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!

International Conference on Consciousness-Based Leadership and Management – summary report

Maharishi International University (Fairfield, Iowa, USA) organized a three-day International Conference on Consciousness-Based Leadership and Management, from May 21-23 2021, for mapping the path to Oneness and a flourishing humanity. The event was co-sponsored by the International Academy of Management through its Management, Spirituality and Religion (MSR) interest group. More than 1100 attendees from almost 400 cities around the world registered for the event. The event had 90+ speakers including Dr Tony Nader, Dr Robert Quinn, Dr. Subhash Kak, Dr. Anil Gupta, and other reputed professors from top institutions from the US, India, UK, Germany, Europe, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan, Indonesia, Equador, South Africa, and more. They also represented a wide range of fields including Management, Leadership, Music, Medicine, Computer Science, Quantum physics, Vedas, Ayurveda, Arts, Psychology, Consciousness, Sustainability, and more. They participated in 15 sessions of integral conversations and research presentations of 90 minutes each over three days. Our feedback surveys showed consistently high ratings and comments. Every session aimed to produce one or two principles towards a flourishing humanity.  We sincerely thank our board of advisors, which included Drs. Chris Laszlo, Judi Neal, Sharda Nandram, Satinder Dhiman, Kathryn Pavlovich, and Cathy DuBois, for their guidance and counsel in making this event a great success. We also wish to thank all the speaker and presenters for being a part of this journey.

There is a great demand for videos for replays and we have been working on editing them and making them available. Here is a wonderful playlist called Consciousness-Based leadership @ MIU, comprising of seven keynote and panel conversations, each of which is about 60-90 minutes long. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLs4GvULvBU44jIFWP4IaDCXb61lgLMk3Y

Here is a brief summary of the videos. The opening keynote conversation with Dr. Tony Nader lays out how consciousness is primary, which is a new paradigm with increasingly greater explanatory power. Then there is the transcendental keynote conversation where they lay out the benefits of transcendence, its neuroscience, and the path ahead.  Then there is the quantum and technological conversation where we discuss how quantum world leads us to different ways of leading and organizing, from an unboundarized and uncontainerized view of ourselves as the field of consciousness. Then there is the organizational cultural conversation where we discuss positive scholarship away from deficit and towards flourishing, and from workplace spirituality to global consciousness, as the organizing metaphors.  Then there is the panel conversation on Dialogic approaches where we begin with asserting that our words have more power than we think, in bringing about a harmonious world.  Then there is the panel conversation on the future of management education, where we agreed that the future is consciousness-based education, based on empathy and fairness and justice.  Then there is a panel on Vedic approaches to Oneness, beginning with Bhagavad Gita, and including other traditions towards unboundedness and self-transformation.

In addition, Here is the play list of about 25 pre-recorded short (7-8 minute each) research presentations by the authors themselves. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Io4mRLsEMjg&list=PLs4GvULvBU44ng3DX6qbDegNsS9lzzCCm

 Would appreciate if you could enjoy these videos, and post your comments.

Wish you a blissful and flourishing life!

Anil Maheshwari, Conference Organizer and Co-Chair

Covid19 Survey – US vs India

Covid-19 virus has unleashed mayhem in the world, and it has caused many deaths. The pattern of deaths has, however, been uneven. As of the date of publishing (May 18, 2020), there have been 30 times more deaths from #Covid19 in the US (90,000 deaths) than in India (3,000 deaths), even though the US has only one-fourth the population of India. I was curious to find out why it was so.

We conducted a quick 5-minute survey with a simple One-big-question of rank-ordering 9 factors in terms of their importance in causing this huge differential in death rates in the US and India. The 9 factors were: Demography (older population in the US); Sickness (high chronic conditions in the US); Immunity (Indian soil; Yoga, pranayama etc); Culture (greater social cohesion and family support in India); Public Policy (how seriously each country mounted a unified approach); Resources (availability of medical equipment); Genetics (difference in two populations); Diet (more vegetarians in India); Measurement (less reliable data from India). There was a None-of-the above option too. In addition, we added two question on their expectations of the way forward. One was about how long it will take to come out of Covid19 situation into normalcy. And the other was about what might be the markers for returning to normalcy.

