Breath: a tool to conflict

The first workshop organized by The Center for Dialogue among Civilizations in May saw a mix of reformers and decision makers from different walks of life. Former politicians, presidents of countries, bureaucrats catalyzing change for global solutions in Kuwait, one of the world’s smallest countries.

Among them was a figure in white and a long beard: Swami Sadyojathah, Director of the International Affairs of The Art of Living. What was an NGO with deep roots in spirituality doing at this workshop aimed at finding solutions to pressing global concerns?

For 30 years, The Art of Living has been focusing on bringing peace to people and societies through stress-elimination breath workshops, community-building initiatives. Inner peace to outer peace – this is the principle on which the peace work is built. Only when individuals are happy and peaceful would they be able to bring peace to societies.

Reflecting on Art of Living’s trauma relief work in different countries, Swami Sadyojathah said: “Breath has no religion. Even if you provide people with all sorts of material help, they will still harbor fear and trauma within themselves. So along with food and shelter, it is important to find ways and means to get rid of trauma. This is where our breathing exercises come in.”

Swamiji shares that people must develop an accepting attitude towards cultures from around the world. “Honor diversities and globalize wisdom.”

The convention sought to offer stepping stones in this direction. “The fact that Sheikh Fahad (the founder of Fahad Al Salem Center for Dialogue Among Civilizations and Defense of Liberty) could get together former presidents and prime ministers of different countries who are still active in different spheres on one platform and have productive discussion is commendable. We are sure it will not end in one conference and will be taken forward.”