This is continued from the previous article on Uniting Africa through Peace Meditation (Part-1)
Q: A three-year plan sounds great. Could you speak a little about this long-term plan?
Vanishree: 'i Meditate Africa' is a free campaign, so we are not charging anything for it. Post the campaign launch, we are going to offer meditation to different sectors of the society. We will initiate it for them and then let them own it.
The objective is to inspire the corporate sector to look at meditation as a tool for corporate wellness, the NGO sector to use meditation as a tool for peace efforts, the education sector to be inspired to use meditation as a tool for improved concentration and focus to enhance academic performance, and several other sectors too.
The founder of the Art of Living, Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, has been a forerunner in using technology to create peace. I am taking his lead and offering online guided meditations to Africa too. Take it and go inwards for 20 minutes online.
Obviously, we plan to have more meditation efforts in general. We invite all the sectors of the community to work with us to grow the campaign.
Now about the three-year plan – well, honestly, the launch event on May 25 is only the first step. But actually, it is the post-launch activities that are going to help sustain the campaign. And it would take us at least three years, with the spirit of the volunteers, to make a tangible impact, with meditation as a practical tool to address many of the inner challenges we face, which manifest as outer problems for us.
Q: Can you throw a little light on what sort of work is already happening and how can someone be a part of this on the launch?
Vanishree: In many countries, we have given a choice to the people – they can either join the public meditations or participate through the webcast.
We have been trying to encourage public meditations because that’s more powerful. So, in Nigeria, our volunteers are bringing together a group of about 300 people to meditate. In Tanzania, we have about 400 people. In South Africa, public meditations in cities such as Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Durban will comprise roughly 1,500 people.
But then we also have places such as Namibia, Rwanda, Ivory Coast, and DRC, where there may not be large groups but individuals and compact groups, who will join the meditation online via the webcast. I have to say, social media is a wonderful tool and really is an example of how small the world has become at that level.
We have international participation as well, from outside of Africa. Through Art of Living's global network, the world has shown great support by joining us and sharing the campaign in their countries. The Art of Living’s global community is one of the greatest strengths and assets we all have. Having Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar conducting the webcast meditation for Africa is a huge blessing and gift.
Q: It is said that the first man was born in Africa, and that too with a lot of values and ethics; yet there are so many problems that exist in Africa – violence, aggression, lack of belongingness. So, with meditation, how can one really go back to those values that man was born with?
Vanishree: You have actually reminded me of a beautiful sentiment – the more the people that collectively meditate, the more the people in the world experience their inner nature, which is reflective of all positivity. And with this we slowly move toward the nature of that first man. It all began in Africa, and we happy for Africa to be taking a moment of silence for her healing.
Q: Would you like to give a message to our readers?
Vanishree: I recently heard Gurudev say, "For every act of violence in the world, we need to do several acts of non-violence." I Meditate Africa is that act of non-violence. So, I would like to invite everybody to participate in the meditation on May 25, 2013. No matter what time it is in your country.
For the first time, 21 African countries will be united in a moment of peace, stillness, and silence by one of the world’s leading voices of peace and non-violence: Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.