Peter Maffay Conference, Germany
We are all children in some sense. I wish we are more of a child than an adult. You know, a child smiles 400 times a day, adolescent smiles 17 times and an adult does not smile at all. There will be very less conflicts in the world if people in the world can only smile more.
We have been discussing the problem of violence and conflicts in the world since morning. What is the solution? Where are we heading to? We grew up with the ideology of Mahatma Gandhi. We used to attach pride in being non-violent. Unfortunately, today, the pride is associated with aggression and violence. Someone who is aggressive and loses temper easily is considered heroic in schools and colleges. We need to make the shift from attaching pride to violence to attaching pride to non-violence. We need to give our children a world vision of violence free and stress free society.
I am sure we can achieve this by five things in our hand:
1.First thing is music and dance.
2.Second is - sports. With the advent of computer and video games, children don’t go out and play as they used to do before. They lock themselves up with the video games, most of which are violent. We need to give an orientation to function more in sports.
3.Third is travel. We conduct programs in India, America, sometimes in Europe, Poland, Germany, also here in black forest, where we bring children from all countries together for a week. Many times, they speak their own language, but just being with each other creates such a bonding between them that the barriers melt down and they feel at home.
We should help them travel around and communicate with people of other cultures and religions.
We need to give children multi-cultural and multi-religious education. I feel all the children should know a little bit about all the knowledge in the world – Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Catholicism, Shaoism, Shintoism. A little bit understanding of all the major religions and cultures of the world help them grow up with a broad mindset. Even if a small part in the world is left with people thinking that only they are right, the world will not be a safe place to live. The sense of belongingness, that we belong to one global family in spite of different colors, language and food habits, has to be developed in children and youths.
4.Fourth thing is involving kids in some service projects. There is such an opening that happens in youths when they are associated with some service project.
5.Then is Yoga and meditation. I have made yoga so secular that people from any religious background have no objection in doing it. It is just some breathing techniques and some postures, not attached to any belief system.
Our breath is linked to our emotions. For every emotion, there is a particular rhythm in the breath. So, when you cannot directly harness your emotions, with the help of breath you can do that. If you are in theater, you would know that a director asks you to breathe faster when you have to show anger. If you have to show a serene scene, director would tell you to breathe softer and slower. If we understand the rhythm of our breath, we are able to have a say over our mind, we can win over any negative emotions like anger, jealousy, greed, and we are able to smile more from our heart. I think we need to bring the child like beauty and innocence, that God gifted every human being, back into our lives.
Now, I want to narrate an incident. Two years ago, we had a group of 200 youths from Arab countries that came to Bangalore. At the same time, we had about 35 youths from Israel also. When youth from Arab came to know that there were youth from Israel also, they turned to be so violent, wild and angry that they were ready to pack their luggage and leave. But it took us less than couple of hours to sit and talk with them, during which they learn some breathing exercises, meditation and a little bit of yoga, and they become such good friends at the end of the third day. At the end of the week, the two groups had tears in their eyes while departing from each other. Their experiences are worth listening.