Living in OnenessSri Raniji Kumra July 1, 2008
“To see what IS, in the moment, is to be free; and to be free is to be at one with yourself, allowing you to be at one with the world.”
From a young age, I have spent much of my life in India and Africa serving the spiritual needs of others. Not only was suffering just about everywhere around me, but I also felt this suffering on a very deep level. As a young girl, I remember my mother once saying “With a little help, even the family problems are solved.” Personally, I was given a great gift by the Divine – one of the simplest ways to help the family of man – and want to share it with everyone who wishes to receive it.
Living in Oneness is possible through the Oneness Blessing, a spiritual solution that ends inner conflict and the subsequent struggle, strife, and conflict that takes hold in the world around us. This blessing slows down the mind, bringing it towards the peace and serenity of Oneness. The active mind does not let people be “in the now.” Rather, it keeps the attention in the past or the future, robbing each one of us of the reality of now. There has been much discussion about silencing the mind by great spiritualists throughout time, from Gautama Buddha and St Francis of Assisi to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
THE PROBLEMS WE FACE TODAY
Statistics on poverty, crime, and disease are particularly shocking for a nation with the advanced civilization, technology, science and medicine that define us. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg – the plague of unhappiness and unhealthiness also shows up in the forms of health problems, drug and alcohol abuse, family dysfunction, and the rise of disturbing trends amongst the youth – school shootings being an example.
And while we proudly claim to be the world’s benefactor, UNICEF estimates that half of the world’s population is living on less than a dollar a day, with 26,500 – 30,000 children each day dying from malnutrition due to poverty. In these less developed countries, suffering has taken the forms of poverty and starvation, disease, war, political conflict, and social injustice.
Unfortunately, the modern western “answer” to most problems is to treat the symptoms, frequently ignoring or denying the root causes of the issues. As a result of this quick fix mentality, we prescribe drugs and medications rather than changing our diet and lifestyle; we medicate the mentally ill rather than healing the mind and its addictive behaviours; we divorce spouses rather than addressing the sense of spiritual alienation, low self-esteem and victimization that plague us; we even medicate our children, rather than learning how to avoid passing on our dysfunctions to them.
On a national level, our political problems reflect the individual’s internal disorder. We are a nation of people, and the problems of our nation have their root in the internal inner conflict of each man, woman, and child. As long as unrest and conflict fester in the hearts and minds of mankind, for just as long will conflict and suffering manifest in our political systems, and society as a whole.
Nowadays, it seems as if almost everyone has a strong sense of loneliness and is seeking greater meaning in life. It seems that over the last few decades, people have been existing, rather than living. We try to manage or run away from ourselves and our sorrowful self-image, rather than resolving our deepest issues and freeing ourselves to be the Children of the Divine we were born to be. Until we realize that the suffering of any being whomsoever has a detrimental effect on the well-being of all others, the condition of our world will not change.
STATUS QUO SOLUTIONS ARE KEEPING US IN SUFFERING
The study of critical philosophy proclaims, “As within, so without.” This concept that one’s thoughts and feelings mirror themselves in the outer conditions of their lives is, in fact, a conclusion that has been reached by the deepest thinkers in every culture and tradition. When people are able to look within themselves without judgment, then what shows up in life is the ability to see the world without judgments.
This is how each person will become more aware, and communities everywhere will flower and grow. We cannot be uplifted unless we change our awareness, which in turn will help us in achieving our goal of a better life. To have a fulfilling life, we must work within our inner kingdom, banishing all that holds us back. It is time we forgive and seek forgiveness, and lead compassionate and considerate lives. The shadows that have lurked within us for so many years are a burden that we do not, and must no longer, allow to diminish our existence and the blessed lives we were born to live.
Internal conflict is, minute-by-minute, and every day without fail, draining each person of their vital energy – the supreme life force. When depleted of our vital life force energy, we are not able to achieve Oneness. But with a harmonious and energetic system we are free of the anger, fear, greed, and isolation that otherwise become the motivating forces in a “lacking” life.
