Maharishi International University (MIU): Epicenter of Peace

MIU’s Global Country of World Peace is a beautiful organization that embodies what we are:  peace-loving citizens of the world, who are not divided by political or governmental surface levels of difference. As Maharishi said: What we put our attention on grows stronger. We are coming together and experiencing that field of life which is the field of unity consciousness – the unified field of natural law. Vedic technologies of consciousness, that operate from this deepest level of natural law, are a million times are more powerful than nuclear technologies.

MIU launched an Institute for Permanent Peace (IPP) this month, for applying a scientifically validated Vedic approach to creating an environment for permanent world peace. It is urgently needed to mitigate an existential risk from local wars evolving into an uncontrollable global conflagration. The purpose can be achieved by the sustained group practice of Vedic technologies, including Transcendental Meditation™ and TM-Sidhis, to create coherence in global collective consciousness.  The square root of 1% of any population—about 10,000 for the world– practicing these technologies in a group is sufficient to form a lighthouse of peace and prosperity for the whole world. Over 50 demonstrations and 23 scientific published studies have documented the benefits of large group practice of TM and its related advanced techniques on society as a whole. In every case, this approach produced marked reductions in crime, social violence, terrorism, and war, and increased peace and positivity in society.

IPP is proposing the creation of a permanent coherence-creating group comprised of 10,000 specially- trained Vedic experts to perform yoga and yagya. Results will be measured and monitored by an independent board of scientists.  Global celebrities have expressed support for the project. IPP broke ground on a project to create Vastu housing for thousands of such Vedic experts to live on MIU’s campus in Fairfield, Iowa. 

Meeting with India’s finest actor Anupam Kher

Noted filmmaker David Lynch, founder of an international charity that has brought Transcendental Meditation to more than one million under-resourced children worldwide, has issued a challenge to the world’s philanthropists: use a fraction of your wealth to establish large groups of advanced peace-creating Vedic experts in Ukraine and other critical hotspots, and leave a legacy of world peace that will last for generations.  https://davidlynch.gusp.org/

Fall Like A Feather

I met an elderly gentleman, Alan, who is an awakened soul. He told me that not too long ago he slipped on black ice, and fell like a feather. His whole body fell down on concrete, but he was not hurt at all. He fell flat softly in a way that all the parts of his body touched the ground together. Only the phone in his hand suffered a minor scratch. That seems like a miracle.  

On the other hand, an elderly close relative of mine, recently fell and broke his hip. It took him more than an year to recover from the surgery. Similarly, a good friend of mine, who is much younger than me, slipped on black ice a few years ago, and hurt the back of his head. He was taken to hospital in time to stop the bleeding from the back of his head. He is doing fine.

Is there an art to falling? That sounds like a silly question. However, I hear some wise people advising that falling is a given, and the important thing is whether one will dust up and get up and going again. Do some people perhaps fall at the wrong angle, or do they try to protect himself while falling? Do they panic while falling? It is hard to tell, unless one is present on the scene. Falling happens in a flash, in a split second with the full force of gravity.

I ask myself again, is there an art to falling? AARP says that the ‘world is full of banana peels’. So, avoiding a fall is a primary goal. However, they advise a few things on how to ‘fall safely’. Stay bent, protect your head, land on the meat, and keep falling. “Spread the impact across a larger part of your body; don’t concentrate impact on one area,” it says. The more you roll with the fall, the safer you will be. Their tips for preparation are: Be here now, get your eyesight checked (remember, … banana peels), and boost your balance with appropriate exercises.

So, yes, I think that there is a way to fall softly like a feather. The way is to be mindful and roll with the fall. Accept it. Let it be. Resisting a natural fall can be more dangerous than simply falling. Accept falls. I have fallen many times in life. Most times, till about a decade ago, the falls in life and career felt like personal failures and were devastating to mind and body. But in the last decade I can hardly remember a fall. A fall is a fall if we pay attention to it, and try to prevent it. The trick to falling like a feather is to become soft and light as a flower.

Live lightly!

