Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Meditation and breathing exercises cleanse our presence

Aukland, New Zealand
5 April 2010
We can talk about love for one hour, but that doesn’t really translate even one glance of a child. We convey more through our presence than our words. Any sensitive person can make out if someone is greeting you through their heart or just trying to be nice. If our presence is stressed and muddled, then that is what we convey to others. Did you have this experience? You want to avoid certain people. It is the vibrations that a person carries which makes you feel so. We also give similar experience to others if there is stress and tension in our presence. Wisdom is cleansing our presence, not just our words. It makes you happy from within.
A baby smiles from every cell of the body. Baby radiates that love. Perhaps the saying ‘unless you become like a child, you can’t enter the kingdom of my father’ conveys this. Now it is a practical question - how is it possible in today’s complex world?
We can’t behave like a child while going to office, class room or a shopping mall.What you can do to cleanse your presence, is to make it more pleasant, positive but at the same time follow the protocol of society.
That’s where meditation and breathing exercises play the role.
This is what ‘Art of Living’ is.
We will do a short exercise. Turn to the person next to you and tell them that you do not trust them. Can you really do this if it is your spouse?
(Crowd was laughing after doing this exercise)
You said this to someone and you both started laughing. Could you have laughed on that otherwise also if it was not just an exercise? You could laugh because you took it easily. It was just an exercise. Life is like an exercise only. So why are we so bogged down over small petty things? The whole life is a short exercise. You grow up, go to school/college, get married, have kids…and you will die one day. Life is finished in a short span of time. But we become miserable and we make everyone around us miserable. Is this the way to live?
It is very hard to tell someone that I trust you and it is even harder to tell somebody that I don’t trust you. Did you realize that?
Now close your eyes for 30 seconds, and just imagine that everyone around you is telling you that they don’t trust you. How does it feel?
We don’t say it but we walk around in society carrying this thought, especially in urban areas. We create such an atmosphere of mistrust within us and around us. We have to get back to our human and spiritual values. Only then we can create a society which is safe. Today we see terrorism and violence amongst youths. Youth become violent and aggressive, or on the other hand they become depressed and suicidal. If you know any person with depression or undergoing suicidal tendency, immediately contact Art of Living center. Teacher will attend them and in 3 days they will get them out of suicidal tendency. I feel this is very important for youth because youths, esp. student communities are going through the suicidal tendencies in a big way. Also drugs and alcohol results into such a mental derangement, and gives rise to such thoughts.
(Excerpts from Question Answer session)
Q: What is the best way to handle religious conflicts?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Every child should know a little about all cultures and religions in the world. They will start to feel connection with all the cultures. Every child should know a little bit about all religions like Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism. They will grow up with a broad mindset.
I feel at home wherever I go in the world. I feel connected, and everyone can do that because we all have that need to be connected. In fact you don’t have to make an effort, we are anyway connected.
I still remember an incident some 25 years ago, in Manchester, UK. A small girl came to me and asked: ‘Why cannot human beings connect with everyone else in the world?’ I told her this is because we are so stuck in our identities. It’s good to have identity but we have to grow beyond that.
Q: I find it difficult to like my wife. How can I make myself love her to have a fulfilling life together?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I cannot speak on that because I have no experience. But I have a suggestion for you.
Tip for women: Never step on the ego of your man. You should always pump the ego of a man. You should not put him under pressure to prove his love for you. The whole world demands a man to prove himself. At home he should come and simply relax. At many times men cannot express their love the way women may wish. You should ask him why he loves you so much even if he doesn’t, and then he will start loving you really. Don’t put him under pressure to prove his love for you. This is very important.
For men: Never step on the emotions of your wife. She may complain to you about her family, but if you join her, she will spin around. It is a very delicate area. Be politically correct. Don’t say a word about her family because it’s very dear to her. Also don’t stop her if she wants to go on pilgrimage, temple, meditation or a spiritual program. If she wants to go for shopping just give her your credit card. Then you will have peace at home.
Q: I find it difficult to forgive my sister who had been very abusive to me?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Regarding the inability to forgive somebody, there are 6.5 billion people on this planet. Don’t forgive the 6.5 billon but just forgive this one person.
You know inside every culprit there is a victim crying for help. You must understand that they are victims of situation and circumstances. They didn’t have that knowledge. They were never exposed to higher knowledge so they made mistake. Just reading books and understanding doesn’t help to get out of violent tendencies. These have to be fixed through meditation, breathing exercises and yoga.
Prisoners say that ‘the Art of Living’ is responsible for their being in the prison. If the ‘Art of living’ had given them this knowledge earlier, they wouldn’t have landed in the prison. Their life would have been much different’.And I agree with them.
Q: It is quoted in every spiritual book that everything happens according to God’s wish. Then where does doing good or bad come from? If everything is decided by God only then what are we doing here, and what are our duties?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Everything has been decided for animals. But humans have been given the sense of discrimination. God gave the human beings freedom to chose, to chose between right and wrong. Right is something that gives you long term happiness, may be at the cost of short term sufferings. The wrong is something that gives you short term joy and long term sufferings. 

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