Meditation is letting go

Published on May 03, 2015 01:25:25 AM
Spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar led a meditation session involving US lawmakers on Capitol Hill that House member Jan Schakowsky termed as a "beautiful and self-empowering experience."

As the world gears up to mark the maiden International Day of Yoga, US Congressional Representatives recently acquainted themselves with an authentic experience of yoga and meditation with renowned spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

On Thursday Congressional Representatives began their morning with a meditation led by spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. The unique event served as a platform for the nation’s leaders to discuss the importance of meditation in resolving the nation’s pressing concerns, particularly PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) symptoms among the country’s veterans and youth.

"The secret of meditation is in letting go,” Sri Sri told the gathering, which included war veterans and policy makers. "Stress arises when we have too much to do, and not enough energy or time to do it. We can neither change time nor the number of things we need to do. So, the only option is to increase energy levels. And this can be accomplished through yoga, breathing techniques and meditation,” Sri Sri elaborated.

"It is just wonderful to have Sri Sri come to Congress and remind us of the power and beauty within us,” said Congresswoman Katherine Clark. "Clearly, the meditation was the very best part. The feeling of self-control and empowerment got reinforced. I feel so good right now, after 20 minutes of meditation. I think it’s a really beautiful and self-empowering experience and I’m so excited about the impact that it can have on veterans and school students,” said Illinois Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky.

"We now know as a matter of science that [meditation] produces empirical benefits to our society, to our country, to the world. There is no better spokesperson for it than Sri Sri,” added Congressman Steve Israel.

The Art of Living’s ‘Project Welcome Home Troops’ (PWHT) programme has helped more than 1000 veterans experience reduction in PTSD symptoms, and re-adapt to civilian life, through breathing techniques and meditation. "I struggled for 10 years. I looked to medication, and I was at a point where suicide seemed like a really good option…. until I found PWHT and that was a life-changing event.” shared Tom Voss who served in the infantry in Iraq during 2003-2006.

Congressman Tim Ryan, who is also a long time meditator and PWHT supporter, commended the effectiveness of Sri Sri’s techniques, and his commitment to social causes. He said, "Sri Sri has an approach that can solve a lot of problems. He is very much an inspiration.”
The inspiration for programs across 152 countries is Sri Sri’s message which focusses on individual transformation through a peaceful, stress-free, mind as the basis for societal peace.

Last week, Sri Sri addressed a series of events in Europe, including a talk on Yoga at the European Parliament and a discourse at UNESCO in Paris.

Prior to the Congressional event, on April 29, the Embassy of India in Washington, DC, hosted a talk by Sri Sri on ‘Nurturing peace through Yoga and Meditation’ wherein Sri Sri launched the series of events to welcome the International Day of Yoga. On Wednesday, he also addressed All Souls Church in Washington DC.

‘Kriya provides me deep rest’
When did you do the Art of Living Course?
Though my sister (now AOL teacher) and other friends egged me on, I did not do the course. However suddenly in 1999, I did the course under Shri Ravi Bhaiyya.

How did it benefit you?
My energy levels have increased tremendously and I do not feel tiredness and fatigue. Moreover 35 to 40 minutes of Sudarshan Kriya everyday keeps me very fresh and provides me deep rest. I no longer suffer from minor ailments like stomach upsets, cold, allergies. Regular practice of Sudarshan Kriya helped me to overcome my amoebiasis problem and improved my immunity levels. I have better say over my emotions.

How has it helped in your profession?
My interpersonal relationships have improved. I have been able to control my anger. And there is greater balance in my life. I am able to work hard, drop my feverishness and become more efficient.

What appeals to you most in Art of Living?
Sudarshan Kriya is for the self, which everyone should do. Then the-re is Sadhana, Seva, Satsang. By this you are not living only for yourself but for the society. There are so many facets to Art of Living. When the entire world embraces it, there will be no wars and world will be a more peaceful and harmonious place to live.

What is your vision for Art of Living?
It leads a person to a higher state of meditation, greater and better sadhana and helps in smooth transition from Grahashtha Ashram to Vanaprastha. My vision is that every person in this world should experience this technique.

May I Meditate Campaign
The Art of Living has on May 1 launched "May – I Meditate” - a month-long programme to be held at Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) across the country. The free meditation camps are aimed at raising awareness about the benefits of meditation and providing an opportunity for people to internalize meditation in their lifestyle, a press release of the organisation stated. It further said that the initiative will educate MSMEs that meditation is "healthy to learn and easy to practice” and results in increased focus and energy. "The camps will help reducing stress and create a positive attitude towards accepting the challenges at workplace or home,” says the press communique.

It quoted AoL founder Sri Sri Ravishankar: "In your day-to-day life, you come across all kinds of situations that can be challenging and demanding. Meditation can bring about a balance between the different states of the mind. This ability is present within everyone, and meditation enables you to switch between these states effortlessly.”

"Work life stress has led to many illnesses creeping at a very early stage in people’s lives. The May-I Meditate initiative has been undertaken to help working class experience the benefits of meditation whilst at work. Meditation brings in you calmness, clarity of thought and the necessary skills required to deal with all challenges in life,” Vasanti S Iyer, Director,The Art of Living Programs for Excellence at Workplace is quoted as saying.

AoL steps up relief efforts in Nepal
In an effort to reach out and provide solace to the quake- hit country, the Art of Living has stepped up its relief efforts in Nepal and mobilised its volunteer base across the globe to provide relief and rehabilitation.

While blood donation camps are underway at the Bir hospital, the centre at Raxaul has also started a similar camp in collaboration with the Indian Medical Association. The Art of Living-Nepal Center and Nepal Music School in Kathmandu opened its premises for shelter seekers.

"Our team was the first to reach Kaavre district with the help of the army and police," said Santosh Sharma member of AOL in Nepal.

Truckloads of bottled water and food were provided to families at Teaching Hospital, Balaju devastation site, Bir Hospital and Civil hospital. The volunteers at Teaching Hospital set up an all-day stall where a 24-hour supply of food was provided by the volunteers.

The rescue volunteers also reached Gorkha District for assessing the material need of the people. "We are providing material and medical assistance wherever we can. Our teams are actively working in various areas and have also conducted awareness on post-disaster disease outbreak. Our next main aim is to provide trauma relief to the people who are devastated seeing the aftermath of the earthquake," said Santosh Sharma.

The Art of Living Nepal is concentrating most importantly on trauma relief through chanting and satsangs.
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