Question & Answers with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Q: How do breathing techniques and meditation benefit those with heart disease?
Sri Sri: Breathing and meditation have been found to lower cholesterol and strengthen the heart. They lower stress and control hormones by making a positive impact on the endocrine system. There have been several studies and research is still going on.
Q: What advice do you have for parents handling teenagers?
Sri Sri: The ‘Art of Living’ Foundation has wonderful programs like ‘Know Your Child’ Workshops which can help parents understand their children better.
Q: How to handle stress without conflict?
Sri Sri: First find inner peace, and then you can handle situations. When you are peaceful, then the solutions come. Do you mean problems in relationships? If your question is about conflict between spouses, then there are three options.
Advice for women – Don’t ask your husband to prove himself. Pump his ego. The whole world might say that he is an empty head, but you as a wife must always praise him. You can tell him, “You are brilliant. It is a different thing that you don’t use your bright mind”. Never step on his ego. He has to prove himself in the world, but he wants to relax when he comes home. He shouldn’t have to prove himself at home.
Advice for men - Never step on the emotions of your wife. She will tell you the problems at her home and may complain about her father, brother or relatives. But if you join her bandwagon, she will take a U turn. If she wants to go on a spiritual or religious program, don’t stop her. If she wants to shop, give her your credit card.
Advice for both - Never question someone’s love for you. If someone asks you to prove your love to him or her, how would you feel? It is like a burden. Demand destroys love. Never demand love. Instead of this you say, “Why do you love me so much? I am not worthy of your love”. The moment you say this, the other person will melt and start loving you even more, and will even forgive you for your mistakes.
Q: What are you the most optimistic about in the world?
Sri Sri: I’m realistic about my vision. So far ’The Art of Living’ has reached about 151 countries. So many people are learning these techniques today. If the technology of cell phones can reach everywhere in the world, why would techniques & wisdom that make people happy and peaceful not reach every home? They definitely will. We should have a vision to do something that appears impossible and make it possible. It is my habit and hobby!
Q: What is beyond the experience we call death?
Sri Sri: Why do you want to know everything right away? I don’t want you to be bored even after you die! Let’s first understand life. We can understand death later.
Q: What is the mind capable of during sleep? Is it possible to transcend all states of consciousness?
Sri Sri: Yes. In the waking state, you get the best rest and nourishment through knowledge. Dreaming state is deep rest. Sleep is even deeper rest. The fourth state is the meditative state.
Q: According to Vedanta we are all one. But we have different personalities and ideas. Can you explain?
Sri Sri: Everything is made up of atoms. Like furniture is made of wood. The door, the bench, the table, the chair are all made of wood. Wood is in each of these things. But the roles are different. The door cannot be used as a chair, nor can a table be used as a door. Quantum Physics is based on the principle of Advaita (non duality).
Q: What is the first thing we should do when we wake up in the morning and the last thing before we go to sleep?
Sri Sri: Look at your face in the mirror and give yourself a big smile. If you can’t smile, you can frown. You will gradually start smiling.
Q: Do you believe that this is the time and age for large-scale global transformation of human evolution?
Sri Sri: Thirty years ago, there was so much prejudice towards spirituality and wisdom. People would want to keep it at an arm’s length and blindly believe that it is not for them. Today there is acceptance. People are willing to try and see that something benefits them and are less prejudiced. With this, more human values will surface. And don’t worry about 2012. The world will not collapse. I assure you that.
Q: How does one live without expectations and still achieve great things in life?
Sri Sri: You have all that you need to blossom. Do Sudarshan Kriya, do meditation. In ‘Part 2/ Art of Silence’ program, participants experience blossoming of their talents and new skills start developing.