Thursday, January 28, 2016

Podcast on Creativity

I am a recent convert to podcasts, turned to them specially after my good friends visit from California. Anyways, off the many things I subscribe to now one thing I am regular with is Ted Radio hour from NPR. The podcast runs for an hour or so in which they combine multiple ted talks on a particular topic, in essence it is a superset of ted talks. 

One such Ted talk that I recently heard were on Creativity, they covered few different aspects for creativity
  1. Not being selfish, no me and mine 
  2. Ability to fall on your face and make mistakes
  3. Frontal cortex of brain or as we call Ego which monitors me and mine to be off
  4. Practice a lot of it also helps
  5. Creativity needs to be nurtured
  6. Showing up every day and being consistent about the process
All good points, one thing I really loved if they had covered was aspect of meditation. For a good meditation more than a few criterion listed above are to be met and in my experience more and more creative ideas flow right after a good meditation. As Shri Shri Ravishankar says for a good meditation, you want nothing, you are nothing and then sit with that attitude and meditation will happen. 

Our Art of Living center here in Austin do offer Meditation courses among others. Needless to say there is the Happiness Program which is also offered on a regular basis which helps one with the awareness of interaction between the different layers of existence.

On other hand people say, meditate on the issue that you want to solve and I believe that is the most useless thing to do.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

One world meditation

The title might seem off but no it was an actual event hosted by Art of Living foundation on January 17 2016. The event was a curtain raiser for the bigger event World Culture festival to be held in Delhi, India from March 11-13 2016. As you may already know we in Austin are also planning our own local curtain raiser and our folks decided a face to face meeting to be had right after the meditation.

My mind was completely occupied with the logistics for the event and how best we could make this event a grand success and so on, on top of it somehow we didn’t have the right link and when we tuned in for the meditation it had already started. This I believe was the first time that Facebook was hosting, unlike the previous times when youtube used to host and there were some delays in the audio. All in all when everyone else in the room was feeling wonderful after the meditation I didn’t pack the punch.
It was as though the universe heard my dilemma and on screen Sri Sri started talking again (we didn’t realize then but were re telecasting the meditation event) and out of curiosity the volume was increased and lo behold there was one more meditation to be done and this time with no breaks in the telecast and don’t know however many minutes later I opened the eyes and it was a peaceful and beautiful moment.

In case you missed the meditation and the Q and A that followed, don’t worry you can find it here

Monday, January 18, 2016

World culture festival–curtain riser in Austin

Every 4 years there is a Cricket world cup, same goes for Football or for that matter Olympics too but is there a world wide get together for culture and spirutuality?, I am not asking the question but the question is being asked by a great humanitarian Sri Sri Ravishakar.

Sri Sri Ravishankar (fondly known as Guruji), founder of Art of Living and other organizations operating under the umbrella of Art of Living. If I may steal his words, March 11-13 marks one such historical get together with cultural and spiritual events from all over the world, from Japan to South America showcased on a single stage in Delhi, India.

As a precursor to it, we started off with a bang today morning with 1 world 1 meditation event. The event was watched live from over 155 countries.

That said, as a next level in the run up to the festival we plan to do an official curtain riser here in Austin.

Date: February 6 2016
Venue: Art of Living center (13091 Pond Springs Road, suite 208, Austin TX 78729)
Time: 4:00-6:00PM

At a high level the plan is to get community and spiritual leaders from all over Austin under one roof and inspire and inform them about the world culture festival.

We would love your help in organizing and executing this event. There are multiple levels in which you can help (all the way from invites to planning and execution), Please contact Art of Living Austin for more details.

In case you are still wondering what WCF or world culture festival is,

World Culture Festival (WCF) will bring together over 3.5 million people from 150 countries representing different global cultures, nations and faiths as a one world family to celebrate cultural diversity and the Art of Living Foundation's 35 years of service to humanity. The Art of Living is a global movement founded by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar – an Indian humanitarian leader and peace ambassador.

The three-day celebration will open with a one-of-a kind peace meditation, for 3.5 million people, setting a new Guinness record for largest mediation gathering ever. The concert stage will host more than 10,000 artists who will play 40 traditional instruments in a never before seen symphony collaboration. WCF will also host an all-inclusive inter-faith meeting where international spiritual and religious leaders will participate in discussions on global concerns. Lastly, the Global Leadership Forum will occur on the second and third day of the event and will bring together leaders from varied backgrounds such as business, government, politics, sports, science, NGOs, spiritual and religious organizations, media and academia.

You can find more details by visiting the website

Friday, January 15, 2016

Welcome to the new Art of Living Austin center

Remember the blog post “Bye bye Lamar center”, in that I had mentioned in the last sentence “its time to translate the learning to a newer and better center”, we the Art of Living family are proud to announce that we have to a large extent (in my eyes) have exceeded that expectation and are almost ready to welcome you all to the new center, got to wait a couple of weeks before it will be officially open for business though. For the impatient few the address is 13091 Pond Springs Road, Suite 208 Austin TX 78729

I think that was a good teaser, now to the actual reality of things. We worked for almost 6 months and churned out 3 different Realtor's before narrowing down to Travis Waldrop who I must say almost miraculously found a space, negotiated a good deal and made us set for the next five years.

What did we gain from this new center? a fair question to ask and here is the list
  • 2600 SQFT of open customizable space, mind you even in retail spaces it is not easy to come by. 
  • A good retail location, there are advantages to it including extra parking spaces and one contiguous self contained space with better visibility 
  • Bigger meditation hall (~300 SQFT bigger than Lamar center) with cross ventilation for fresh air
  • Recessed lights in the meditation hall
  • A break room/kitchen (no cooking though) with counter tops and cabinets
  • Wood laminated floors for the whole center
  • 3 independent areas for conducting courses and events
  • In terms of sheer square footage we are almost 800 SQFT bigger than Lamar Center
  • All the above without substantially increasing our monthly operating expenses
Some of us did visit the under construction center today and were blown away the way it looks. Thanks to some of the volunteers who worked tirelessly in the search and planning phase for the new center. Apart from all the above good things that are coming with the center, it is an achievement to close 1 center and open an another one with only 2 months of non availability. 

February 1st is when we will officially get the keys for the new center and that is when we will be officially open for business.