hygienic as us. If we used the best of both our cultures, everybody would benefit greatly. Páidi Kinlay
I’m really enjoying India. It is so beautiful here and the kids are so cute! But it’s also really hard being here. I don’t like the food. The kids are never ending. You have to hide if you want to do anything alone like read or go anywhere. But I love the beds and I might buy one for my house back in Ireland. In wellbeing we learned that you don’t need money to be happy. And we learnt about devotion and discipline and always smile. Asato ma sadgamaya; tamaso ma jyotirgamaya; mrityormamritangamaya. OM shantih shantih shantih. [From untruth lead me to truth; from darkness lead me to light; from death lead me to immortality. OM peace peace peace] Soilse Ryan
On this trip everyone has been so nice and welcoming! Even in the village where a lot of people have nothing, they will welcome you in and give you tea and they’ll sit down for a chat. Even with not very much people are still happy. They are always active. I remember one of the teachers saying ‘if you remain still and stagnant, you’ll become lazy. No-one here is still nor stagnant and definitely not lazy. Everyone is constantly smiling. I’m not sure why but it’s really contagious, when you’re around them, you cannot help but smile. The experiences I’ve had so far are beyond explaining. The experience I will keep until I die. This place has been so amazing. To develop their power of memory they chant and pray every day 108 times. Apparently as they do this they are still smiling. This isn’t out of the ordinary here, they are content. They have something everyone in the West is searching for: contentment. I’m still experiencing, but so far it has been really amazing! Peter Mc Mullan