Wednesday, April 22, 2015

How to be happy

“Do you all feel at home?” was how Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, world-renowned humanitarian, opened his talk on “Secrets of Inner Strength and Happiness” at the PICC. 
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar greets the audience saying Mabuhay!

It would set the tone for the rest of the evening, where over a thousand people gathered to be inspired by the global ambassador of peace and human values, and founder of the Art of Living Foundation.

Global humanitarian work
Sri Sri’s visit to Manila marks the end of his Asian Tour where he has inspired thousands of people across Japan, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia. 

He travels to nearly 40 countries each year, and has touched the lives of more than 300 million people in over 150 countries through programs that promote breathing techniques, yoga, meditation and profound life guiding principles.

Through the Art of Living foundation, Sri Sri has also helped address the general public’s stress and negative emotions, as well as promote poverty alleviation, women empowerment, environmental sustainability and conflict resolution.
Members of the Philippine Marines learn Secrets of Inner Strength from Sri Sri   

Life lessons
At his Manila one-night only talk, Sri Sri extolled on the importance of aiming for equanimity amid life’s troubles, of accepting imperfections, of overcoming guilt, of forgiving, among many other lessons.

“You lose your temper because you don’t accept some imperfections. At home you have a garbage can…that means you have accepted garbage to be at home, in some spot. Similarly in your life, in your mind, create a little space for imperfections,” Sri Sri explained.
Sri Sri captivates a large crowd at the PICC Reception Hall

Guilt, on the other hand, can easily be overcome once people understand that they are not to blame: “Mistakes happen when you are ignorant – when you have no knowledge, when you’re not in the right state of mind or consciousness.” So the key, he says, is to put the blame on one’s mind, and resolve not to commit the same mistake again, lest the guilt builds up anger, and creates a platform for being mean.  Purity of heart, clarity of mind, and sincerity in action, he adds, are the key to achieving happiness.
An opening dance by Art of Living volunteer Dona Esteban 
performed to the song 'Pasasalamat' by Joey Ayala

Towards world peace
Sri Sri’s humanitarian work is indeed timely, as the world grapples with the challenges posed by various political conflicts. During his tours, he advocates developing human values, anchored on the notion of a ‘one world family’.

“From my eyes I don’t see a single bad guy; I only find people misled. I see that people are not educated in human values – the worst offenders are in such a state because they have not had an opportunity and experience of the spiritual kind.”

Art of Living has been spreading the value of meditation, which according to Sri Sri creates a sense of belongingness and sensitivity. Moreover, the organization promotes the importance of celebrating diversity. 

“What is happening in the Middle East is unbearable. People are killing each other. People are killing in the name of religion because they want everyone to be the same. They have difficulty in accepting diversity, accepting people as they are,” he laments.
Sri Sri answers a number of questions from the audience
Asked whether it is indeed possible for humanity to achieve world peace and when it might become a reality, Sri Sri meaningfully smiles and says, “Let’s dream for it and work for it. The time is now.” 
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar seated with Ambassador L D  Ralte of India

To learn the various techniques taught by the Art of Living Foundation which promote lasting inner peace and happiness and help manage the mind and emotions – including courses for children 8 years and up - visit www.artofliving.org or follow them on Facebook (Art of Living Philippines). For inquiries call 0917-840-0049.

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