Living with full awareness ensures us a life with little conflict. If people were really aware of what was happening at every moment, and how they act and react and formulate thoughts and plans based upon a past that is gone, or a future that will never be, they would understand what is happening within their very Self. This kind of self-awareness brings about a great transformation in each individual.
Ancient civilizations were very aware of their thoughts, actions and surroundings, and had little conflict. Being able to see what is truly happening, and knowing what one is really feeling, is gaining awareness. To know what is going on within oneself, and to separate that from the illusions of what may seem to be or what others may think, is to be free. Awareness leads to “awakening,” and to a fulfilling life.
To begin solving existing problems in our world, country, and community, we must first look to the problems churning within each and every individual. By being at one within ourselves, and accepting each individual as they are, family units will spontaneously come together. By applying the same principles and practices between families, communities will naturally celebrate; between communities, nations will work together peacefully for the benefit and progress of all.
Although we have been taught, in so many ways, to emulate the best, the most popular, and the most wealthy and successful in our cultures, each person’s journey can only start from where they are at the moment, rather than from where they want to eventually be.
Man’s examination of mind and spirit has occurred in every culture and tradition throughout the ages. From the Vedas of the Hindus of India to the ancient Greek Philosophers, the quest to understand both the inner and outer worlds has continued to modern times in discussions of Positive Psychology, such as Living the Good Life and The American Dream.
However, in this modern era, our cultures have neglected the study of awareness itself and the ability to directly experience the fundamental basis of mind, which is Spirit. We have forgotten how to keep our souls healthy and as a result we have forgotten how to live in happiness and health. We are unfulfilled and suffer mentally, emotionally, physically, and behaviourally, while our social and political world mirrors the same level of chaos.
THE SOLUTION IS THE EVOLUTION OF HUMAN CONSCIOUSNESS & AWAKENING
“Awakening must begin at the individual level. We cannot change the world if we do not change ourselves first.” Brian D. McClure, creator of The Universal Flag, (which represents the oneness and interdependence of everyone and everything) says, “For years I donated money to feed and shelter the homeless. I felt that I was doing my part for those in need. The truth is, I remained oblivious to the root causes of worldwide suffering, until I made an internal transformational shift within myself. Suddenly I was more concerned about creating a sustainable change that would redefine our collective World vision. The answer was simple: start to remind everyone of the truth of who we are. At our core, we are all one with all. When we make that internal shift, which the oneness movement is doing, we start to create the long-term solutions to end the madness in our world. When we recognize others as a part of us, we no longer can tolerate wars, genocide, hunger, thirst etc. We start to work on how we can be of service to others. Globalization becomes much more than the pursuit of consumer products and profits. The Universal Flag and Symbol acts as a signpost to remind us of the Oneness that is inclusive of All.”
How can we change the world if we cannot changes ourselves? The aspirations of “a better world” or a “golden age” require a worldwide awakening. But this can only be accomplished by awakening the individuals everywhere, regardless of religion, culture, skin color, etc.
Dr. Deepak Chopra, who has successfully integrated western scientific knowledge and eastern spiritual wisdom to create a truly comprehensive approach to health and healing says, “Spirituality is about first-hand experience . . . this leads to a radical shift in consciousness.”
Because we can only start this journey of inner exploration from our current condition, the evolution of consciousness for mankind as a whole can only be achieved by teaching individuals how to elevate their consciousness and spreading that awareness around the world. As individuals “awaken” to their full potential, they become aware of unhealthy and useless behavioural patterns, and the effects of the choices they make. Through self-awareness, a process of automatic self-correction begins, which leads to the creation of a more harmonious individual and world family.
The Butterfly Effect is a concept that illustrates the more technical notion of sensitive dependence on initial conditions in the scientific Chaos Theory. A small seemingly unimportant fluctuation of the initial condition may produce large variations in the long-term behaviour of the system. The phrase refers to the theory that a butterfly’s wings might create tiny changes in the atmosphere that ultimately cause something such as a tornado to appear (or prevent a tornado from appearing). The flapping wings represent a small change in the initial conditions of the system, which presumably results in a chain of events leading to large-scale phenomena. In summary, had the butterfly not flapped its wings … the evolution and manifestations of the system might have been vastly different.
