I was recently invited to Unveiling Infinity, a three-evening meditation masterclass, held at Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto. Led by renowned Indian spiritual leader and global peace ambassador, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. Unveiling Infinity is about using meditation to reach a higher state of being; it’s an incredibly powerful way to rest our minds and find true inner peace.
Excited at the opportunity for a new spiritual adventure, I attempted to do as this acclaimed spiritual leader suggested, and first clear my mind, and then open it to the possibilities for learning and for allowing my higher consciousness to emerge. After all, if Sri Sri and his meditation techniques are bringing peace and transforming prisoners, at-risk youth and disaster victims around the world (link: http://us.iahv.org/iahv-programs/), I figure I’ve got to embrace this rare opportunity to elevate my own practice.
Vigyan Bhairav, The Science of Consciousness
Organized by The Art of Living Foundation, Sri Sri’s non-profit organization dedicated to bringing inner peace and well-being to the world, Unveiling Infinity is based on the essence of the ancient scriptures of the Vigyan Bhairav, a 5000+ year old manual that translates to ‘Science of Consciousness’, requiring the explanation of a meditation master like Sri Sri Ravi Shankar to decode it’s message.
As a life and leadership coach, I already try to incorporate meditation into my life to help with various things like increased focus, heightened awareness and as a way to destress, the exact benefits Sri Sri claims meditation promises. I’ve experienced the sense of peace it offers, and have read many books and articles on meditation from minimalist nomads to high-powered CEOs.
However, after spending two nights meditating with Sri Sri and a room full of people, I was inspired to try to incorporate much more meditation into my life. Having been guided over two evenings by the master himself, I was able to practice for much longer periods and the entire process got easier overall. As well, I have to admit that during the second evening, I experienced the most magical 40-minute guided meditation that left me in a state of peace for the entire night.
Witty and highly educated, Sri Sri told stories throughout the event, citing Indian spiritual concepts, Vedic philosophy and even scientific studies. He spoke about chakras, vibrations, and meditation. We learned about raising prana, the “Sanskrit Effect” and about the void reality we’re living in.
Meditation: What is it and How to do it
As noted in the ancient Vigyan Bhairav, there are 112 meditation techniques, all designed to help one attain inner silence. To think nothing – not about who you are, not about where you are, and not about what happened in the past or you need to do in the future. Meditation is a way to take a deep rest while at the same time staying alert and conscious.
Some people achieve this by sitting cross-legged in quiet rooms, others jog. Some people are able reach a meditative state by listening to water flowing, while others chant a mantra over and over to keep their focus.
Either way, as Sri Sri says, you don’t have to travel to the Himalayas, or change your lifestyle to meditate. A transformation is possible through regular practice (1-2 times a day) using whatever technique – breathing, mantras, visualization – works for you. He says waiting is meditation; even trying the impossible can be meditation.
When we can really clear our minds, we can move towards a sense of joy and calm without needing anything. We release the brain clutter, offering up space that allows us to be more alert and make better decisions; and we rest our minds, letting go of stress and anxiety.
(Free) Meditation for the World
I wasn’t able to attend the third night of the masterclass and thus sync with the raised vibrations of the group (apparently meditating in a group setting makes the experience more powerful). Fortunately, the teachings and wisdom are widely available online. Sri Sri himself has a blog and YouTube channel with guided meditations. A YouTube search shows 2.5 million results for ‘guided meditation’, while Vigyan Bhairav shows over 6000.
Following the experience, I’m not quite sure what yet has shifted for me. As I mentioned, I already commit to living a conscious life and consistently read anything I find around these ‘Science of Consciousness’ philosophies. From doing so, I am well aware of the constant need to meditate and clear our minds; as well as the necessity of surrounding ourselves with positivity.
How often does one have to meditate to experience this promised sense of inner harmony and remove deep-rooted stress?
As I experienced at the event, even one meditation can change bring change, even if only for a night. In my daily life, my sparse meditation practice has played a part in calming my thoughts and helping my make clearer decisions. It helps me feel more loving towards the world and less affected.
So, considering there are so many mindful ways to meditate and stop the thoughts running amok in our heads, why not practice often?
As Sri Sri would say, meditation is an art so we all can learn to do it. He asks us to open up to the possibilities for learning; to clear and rest our minds and allow our higher consciousness to emerge. Through this, he promises, we will find a deep inner peace.
The Art of Living presents Unveiling Infinity, a global meditation event with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. To learn more about the various happiness and well-being programs offered by The Art of Living, please visit the website.