There is no question that we are currently living in stressful times – and even if somehow we aren’t affected by world events and and external stressors, we are all dealing with our own daily and ongoing stresses and anxieties. Recognizing the mental struggles that society battles daily, the Art of Living Foundation is presenting a three-day workshop in Calgary with its founder and global humanitarian, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, and seeks to give participants the tools to deal with emotions and stress through meditation.
The Art of Living Foundation is a non-profit organization which exists to educate and promote peace, according to Pooja Tolani of AOLF Calgary. “Our vision is to create a more violence-free and stress-free society,” she explains. “We’ve always been told it’s not good to be angry, don’t get upset, it’s not good to be jealous or be sad, yet no one ever gave us tools or told us how to not be angry or what do I do when I get angry, I do feel jealous — what do I do with that, why do I feel it? The aim is to give people really practical tangible tools that help them deal with that state of mind.”
Identifying that we all require methods with which to deal with our emotions and inner struggles is one thing, but teaching management of them would be, one would think, a fairly difficult task, especially in such a short time in the three-day, two-hour-per-day workshop that is being offered. Tolani explains that the workshop and Sri Sri are not about to solve all problems, more that it will provide people with simple and manageable methods to deal with them, as taken from ancient teachings.
“The roots of this workshop really lie in a very ancient text, in Sanskrit this text is called the Vigyan Bhairav, which translates to the ‘science of consciousness,’ and has all of these little tricks and secrets to propel the mind into an effortless state of meditation.”
Tolani also acknowledges society’s need for quick fixes and easily accessible means to an end. “Everyone is looking for bite-sized techniques and bite-sized solutions, and that’s what this is.”
People can read literature on the subject and get a basic grasp on the foundations of the teachings, but Tolani explains also that, although you may read and learn these methods, there is ultimately more to attaining complete understanding, and that is where Sri Sri Ravi Shankar steps in as a guide. “You need someone who understands meditation, who lives meditation, to almost decode (this information) and then share it with attendees and participants in a way where they’re understanding not just the knowledge of it, but having an experience of it as well. To have a true deep experience in its most authentic form.”
The workshop is intended to be beneficial to everyone, not just those who regularly practice meditation, but also those who are dipping their toes into the practice for the first time. “The process has been designed that it caters to pretty much anyone,” explains Tolani, “so for people who are looking to begin meditation this is a fantastic introduction. It’s also for people who have been meditating for awhile and who for some reason feel they have reached a plateau and are looking for something to bump it up, or for some people just to experience greater heights and depths in meditation … and that’s the beauty of the way that Sri Sri teaches his programs, there’s a world of depth in it, and yet these instructions are just so effortless and simple and easy.”
Tolani is excited to be bringing Sri Sri Ravi Shankar to Calgary for this event, noting how rare and special it is to be able to learn techniques from him. “(Sri Sri) says it’s not enough to just not commit acts of violence, when you are non violent you need to become so non violent that violence stops to exist around you. And that’s what we’ve experienced in his presence – he’s so full of love and peace that no matter what sort of an agitated state of mind you may go to him with, literally as soon as you enter the room you feel peaceful and quiet because that’s what he radiates so strongly.
“It’s the physical presence of great masters that’s really rare to find. Drop everything and come.”
The Unveiling Infinity Tour will take place at the Jack Singer Concert Hall July 17 – 19. For tickets and more information please click here.
Kari Watson is a writer and former Listings Editor of FFWD Weekly, and has continued to bring event listings to Calgary through theYYSCENE and her event listings page, The Culture Cycle. Contact her at email@example.com.