To those not yet “awakened,” this concept may seem preposterous. However, in practical terms, if we were to view our thoughts to be like a ball placed at the crest of a hill, the example becomes illuminating. That ball at the highest point of elevation, and with no initial direction of travel or obstruction, has unlimited potential directions it might roll, along a variety of possible pathways, into any of numerous valleys.
Depending on slight changes in initial and subsequent conditions or slight changes in the attention the mind gives to a certain thoughts and feelings, there are a variety of possible outcomes, some more useful than others.
THE ONENESS MOVEMENT: A SOLUTION
The Oneness Blessing is an answer to the urgent call of suffering hearts throughout the world; a solution to the urgent need of our times. This blessing is a transfer of Divine Energy and Intelligence, which begins a process of awakening in the individual. A positive neurobiological change is fostered in the brain, promoting a shift in perception, greater peace of mind, and an expansive flowering of the heart.
Divine energy transmissions and blessings rejuvenate the mind, body and spirit; and, most importantly, begin to awaken the Higher Self within. Each person spontaneously begins to discover why each of us is always looking and searching for peace, joy, and bliss in life. We teach people how to discover the mind’s habitual involvement with the “content” rather than the underlying reality of experiences and how to uncover the tricks of the mind, which tend to divert us from Truth and into a maze of our own illusions.
These Energy Blessings are the gift of Sri Bhagavan and Shri Amma, who launched the Oneness Movement in India in 1991 to alleviate the suffering of mankind and create an enlightened collective consciousness – a world of Oneness. So much suffering is caused by the disconnection of practical life with the spiritual, which is abundantly available within each of us yet mostly ignored, denied, and forgotten.
The Oneness University is located in Golden City, India, and its mission is to provide an ideal facility for teachers and students to meditate under the guidance of Advanced Guides, and receive the Deeksha Oneness Blessing. Today, the Oneness University is five times the size of the Taj Mahal, and has over 14 Million non-denominational supporters globally.
There is growing scientific evidence, much of which has been published in peer-reviewed scientific journals, that meditation techniques are an effective yet simple way to deal with life stresses. A number of prestigious grants have been awarded to leading researchers at respected institutions to study the effects of meditation and energetic therapies on health and well-being.
In general, meditation calms the mind and body, leaving practitioners more energized, more focused, and more spontaneously enjoying of life. During the practice of meditation techniques, researchers have found reduced heart and respiration rates, normalization of blood pressure, more efficient use oxygen, and other health benefits. These indicators of relaxation work to neutralize stressful states, and promote better health.
Whether at home, school, or work, all of these environments can be highly stressful at times. These techniques provide a simple way to manage life and stressful situations. Without such a means, our minds and bodies are constantly reacting from a stressed condition – which can cause psychological, emotional, and physical damage and disease. Energetic and spiritual techniques such as meditation offer an opportunity to restore mind and body to a calm state, help the body to repair itself, and prevent new damage due the devastating effects of stress. The Oneness Blessing adds to this the element of Awakening.
Founder of the Oneness Movement, Sri Bahagvan, says, “When 64,000 people achieve Oneness, then more and more people will go through the process and it will spread spontaneously and naturally all over the world and a Golden Age will arrive.”
HOW I STARTED MY WORK WITH THE ONENESS MOVEMENT
In 1996, Ananda Giri, an Indian Holy Monk, was visiting San Jose, California on a mission of Sri Bhagavan for the expansion of the Oneness Movement. It was through a mutual friend of ours that I first learned about this organization, its methods and goals, during Ananda Giri’s workshop on Creating Right Relationships.
Afterwards, I asked him questions about the suffering of humanity that were very important to me. One question that haunted me was why, after many years of a wonderful marriage, was I suddenly feeling intense pain and a sense of isolation. Andanda Gira answered this question with a few well-chosen words saying, “SEE. Seeing means to become aware of the inner conflict.”