Capabilities we must develop in 21st century business schools

The world in changing exponentially. We are all students now, and forever. Perhaps the most important meta-skill is to learn how and what to learn. Business schools need to develop the capabilities of the heart that will make the students ready for productive and fulfilling work in the 21st century. They need to prepare students for creating the likes of Uber and such companies that work in an era of abundance, which is very different from the earlier era of persistent material shortages.  The young as well as more mature business student need to be able to feel and articulate their deep sense of purpose, and to be able to flourish through a non-ending stream of transformations.

The required capabilities are Confidence, Creativity, Collaboration, and Courage.

  • Confidence means being able to holistically know oneself, the desires and expertise, well enough to stand for one’s words, decisions, and actions. Confidence has been the most important thing to work well, even in the last century, though technical knowledge has also become progressively important.
  • Creativity means thinking outside the box, beyond what has been done in the past. It also means helping others find novel solutions to the problems they face, and helping people grow. One needs to be open to continuous learning and admitting errors of mis-perceptions or ignorance,
  • Collaboration means teamwork, asking for help, not being focused much on course grades and comparative markers, and keeping one’s ego in check. One needs to take complete ownership of the work or the project, along with the team.
  • Courage is an attribute of the soul, and means the ability to function despite adversity and fear. It includes resilience, grit, determination, and the practice of discipline in the face or uncertainty and ambiguity. It means taking ownership of one’s life and purpose through thick and thin.

The way to develop these skills is through group exercises, projects, travels, celebrations, paid internships, and the like. These are not communicated through words, even though we are using words here to communicate these ideas. These exercises should be graded in an appreciative manner, with rich positive, timely feedback from a nurturing teacher / mentor.  

These capabilities may however be underdeveloped during the earlier years of schooling. The grade schools work on a process model, leaving little room for digressions and diversions to account for different ways of learning and different life goals. Just like schools have different course streams for science or commerce or arts students, and just as there are special education systems for the learning impaired, so also there should be different ways of teaching students of different kinds.  As Einstein said, teaching a monkey to swim, and a fish to climb trees would not be productive or fulfilling. The race to get admissions into desirable and prestigious colleges is intense and can have major impact on the quality of future life. Admission into the top colleges like Harvard can be very beneficial in many ways. However, the rat race to prepare for that single objective may rob all sense of joy in the formative years of the students.

Development of consciousness through regular practice of contemplation and reflection, such as Transcendental meditation, may help prepare the heart for developing these capabilities throughout life.

We are more than we think

Our thinking is limited to things one can think about. Some of those things are sense objects and some are mental objects. Our perceptions and feelings are difficult to think about. Our being is beyond thinking. 

We know more than we can tell. That is tacit knowledge. Our words have more power than we think. These could be words spoken with others or with oneself. This is our latent power. 

We exist in more ways than we can tell: The body, the mind, the intellect, the spirit, the soul. We are the unbounded Brahman.  At some level of thinking all these things vanish. We become no-thing. No-thing is actually everything. But there is no way to think about everything.

We have more than we know. We have all the laws of nature within us. We exist in conformance with, and are the manifestation, of all the laws of nature. We permeate every part of every galaxy. 

We are beyond qualities, beyond names, beyond words, beyond language. We transcend and include all of those. We are silence in dynamism, wholeness in motion. We are naturally blissful, like the earth is grassfull and the sky is starfull. 

We are naturally full, or fullness, or wholeness. We just need to be aware of it at every moment. We are a wave flowing and rising and falling. Particle wise, we are at best a little boat that rises and ebbs with the waves. The life force naturally flows through us in its own rhythm.

As Pascal said, the Heart has its reasons, that Reason has no knowledge of. Nurture your own heart. Be with those that nurture your heart. Let your heart swell with joy. Share the joy with the others. And you will get 10x in return. And the whole world will be one big happy family!

Life is a donut!

Life is a donut. 🍩 (or doughnut).

