Body & Soul with Gail Harris
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Creating Wellness: Taking Time, Making Time
Wellness Week at the Omega Institute

When Rob Oberndorf told friends that he was planning to spend a week's vacation at the Omega Institute for Holistic Studies, their reaction was, "You're doing what?" But no one was more surprised than Rob himself, a busy young lawyer whose vacation choices tended to run more toward adventuring in the great outdoors.

"I had absolutely no idea I was going to come to the Omega Institute. My original plan was to do a mountain bike camping trip out in California or Idaho, but one trip was cancelled and another ended up being sold out.

"Then a friend of mine gave me a copy of the Omega Institute catalogue. I took it, and I looked at it, and I thought, 'Yeah, right, sure, this is something I would never do.' But after the two camping trips fell through, I picked up the catalogue. I thought to myself, this might be exactly what I'm looking for right now.

"When I was in college. I had a sense then that if I had a loving heart and mind, and I could express that to others in the way I treated everyone, then that could be almost a contagious aspect which would flow from person to person to person. Then sometime after I graduated from law school and started working, I lost touch with that side of myself.

"I was good at my work, and I was considered very successful. But suddenly I was thinking to myself, well, now what? I had all these questions, but not really any sort of grounding on which to answer the questions."

Despite the need he felt to find some answers, Rob still wasn't sure he'd made the right choice after booking his reservation at Omega. His doubts turned out to be short-lived. "After the first day I suddenly realized, wow, this is great, I'm really enjoying this. I really like the people here, and what I'm learning is extremely interesting. For one thing, I've never done meditation, ever, in my life. I never thought I could sit still for it. But I found that as I was meditating, I could get a better sense of the things that were bothering me in my life, and how it is I want to live my life and project myself to others.

"One morning, at about 6:30, I couldn't sleep anymore. I got up and went to the sanctuary, and there was this Sri Lankan Buddhist monk, who led us through a Buddhist love meditation. First you focus on love of self, love of family and close friends, love of neighbors and those that you work with, then love of all humans in the world, and love of every living creature on the earth. And that was very, very powerful. It struck a lot of emotions in me.

"All of a sudden I was having this feeling that I don't think I'd had since I was in college. I felt this sense of freedom; this sense of being completely at ease with myself. At ease with who I am; at ease with what I believe in; at ease with how I'm interacting with other people. And I left that meditation session feeling so energized and so happy and so aware of everything that was around me.

"I knew before I came that I had lost something. I just didn't know what it was. I've rediscovered that side of myself I used to be so in touch with. That's something that I can go home with, that will carry me on."

Body & Soul is currently airing Monday-Friday at 7:00pm and 8:30pm on PBS YOU.

Program Description
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