Could Yoga be the Cure for Chronic Hostility in the Middle East?
When I first decided to volunteer, I had a simple thought in my mind: “Let’s go just for a few hours, check the vibe, meet some people who share the same interests as me, you know. See how things go.” Four days later I came to a realization that volunteering at Isha’s Inner Engineering is one of the most intense experiences I’ve ever encountered so far in my short life.
The intensity of my experience originated from a combination of two things: First, my level of involvement in every moment. The other is my willingness to go beyond my likes and dislikes. Usually, these kinds of experiences are not easy to describe accurately. They’re like a cocktail of beautiful feelings: a strong sense of aliveness and clarity of what life is and how it’s supposed to unfold or be lived.
Adding to this, I could finally realize what I had felt a few years ago when I first encountered a YouTube video of Sadhguru. I have always believed that the science of yoga could cure the chronic state of hostility in the Middle East.
Having grown up in the Israel-Palestine region, a hostile environment, as part of the Arab minority alongside the Jewish majority, I had to encounter some existential questions like “Who am I?” and “What is my identity?” very early in my life. Answering these questions generated a bigger variety of other questions with even more specific labels: Are you a Palestinian first or an Arab first? Are you a Christian? Are you Muslim? Or, are you Israeli? Let’s say you were travelling. How would you introduce yourself if someone asked you where you’re from? And these questions go on and on like an infinite drilling into solid rocks of the mind.
To make a long story short, it has long been held that whenever Arabs and Jews meet, anywhere on the planet, there will be a strong stance of “us versus them” – two groups of homo-sapiens in a bond of exclusive separation for eternity. In the first Inner Engineering program in Israel, this turned out not to be the case. For me, for us, there was no us versus them. Instead, we found ourselves in an inclusive environment that dissolved all labels. All identifications were replaced with a pure and true sense of togetherness where no one took part in any conflict of any sort.
My dream is that people in this region will realize that the time has come for yoga and to have a chance to experience life elevated by new and beautiful possibilities. With the help of the inner science of yoga, I believe things we’ve never imagined possible can happen to the Middle East.
- Ahmad Diab, 28 yrs, Entrepreneur & Business owner, Israel
Editor's Note: Find out more about Inner Engineering, including upcoming program dates and venues.