We did convenience sampling using social media contacts of the researcher who should be in a position to compare and express their perceptions. 66 respondents from US, India, and other countries, filled out survey. Of the 66 respondents 60% were resident in India, 29% in the US, and 11% in other countries. The respondents including 55% from the researcher’s own age cohort of 55-64 years, while 42% were younger. A couple of respondents were over 65 years. The respondents were 71% male and 29% female.

Here are the main results (see bar chart below). Demographics (Older population) in the US was perceived to be the major cause of higher deaths from Covid-19 in the US than in India. Public policy choices and higher rates of Chronic sickness in the US were also identified as the next important causes for higher deaths in the US compared with India. Higher levels of Immunity was ranked highest as the major reason for lower death rates in India. Culture, Diet and Genetics received only moderate support. Surprisingly, availability of resources was ranked as least important cause.

66 Respondents’ ranking of 9 factors to explain differential death rates in USA and India

Moving forward, half the people (48%) said that it will take 1-2 years to return to normalcy. 31% of respondents said it will take less than one year, while 21% said it will take more than 2 years (see pie-chart below). US residents were twice as likely as Indian residents to think that it might take 2 or more years. For return to normalcy, the preferred enablers were availability of a tried and tested vaccine and a tested cure for Covid19, in that order (see bar graph below). Declining death rates were a lesser important marker, while availability of resources such as PPE was considered the least important marker.

66 Respondents’ expectations of time frame for return to normalcy
66 Respondents’ ranking of factors for return to normalcy

Here below is some more granular analysis.

Age: Respondents in 55-64 years ranked Public policy and Measurement issues higher, while those in 35-44 age group ranked Immunity and Culture (social cohesion) higher, as factors for explaining the differential death rates.

Gender: Male respondents ranked Demographics (aging population) and Measurement issues higher, while Female respondents prioritized Immunity, Diet, and Availability of resources.

Location: Respondents living in Rest of the World (11% of total) ranked Public policy choices and Measurement issues by a wider margin than those living within the US and India. Indian residents ranked Immunity and Culture (social cohesion) as more important. US residents ranked Public policy and availability of Resources as more important issues.

Additional comments from Respondents: One respondent wrote that it may be taboo in the Indian culture to report Covid death from a social stigma perspective. One reported that there is greater resilience to pain in India. One reported that traditional Indian homes include a central space to grow Ayurvedic plants such as Tulsi. Some reported that the cause as well as cure for Covid19 were unclear and should be thoroughly investigated.

Summary: This survey shows that there are different perceptions of what has caused dramatically lower death rates reported in India compared to the US. Development of immunity is considered the best ameliorating factor. An effective public health policy could be another.

Lessons learned: Healthy holistic lifestyle including Yoga Sutras based practices such as asanas, pranayama, and meditation are among the best ways to a create a strong platform of immunity on which specific vaccines can work effectively! In fact, the development of a special vaccine for Covid-19 is essentially a way to increase immunity against this specific virus.

Covid-19 is a very important world-transforming, life-and-death matter. Please write to us as to what you think. If you wish, you may also take 5 minutes to fill out this survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CovidAKM . Thank you!

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.

Conversations with God: Bernie, Biden, & Tulsi

Conversations with God: Bernie, Biden, & Tulsi

GOD: Welcome my children. You all want to be leaders of the free world. Tell me why.

Biden: I have given whole my life to this country. I have served Obama for 8 years. That is a BFD (Big uh …you know). I love the Clintons. I followed her on the Iraq war vote. I can finish her unfinished work. I can beat Trump. I have been accused of plagiarism, but that was long ago. I supported Clarence Thomas, though I should not have bought his malarkey and should have supported Anita Hill. Look, the black people are supporting me. I will be the next black president. @joebiden

Bernie: The current system is not working for the majority of the American people. We need universal health care, and free college. We need Green New Deal.  I am consistently social democratic. My campaign is fueled by ordinary people and their small contributions. There is a revolution brewing in this country. I can beat Trump by bringing young people into the campaign. @berniesanders

Tulsi: I am young, healthy, fit, woman of color, and represent the future. I am a veteran put service above self by volunteering for defense services for 16 years, and deploying twice in the middle east. I have been on the right committees related to war and foreign affairs in Congress for over 7 years. We need to stop the wars, and invest at home.  I had the foresight to not vote for impeaching Trump, as that only played into energizing his base. I am not afraid of Trump. @tulsigabbard

GOD: Excellent. Some of you are like Mt Rushmore, as you have been around for a very long time. Why should health and age of your body not be an issue for this campaign?

