Meet H. H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. Most people conjure up images of icy mountain tops, dark caves, and waterfalls when they picture enlightened individuals. Sri Sri prefers bringing relief to traumatized victims of natural disasters, smiles to those caught up in war zones, and prisoners who’ve never experienced an ounce of compassion. But that’s just the beginning, over the last 30 years, he’s built one of the most active volunteer-based non-governmental organizations in the world, The Art of Living Foundation. Here is a snippet of the areas in which they are active, disaster relief, sustainable rural development, empowerment of women, prisoner rehabilitation,education for all, and environmental sustainability. If you had trouble counting, you’re not alone, the Foundation has charitable status and is recognized in well-over 140+ countries around the world, not to mention their consultative status with the Economic, Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations.
So, how does one man accomplish all this? Simple,with a vision so ideal, and actions so practical, that other’s can’t help but get inspired and infected by a deep sense of personal responsibility and ownership for not only their own lives but for the world around them. “What is that vision?” you ask. Simple, a “stress-free and violence-free society”. Now you’re probably wondering, “How?”.
To start, the Foundation offers a series of workshops and seminars that integrate Eastern wisdom, simple breathing exercises, yoga and meditation to first give the individual a peaceful and calm mind, so that the individual may become inspired to look to do something for others. Sri Sri will be personally teaching a one-day workshop encompassing all those components on April 15 at the Radisson Hotel in Richmond.
That takes care of making Vancouver stress-free, now you’re probably wondering about the violence-free part. To address that, Sri Sri will be hosting a symposium and panel discussion with leaders from all spiritual denominations to look at solutions to the increasing rate of youth violence in our schools and communities. The event, taking place at the St. Andrew’s-Wesley Church on April 16 is rightfully dubbed “HumanKind” and will be a one-of-a-kind occasion where commonly attributed labels of religion, ethnicity, and culture are set aside, and the most obvious label, “Human” will be in the spotlight. Curious to learn more? For more information and to register for the events, visit www.srisrivancouver.ca.