Reflections from SIY Scholarship Recipients

November 23, 2018

We recently offered the first-ever two-day Search Inside Yourself program in Thailand through a partnership with Thailand Coaching Institute. Participants from over 20 countries gathered the Bangkok program, including eight SIYLI Scholarship recipients.


Our wonderful group of scholarship recipients in Thailand (from left to right, top to bottom): Som Kachonseree, Agnes Espinoze-Thaebtharm, Ebrahim Mongarite, Atousa Khadem, Nitten Mahadik, Toan Dang, Venjie Pellan, Soh Ling Loke


The scholarship recipients traveled from as far as South Africa, Australia, Singapore, Philippines and India to attend. With such an interesting and diverse  group, we were curious to learn more about their background and experience. Below, three of the Bangkok scholarship recipients reflect on moments from the program that surprised them, why they applied for a scholarship, how they plan to integrate what they learned from the SIY program into their communities and more.

We offer scholarships at every Search Inside Yourself two-day public program. Apply now for a scholarship for a SIY training near you, and consider making a donation to support our SIYLI scholarship program.

Toan Dang, project assistant, UNESCO
 From Canada (based in Thailand)

“I currently work at UNESCO Bangkok in the area of education policy. I get to work with government leaders who are making decisions about the future of education in their countries. Therefore, I wish to take my learnings from SIY to share with these leaders through my work and potentially scale the impact to the students through the policies we create.”
 
How did your journey lead you to SIY?
I started becoming interested in mindfulness and meditation about five years ago. It started with reading a few books. During my travels across Southeast Asia, I made a few friends who recommended various retreats. After integrating mindfulness in my life in the past five years, I became convinced that it was something that was needed in the business world. I wanted to find a way to bring the benefits of mindfulness to organizations for the well-being of employees and for more successful business. That was when I came across Chade-Meng Tan's book.
 
Why did you apply for a scholarship to SIY at this phase of your journey?
I currently work at UNESCO Bangkok in the area of education policy. I get to work with government leaders who are making decisions about the future of education in their countries. Therefore, I wish to take my learnings from SIY to share with these leaders through my work and potentially scale the impact to the students through the policies we create.
 
Can you share a wonderful, surprising moment that unfolded during the program?
I was delighted to meet different people from so many different countries—all passionate about integrating mindfulness into their lives and their organizations. I was able to meet people from countries that included Philippines, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Australia, United States, Thailand and India.
 
What would you like to share with future participants?
Come with an open mind and open heart. The two-day program offers a system of methods that can potentially have great impact for you if you wholeheartedly follow along and trust the process.  

Soh Ling Loke, global program manager, Business Transformation Office, Dell
From Malaysia (based in Singapore)

“SIY is one of the best courses I have attended. It taught us various mindfulness practices that can be integrated easily into our daily life, at home or at work.”

How did your journey lead you to SIY?
I have a mindfulness practice that I found through yoga, and my colleagues constantly asked me to share teachings with them. In looking for a program that integrated mindfulness into professional life, I found SIY. I am excited to learn SIY practices that I can share with my colleagues and friends who are chronically distracted and facing an emotional imbalance in juggling work life and home life.

Can you share a wonderful, surprising moment that unfolded during the program?
It was exciting to meet such a big group of like-minded people who are passionate about mindfulness. The methods taught in SIY are simple to follow, yet the outcome is amazing and powerful. For example, the “just like me” practice made me realize that just the day before I had made a biased comment against someone who was in the LGBT community. I realized my unconscious bias.

How do you plan to integrate the SIY experience into your life, work or community?
I am currently integrating the practices taught into my daily life and plan to share what I learned with a group of colleagues on my team.

What would you like to share with future participants?
SIY is one of the best courses I have attended. It taught us various mindfulness practices that can be integrated easily into our daily life, at home or at work. As an advocate of the diversity and inclusion movement, I have been asking how someone could realize that they have an unconscious bias toward certain groups and how to get rid of the bias: I found the answer in this course.

Vicencio "Venj" Pellena, yoga and meditation teacher
From Philippines

“If you're about to join your first SIY, just remember to smile. This community is filled with wise and wonderful people, so don't be afraid to offer friendship and kindness.”

How did your journey lead you to SIY?
I teach yoga and meditation, so I read a lot on these topics regularly. I came across SIY from Chade-Meng Tan's book Search Inside Yourself.

Can you share a wonderful, surprising moment that unfolded during the program?
I gained one of the most wonderful pieces of wisdom from a young participant from Bangkok named Nok. I was telling her how much I admired her maturity, grace and being able to accomplish so much at such a young age, and she replied with a few words filled with wisdom: "All the good things you see in me are a reflection of you."

It made me realize that our view and impressions of things and people around us can actually serve as a compass of what is happening inside of us. If everything we see is beautiful and kind, that's because we ourselves are filled with kindness and beauty. If everything around us is unpleasant and negative, it means that is what's happening inside of us.

What would you like to share with future participants?
Meditation and mindfulness practices can be intimidating, sometimes even discouraging. If you've tried meditation or mindfulness before and feel like its not for you, please give SIY a try. This program is simple, scientific and very practical.

Anything else you'd like to offer about your experience?
If you're about to join your first SIY, just remember to smile. This community is filled with wise and wonderful people, so don't be afraid to offer friendship and kindness.