Biden: I am fit, and thin. I usually remember what I am saying.

Bernie: I had a heart attack. But I am fit again. I am keeping a strenuous pace.

Tulsi: (smiles) It is the age of ideas I am most concerned about. We should reinvest savings from wasteful foreign wars into this country.

GOD: Will you support the eventual nominee of your party?

Biden: That would be me.

Bernie: It is up to the American people.

Tulsi: I think so. I am in this campaign to raise the right issues. I supported Bernie four years ago, and resigned from DNC to protest their favoritism towards the Clintons.

GOD: What would you do about Coronavirus?

Biden: Huh ? Corona … what? Whatever it is we can bring it under control.

Biden: We need universal health care. No one should live under the fear of not being being able to get the care they need.

Tulsi: This is a test of leadership. We need to be proactive in testing for this and other potential conditions, and then preventing it from spreading.

GOD: You are all doing well. Have a good time on the campaign trail. Stay healthy. Wish you all the best!

 

Why Tulsi Gabbard is the best candidate in this 2020 Presidential race

Aloha! I believe that Ms. Tulsi Gabbard is the best candidate in this 2020 presidential race.

First, Tulsi holds the bigger picture in mind. She focuses on World Peace. She focuses on the global environment. Her message is about humanity as a whole, even though she focuses first and foremost on the health and welfare of the American people.

Second, she is against wasteful unending regime-change wars that serve mostly commercial interests of the military-industrial complex. She volunteered for two tours of active military duty. She is fearless and can meet just as calmly with foes as with friends. Those foes include the vested interests inside the country. She wants a government truly of, by, and for the people.

Third, she is determined and takes initiative with a fierce sense of urgency. She does not take anything for granted. Coming from the island state of Hawaii reminds her of the constant dangers of nuclear wars, environmental disasters, and the devastation of the local people and cultures. She introduced a comprehensive bill against use of fossil fuels, which can become a cornerstone of the Green New Deal!

Fourth, she is an excellent communicator. She is an active listener and, surprisingly and refreshingly, answers the questions that are asked of her. She speaks truth to power. She is a good debater and brings out the truth in the most accessible way while cutting through other people’s circumambulations.

Finally, as a person, she is remarkably talented and attractive. Tulsi Gabbard has the temperament of a centered and experienced leader, and the warmth and innocence of a girl next door. She is a friendly and compassionate person who hugs easily and warmly. She speaks of service with love. Her voice is measured, and her speech is to the point.

Truth will win, ultimately! Truth and Non-violence go together and win, as Mahatma Gandhi showed! Tulsi is committed to truth-telling and to promoting World Peace. No other candidate comes even close! That is why Tulsi IS the best candidate in this race.

One last thing …. she is very young and has a lot of time ahead of her. So, irrespective of what happens in 2020, she has a tremendous opportunity to make impact on this country and the world. Like the other young Hawaiian-born candidate before her, she is destined for the White House!!

 

 

Increasing self-awareness

Do I know the context around me, the neighborhood and the neighbors, the friends and family, now and over the many decades of my life? The answer is that I hardly know things and people around me. I barely know my own full reactions to most of the situations I found myself in. I have a few pet theories of who I am, and who were responsible for guiding me. These are super simplifications that do not help come up with productive and promising ideas for the future. I think it is important now to know all or more around me.

What does it mean to know a person? How does one define a person? By their accomplishments or their goals, by their friends, or by how they carry themselves? We can seek out and learn about their interests. And accept whatever they are, positive or negative. It can take a long time to know people.

What does it mean to know a neighborhood or a situation? The neighborhood is about its support for life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. Safety. Limited regulations. Liveliness of activity. Plenty of wealth around. The situation would depend upon its difficulty and its impact on oneself, and how much one can do about it.