As he spoke these words, I suddenly began seeing what was going on inside of me. My mind turned within, and a clear understanding suddenly dawned – the hurt and pain that I felt so intensely was a result of the beliefs I was still carrying forward from my upbringing. Beliefs that I had adopted from the culture and society around me, as well as dear family members; beliefs I wasn’t even aware that I still held. As soon as I became aware of how these beliefs were dominating my thoughts, and the choices I made in my day-to-day life, my life and the circumstances that occurred around me began to improve.
It slowly dawned on me that I was as trying to control people and coerce them to meet my expectations. Through Ananda Giri’s simple words, I discovered that everything is perfect as it is – all we have to do is look within and make things right; and that is best done now, in this very moment. The solution to suffering is so simple, but we make things difficult because we are conditioned to expect certain pre-programmed ideals. As a result, we unknowingly attempt to control and change the world around us when external circumstances don’t meet the ideals that we have learned to expect. Through the simple act of seeing we become free of the burdens we once felt.
It was in 1997, when I returned to India to meet Sri Bhagvan, that he shared with me his vision to spearhead spiritual programs to “eliminate the sense of separation in man.” The purpose of this, he explained, was so that man could feel re-connected to a heightened awareness, and aware of the connectedness of all beings and all things. He elaborated that, as humans, our bodies are made of the same elements of the earth, regardless of wealth or race. The physical body is made of water, bones are made of the earth; the fire in our bodies metabolizes the foods we eat, and the air we breathe sustains life. He also shared with me his belief that until people became more aware of their own Inner Oneness, no sustainable global changes will be possible.
Shortly after this initial meeting, I began to work closely with Sri Bhagavan and the Oneness Movement. I was appointed to continue the work which had been initiated in India, and had spread to the USA, Australia, Italy, Fiji, and New Zealand. A few years later, he gracefully honored me with an appointment as the head of the Oneness Movement for North America and Canada. At that time, there were no Oneness Blessing facilitators in America. Today, we have grown to have approximately 1,700 facilitators in the USA.
My husband Ravi is a Philanthropist, and is very grateful for the blessings that Sri Bhagavan and the Oneness Movement has given our family. As a result of what Oneness has done for our lives and our family, he has donated land and money to help expand the Oneness Movement and Oneness University in Golden City. What we have today is a world-class retreat, designed to accommodate the physical and spiritual needs of the students who have come from all over the world in celebration of Oneness and all that flowers in its wake.
Today, my focus is to reach as many people as possible. It has been my fortune to spearhead successful programs for Youth, for Women, and for those in Africa. I’ve had the privilege to work with teenagers experiencing relationship and parental problems. It was a gift to be able to help these teenagers and their parents seek forgiveness, and to see them transcend their anger, and to respect one another – not because they were forced to do so, but out of awareness. Awareness of what they were doing to themselves, to their parents, and to others.
I am also excited to be working with celebrities such as actress Lindsay Wagner and James Beard to bring the blessing to the L.A. and Long Beach prisons. We work to help them find peace, forgiveness, and compassion for themselves and for those they harmed. Another passion of mine is to help battered woman who are lost and afraid to reclaim their lives and their happiness.
THE FUTURE: “A CALL TO ACTION”
When we focus on solutions, then opportunities for solutions increase. When we focus on problems, then problems increase. As individuals, we may not personally be able to vaccinate all of the sick children in Africa, or end war and poverty, but as a group we can work out permanent solutions to our problems by raising our awareness and awakening to the reality that we are all one.
The future may be golden with Peace and Enlightenment, or it may hold the disintegration of our Social Systems and a breakdown of Civilization. The choice is ours to make, and the effects of that choice will be lived out by future generations. There is always hope, and the answers are in front of us. By bringing awareness and awakening to everybody, and helping to evolve human consciousness, we can eradicate the problems we face today and open a new vista of possibilities for the future.
I believe that the ultimate solution to world problems is to make peace within ourselves; only then will we have a peaceful world.