Entry from Ibrahim Toure, a participant of the International Brain Education Association (IBREA)’s fourth World Youth Leadership Program which took place from May 26-31, 2013 in New York. The program helps young generations rediscover their great value inside their brain to create health, happiness and peace. Through training that unleashes their earth citizen awareness, they come to acknowledge that everyone else has the same value inside. Participants become candidates to volunteer for IBREA’s Brain Education and Earth Citizen awareness projects in the developing world.
My experience during the WYL program in New York, by Ibrahim Toure
As I got to New York City for a brain-education training seminar, the first person I talked to outside my hotel was a homeless man. He was pushing a cart of empty cans, singing old school funk music and telling every woman that passed by that she was beautiful. My initial thought was that he had lost his mind and was inappropriate. But somewhere in the back of my mind, I kept thinking this man seemed happier than I was, in some freeing way. So I entertained a conversation with him and at one point he started mentioning universal vibrations that shape the future based on intentions. This immediately frightened me because I shared a somewhat similar philosophy, and it dawned on me that he could very well be more ‘enlightened’ than I am. And if that was true, in my pursuit of happiness, will there be a time where I end up on the street singing old school R&B songs to strangers?
The more I talked to this street dweller, the more I respected him, and the more I feared for my own future. He had qualities that I truly admire. He was happy enough to sing in the street, while most people around were rushing, and he obviously did not care what people thought of him. I would gladly pay hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars to truly rid myself of caring about what other people think of me.
In Yoga, we learn that ‘enlightenment’ comes not from external revelations or wisdom, but rather from ridding ourselves from past preconceptions that limit our actions. That explains why kids are usually so much happier than us adults. They have yet to develop a voice inside their heads that says ‘I should not be doing this right now’, ‘I look silly and this is socially unacceptable’ or ‘I am not good enough’. They are free from these negative preconceptions, and as adults, we seek to rid ourselves of these limiting thoughts in order to regain happiness. But how much am I really willing to give up to regain this happiness? If I were to unlock all the powers of my brain and rid myself from preconceptions, will I be deemed socially unacceptable by others? Do I really want the courage to just say what’s on my mind and do what I feel?
The answer to these questions could very well tell me why I have yet to find true peace, happiness and freedom. People always tell me to be myself and not worry about what other people think. But what if I had a sudden urge to do the Harlem Shake in my boss’ office and walk out? That’s what I do in the shower and that’s probably what I would do at work if I didn’t care at all what people thought of me. I have always made witty excuses as to why I am not currently satisfied with the present moment, and why it is so hard to be happy. But as I stood there talking to this ‘socially abnormal’ man, I realized that I am actually just afraid of being deemed abnormal also. It seems being healthy and happy is a matter of choice, and it can happen instantly the moment I decide to completely be myself and do what I feel. I thanked the man for what he had helped me learn.