I think it is important to retain a sense of personal agency about oneself and the situations one finds oneself in. It is helpful to stop obsessing about one’s own interests and goals and accomplishments. The world is deeply interconnected and there is hardly anything one can accomplish without support from and alignment with the context around oneself.

 

#MeToo for a Blissful, Peaceful World

The #MeToo movement is going global. It is creating new conversations that are somewhat discomforting, but which can be opportunities for discussing the undiscussable and raising the collective consciousness of the world. Recently a classmate of mine who is a professor in a university in the US found the courage to share in a public group, during an ongoing charged conversation on sexual insensitivity and harassment, that she had been a victim of sexual abuse/assault. This revelation could have polarized the group, but the group decided to pursue it to its logical end. But very soon the intensity of the topic died down. The topic is still the phantom 800 lb gorilla in our WhatsApp group and is impacting the language being used in the conversations. It is also making some men in the group uncomfortable as they are having to watch their every word. What is the point of the conversation, they ask. They just want to be themselves. However, they will necessarily have to change their tonality moving forward because status quo is not acceptable any more, and having friendly conversations with longtime classmate buddies is just too pleasurable to give up.

Sexual abuse and assault and harassment are just one of the categories of buried injustices in the world. Racial profiling and injustice in the US, and caste-based exploitation and injustice in India, are a couple of other prominent examples. This buried injustice and anger is finding its way out through social media. These eruptions threaten to rip apart all societies and their cherished models of control, just like it brought about Arab Spring. In some ways, just getting heard is highly cathartic for the individual and the society. Free from this heavy emotional baggage, hitherto disadvantaged people can have the opportunity to purify their perceptions. They will find bliss within. They will become the peace they want to see in the world. And the world will be blissful and peaceful!

Transcendence in Life and Society

In some ways, transcendence is the recovery of the primal innocence we were all born with. We all emanated from some womb, through a similar process. Then we gathered the elements which bulked up our body. We gathered sensations that grew our mind. Then we began to develop our bodies and minds … making them sharp, beautiful, strong. We fell in love with these growing things, and we began to totally identify with our body and mind. We forgot our own selves, the little seed of awareness within. We began to worry about the potential loss of the body and the mind. We frantically began to covet resources of all kinds to protect the body and mind. At some point, we forgot our body and mind also and began to love the growing riches of stuff and resources Then we began to live in the dream state of life. Our coworkers became resources. Relationships became assets too. Instead of transcending to the state of freedom from thoughts and things, we began to become a thing ourselves. The objectification is almost complete. Then we enter the slumber state.  We are now manipulated by legal drugs, junk food, mindless entertainment, and constant interruption. Shhh … what/who is manipulating us? We will soon become automatons. Robots impress us as nearly as good as ourselves. We are being enhanced by robots. Soon robots will decide if they need us sleeping hydrocarbon blobs.

Suddenly some one wakes up from slumber. Oh my! This is not me. I am aware that this is not me. I am eternal awareness. I can’t be destroyed. I don’t have to worry. I don’t need much. I am invincible. I am unbounded. What’s going on, I wonder. Air does not need to be toxic. The water either. We can grow little wholesome food in our backyard. We have plenty of sunlight. We can be free. Autonomous. We can live on endlessly. And blissfully. Let’s spread some bliss around. However, others don’t believe our bliss. They live in Plato’s caves. We try telling them that they are seeing is the shadows, and that they should venture out in the open to see enjoy free life. They laugh it off as cranky and weird. Well, some of them muster the courage to try it. And voila! They find it different. Refreshing. Unbounded. Lively. Healed. Happy. Joy and Bliss. Our growing numbers and energies are now devoted to work on liberation of all, and on the healing journey for all. That is all there is to do. Everyone can be free to be compassionate. And slowly the world begins to become blissful again. And then exponentially so. And the world is happy and healed ever after.

P.S. What happens to robots? Well, they continue to grow more powerful and useful. They clean up our soil at our command. They plough and tend to our vegetable gardens. They do all the chores we want done. What happens to the information machines and Artificial Intelligence? Well, they are rolled into robots. Finally, what happens to the evil empire who wants to keep us all hooked and dependent in the caves? Well, the liberated ones scared the crap out of it. Little innocent children can scare the big bad bully out of its evil ways. Watch the Pixar movie ‘A Bug’s Life’ for inspiration.