Sri Sri Ravi Shankar lovingly called as Guruji, the founder of Art of Living Foundation through which He relieves the stress at individual levels, thus reducing violence, sufferings and conflicts and spreading the love, harmony, peace throughout the world in various societies.
I think today the world consciousness is improving; however, on the flip side, you see all this negativity and unrest happening. Yet simultaneously, there are more people concerned about the world than ever before. More and more people want to do something for the world. They are not just thinking about themselves, but thinking about everybody else, isn't it? Don't you see that happening?
See, nature has its own way of balancing things. If there is a part of the Earth that has a longer summer, then there is also another part that has a longer winter. The amount of daylight that you get and the amount of night is almost balanced in the world. So when we see the big picture, we must have this confidence that there is a bigger power which is taking care of this planet Earth, and for millenniums it has been doing its job. But that is not an excuse for us not to do anything! There are two mindsets of people:
1. Those who feel helpless. These people get uptight thinking about all the problems of the world, so much that it lowers their energy levels. When you feel helpless, you don't have the drive to do anything. All you do is eat more, sit in the car, and watch television and get even more depressed.
How do you keep the spirit alive? By recognizing that there is a bigger power that is taking care of everything.
Such people think, "Oh, let me just mind my business, let me take care of myself, I don't mind whatever happens in the world, it is none of my business. Let God take care of the events in the world. If I get my bread and butter today, I am happy about it, I take care of my immediate family, I am happy!" 2. Those who feel hopeless. These people keep worrying about the whole incident, and are unable to do anything about it. When you feel everything is hopeless, then there is anger, frustration and revolt.
One category of people feels helpless, and the other feels hopeless, in either case, you lose the enthusiasm and drive to do anything. And that is where we need to keep the spirit alive, isn’t it? How do you keep the spirit alive? By recognizing that there is a bigger power that is taking care of everything. Then you have hope, you have a certain solace inside of you, and then whatever you need to do, you continue doing it. Do you see what I am saying?
People who are in these two different mindsets - of being helpless and hopeless, have to come to the center, where they say, "I pray, and I have faith that things will happen, not by my doing, but my doing is also important, and I will keep doing what I should do". That is the fine balance.
Life is a combination of free-will and destiny. Just like your height is your destiny, and your weight is your free-will. If it is sunny outside, to wear sunglasses or not is your free will. If it is raining outside, to take an umbrella or get wet is your free-will. Life is a combination of free-will and destiny, it is not either one of them.
So don't think that as we sit and meditate here, it is only for us. It is not just for us, it also has an impact on the environment.
People who think everything is free-will, sometimes come to a point where they get so cornered and feel hopeless. And those who think that nothing is in their hands, they feel so helpless. Right now, America is going through this dichotomy of different communities feeling hopeless and helpless; anger and frustration. And what you are doing here is creating those waves of peace, waves of silence. Meditation is going to impact not just this country but all the countries, all over the world. So more and more group meditations need to be done.
You could do this as an experiment. Get some people to fight in a room or a hall, yell at each other, create some havoc, and when they leave, don't tell anyone else what happened in that place. Soon after, send another set of people to the same place (maybe some researchers from Harvard would like to take this up as a study), and make them sit in the same chair and see how they behave, it will be interesting. Unless they are so centered that they are able to digest the vibrations, or their inner strength is much bigger than the vibes in the environment, you will see that they succumb to the situation, at least for a few minutes. It is possible that they would get agitated for no reason; they would feel those vibrations. So our vibes get absorbed by the environment or surroundings.