Q-According to you what kind of impact will it have if every single person in the prison meditates?
Dushyant Savadia - Firstly the prisons will get emptier sooner than expected and secondly, the society will have stronger, more empowered individuals reintegrating into the community. They will be more aware, more responsible and more committed individuals with a zest to serve and contribute. Meditation gives you the gift of wanting to help and serve the environment around you.
Without these tools and techniques for rehabilitation, the prisoners who come out of a correctional facility, are going to carry the resentment of the past and the anger, and violence. Reoffending becomes a vicious cycle thus keeping the prisons occupied. They miss out on the unique opportunity of healing themselves and the people around them.
The biggest gift they have inside the prison is time! Meditation strengthens their mind and emotions and they learn about the value of life. They then can spread goodness into the society, thus becoming an inspiration to others around them.
Q-We also heard that you in collaboration with the famous grammy award singer Shaggy from Jamaica are planning to bring transformation through music and meditation in prisons. Could you talk a little more about this project?
Dushyant Savadia- Well, meditation helps one relax and music helps that relaxation to expand. Shaggy, a popular reggae singer and well known philanthropist, learnt meditation a few months ago, and together, we want to inspire the inmates to move from noise to music, from anger to harmony, from agitation to relaxation. So while we strengthen them individually through meditation, we unite them through music.
Q-You have also taught meditation to people in the inner city communities of Jamaica where violence and crimes are well known fact, could you share some experiences from those participants?
Dushyant Savadia- When I was teaching in the inner city communities where violence is very common, many said that had they learnt these techniques before, they would have chosen peace over conflict and violence.
These people have unfortunately never tasted peace, because their mind is constantly bogged down with stress and anger. A stressed mind chooses violence but a calm mind, which we get from meditation, chooses peace. Meditation gave them the ability to make the right choices in life.
However, there is much work to do in these innercity areas at the grass root level, and we have just begun!
Q-You have shared so much about transformation in prisons & inner city communities. We would like to know your own transformation story too.
Dushyant Savadia- By the time I was 19 years old. I was an alcoholic and a chain smoker. I was violent and an extremely angry individual, and my parents who could not handle the stress any longer,threw me out of the house and that is how my journey began.
I came to Delhi and I did some small odd jobs to survive. I got introduced to meditation on an art of living course where my experience was very powerful and fulfilling. I got out of my addiction with the help of these incredible tools… I quit smoking and drinking effortlessly.
I firmly believe that meditation has been a 100% antidote. Meditation has also enhanced my creativity and tapped into my inner self. My intutive abilites surfaced and I became a stronger, more self-empowered individual.
In 1999, I became an Art of Living teacher. In 2011, I started working in the Caribbean. I went to different islands in the Caribbean such as Curacao, Aruba, St. Maarten, Barbados and now Jamaica, with the vision to create a stress free viloence free soceity. My efforts started gaining popularity and we spread at a very rapid pace. In May 2012, we hosted an “I meditate St. Maarten” event , which was attended by 2500 people and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar also came live via Skype to lead a meditation which included the Prime Minister and other cabinet members.
Q-If you could bring 3 or 4 major changes in Caribbean islands through meditation, then what would they be?
Dushyant Savadia- Firstly, a sense of belongingness and connectedness amongst the people which I strongly feel can happen through meditation. When a sense of belongingness is fostered, then care and compassion grows.
Secondly, I would like to enhance the coroporate responsibilty towards bringing social transformation by upliftment of individuals, thus contributing to the society and building a better nation.
Thirdly - reducing anger and violence. True prosperity of a country lies in the happiness of its people. We need to see people combating stress better.
Fourthly, as Sri Sri Ravi Shankar always says, “We want to bring a smile on every face and we won’t stop until we have achieved it”. This has become my personal goal and I shall not rest till I have done so!