For Ashish and Shreya, helping others find inner peace was the common cause that inadvertently brought them together. “We want to make people happy since everyone’s under a lot of stress here in Japan,” said the couple, who first met in Kyoto as charity workers for Art of Living (one of the world’s largest volunteer-based NGOs that’s dedicated to creating a stress-free and nonviolent society).
“As humans, we worry too much about our finances, relationships, and health. These concerns weigh on us even after `sleeping on it,'” Shreya said, explaining how some breathing techniques can help rid the mind of toxic thoughts.
“Doing so enables people to live in the present moment.” And then discover pockets of happiness.
In Japan’s case, where society dictates “a certain type of behavior in public,” anxiety levels are high from emotions getting bottled up inside, according to Ashish. His goal is to teach them how to relax through meditation and breathing exercises. “Japan is a rich country with all the material comfort their economy can afford. But they need to find their space and open up—to vent and release stress.”
“Once you’re happy and relaxed, the next thing you want to do is help others. And that’s how we feel,” said Shreya, who thought of going back to India if not for a nagging feeling that there’s still something she and her husband Ashish can do for their adopted home. Good thing they found a reason to stay; their raison d’etre, if you will.