We are donuts. Our bodies are donuts. Bodies have a hollow tube running through them. When the hollow tube remains flowing and clean, our bodies are healthy. The moment it clogs, diseases appear. Our life is also like a donut with a hollow hollow tube through it.  The upper side of the donut is the absolute, the unbounded cosmos. The bottom part of the donut is the relative, bounded by resting on the earth. Both sides are essential. So long as the hole in this donut connects the absolute with the relative, the mind functions well and remains healthy. Life gets into unbounded flow at some times, while remains engaged in specific chores at other times. 

When we eat too much or eat junk stuff, our body’s hollow tube begins to clog. When we don’t flush it down it with enough water the tube clogs. Similarly if we take in too much data and information we need time and energy to digest it. Undigested information clogs the hollow tube. The connection between the top and the bottom of the donut gets clogged. The donut becomes more like a pancake. At that point, the view is mostly of the relative side of life, the bottom of the pancake, and the view of the top is totally obscured.  Yogic techniques such as pratyaahara are ways to unclog our mind. Meditation helps to reopen the hollow tube of the mind and makes the pancake back into a donut. Attention of the mind goes round and round in the donut in a self-referral manner, even as it connects with the infinity above and the minuscule stuff below.  

A donut can be fresh thick soft and sweet. It can be glazed and have toppings, and be of different sizes. Similarly our life can be fresh expansive smiling joyful and grateful. It can have its idiosyncracies and passions and wisdom. OR else life can be short brutal nasty dour fearful stale and putrefying. 

Be a fresh donut 🍩everyday.  

Social Business for a Post-Covid Compassionate World

Nobel Peace laureate Dr. Muhammad Yunus (Grameen Bank) delivered a beautiful bold talk this morning to the International Humanistic Management Association. Here is the link to the video, https://youtu.be/WFwK8bzIKW0 … and a summary of my notes.

The global economic machine is broken. Coronavirus has done us a favor. We should create a bank for rural entrepreneurs. Call it emerging, or potential sector instead of an informal sector. Young people should not have to go to cities and face harassment. Rural economy should not be a footnote to the urban economy. These are social businesses. More than 50% of people work in the informal sector. Urban economy consumes rural labor and makes money for themselves. Rural economy should not become a footnote to urban economy. Distance has become unimportant. The business idea has become important. We don’t want to go back to the old economy. We want to go forward and design a new world.

This is a crisis, but also a great opportunity to create global social businesses for coronavirus solutions. Globalization has deepened. e.g. the same virus impacts everyone. The narrow view is about how to make money. There are only a few companies who own a chunk of medicine business. The medicine solution should be for the benefit of the people, not to make a profit.

Rural areas don’t need to wait for urban buyers. We will process our produce here. We are not at the mercy of the urban buyers. We will deal on equal terms. Governments have not done much for the informal sector. Bangladesh has Ministry of Labor at all levels of the government. We will create our own chambers of commerce. Rural social businesses have full rights.

Academics have had a big role in creating this misery. We have contaminated the young minds with wrong ideas about a selfish world. There are social businesses that are not motivated by private interest but by common interest. We have to take care of the future of the world and our children and grandchildren. Social businesses can be in rural areas as well as urban areas.

How to get the economic machine to come out of coma, and put it to good use? We are pouring trillions of dollars into the machine, so the money is there. We should not pour into the fossil fuel industry. We should move into a new world. Scaling up is not a problem because the money is there. Invest in the companies that are solving the problem. Anyone who can help lead to this new world will win Nobel Prizes. Business education should not be only to make money for others. That is the conventional MBA for a soldier (general, gladiators) to make money for corporations. The alternative is the social MBA. Its purpose is to solve social problems of the world in the fastest way. How to inspire people to do that. This is a good time to start a social MBA program.

Being vs Doing

No matter what we do, there is always a feeling of exhaustion and boredom after some time. Whether we are talking or walking, eating or reading, there is an exhaustion of sense organs and physical limbs. The only thing that does not bring an exhaustion, but brings in new energy, is to just Be. What is Being, and how is it different from Doing?  

Being is to just Be what one truly is. We are pure consciousness. When we witness our Self, there is a great effortless feeling of lightness and joy. Freedom from boundaries of space-time releases us into a light, open unbounded space where all is one, and it feels invincible and awe-inspiring. This awareness of our unbounded self brings us closer to knowing the truly limitless nature of our capabilities – be it creativity, imagination, ideas, knowledge, energy, or anything else.

How does one just Be? It is by first understanding that to be is not to see our physical body or to even to see our mind or feelings. These can be paths to Become, but Being ultimately transcends all these manifestations of body and mind. There are many paths to Being. Maharishi Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras provides an eight-limbed path to Be. One can begin to Be by following the behavioral principles of non-violence and truth. One can begin to Be using physical asanas or the breathing practices of pranayama. One can begin with withdrawing the sense organs inward through pratyahara. One can also turn ones attention totally inwards through dharana, dhyana and samadhi. The last three techniques are totally internal activities that are done b turning the attention inward, after the body and mind have been stilled. Just as one can see a clear reflection of unbounded sky in a clear lake, so also one can see our unbounded consciousness reflected within ourselves when the mind has been stilled.

Doing vs Being vs Having thus becomes a matter of politics of goals. There are many goals competing for our attention. Being joyful and healthy is usually an obvious primary goal. However, the goals of having superior means (such as wealth) tend to have their own charm. The goals of personal development (such as widening one’s knowledge and experience base) have their own charm. Thus, there is a plethora of goals in the relative domain. While those goals remain useful to the extent we are an embodied Being, we should also not ignore the fact that the body is good only to the extent it houses our Being, our Life force itself. It would be good just Be, at least some of the time!

Yoga Sutras is Positive Psychology

Yoga means union or addition. Positive means on the growing side of the number line. Positive is represented by the same + (plus) sign as is addition or union. It is not a coincidence. Maharishi Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras is indeed Positive Psychology.

Positivity works on the principle of optimism about the future, and one’s confidence to grow and face any challenges in being able to enjoy life. Optimism comes from the implicit realization that the rest of the universe is working to guide us in the direction of growth and joy. Optimism is like finding a home in the inner Being, which is pure consciousness. This pure awareness is the unified field of all the laws of nature, which guides us through the principle of least action to do less accomplish more. The concept of inner strength comes from this self-realization of self as an unbounded invincible being.

Positive Psychology is the science of well-being. Dr. Martin Feldman of University of Pennsylvania started this field in 1997 with a speech as the president of American Psychological Association. He presents a five-factor model for wellbeing–  in the acronym of PERMA. The five letters stand for Positive Emotion, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning & purpose, and Achievements. Further research on positive psychology found that Self-discipline and Grit are more important than IQ or talent for achieving success and happiness. They also found that gratitude, hope and love are the most correlated with well-being. The single best predictor of well-being is gratitude, by far.

Yoga Sutras provide an eight-limbed path for union with unbounded pure consciousness. The first limb is yama. The relative world can be thought of in terms of the rules that govern relationships between individuals. The Yama, the master administrator, uses those rules to govern and see who has done how much good and should receive how much happiness. The five yamas are Satya (truth), Ahimsa (non-violence), Asteya (non-attachment), Brahmacharya (celibacy), and Aparigraha (non-possession). These five yamas structure the unity of natural laws to govern. The second limb of Yoga Sutras is niyama, or a set of rules for personal conduct. The five main niyamas are Shauch (cleanliness or purity), Santosh (contentment or satisfaction), Tapas (purification through strong effort), Swadhaya (self learning), and Ishawarpranidhan (bringing god into one’s awareness).

Yoga Sutras are a great path to developing the qualities for gratefulness and happiness. Gratitude directly maps to god-awareness, or appreciation for the gift of life. I wrote earlier on this blog that “what makes people most happy is to be present, to be here now! We are happy when we are fully engaged in whatever we are doing at the moment. Gratitude and Forgiveness are other habits that bring happiness.”   I believe that Positive Psychology is a secular version of Yoga Sutras.