I have experienced that group meditation works better than sitting isolated and doing meditation. Can you talk on the group meditation verses individual meditation?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, it has some impact. See, we are all energy. So we catch energy from others also. We get influenced by others.
If someone in the group is mad, you also get mad. I think everybody has experienced this. Suppose you come in a room where someone is shouting and yelling, something happens to your brain. If you understand the quantum physics, then you will understand how this also works better.
A field gets created when more people sit and meditate. So automatically group meditation becomes deeper. But if you listen to some knowledge and you get some training, you can sit alone also and have the same impact.
You said that meditation should be done twice a day. I feel meditation should be for twenty-four hours. Twice a day is fine, but still after doing it twice a day, it does not stay with the external forces because life is so stressful!
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Shall we put the cart before the horse? In the beginning you start with twenty minutes a day so that you get into a practice, and then what happens is that the calmness and peace stays with you throughout the day. It becomes a meditation for twenty-four hours. It takes a little time and practice, then it will happen.
Do things with mindfulness, slowly, step by step. But first that should not be an excuse. Some people take it as an excuse, ‘Oh I am in meditation twenty-four hours. But mind is going buzz buzz buzz, like that.
So these twenty minutes will get you into the habit of being still. Then gradually, if you have more time, a few more retreats and you can pick up the speed where you will find that it doesn’t matter if you meditate or you don’t.
My colleagues are stressed, how do we bring them to learn yoga? How do I get them started?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I leave this thought with you, because with this thought you will find ways to bring them in. You can either tell them, or you take up some research on pre-yoga and post-yoga and come up with a paper. Submit the paper and invite people for a discussion. I think scientific tempered people will not be in a closed mindset. If someone has a very closed mindset, I wouldn’t call them scientific, they are prejudiced.
Thirty years ago, when we wanted to do a course in Boston for convicts, people thought it is weird. They just gave us a very small and dusty room, with 9 convicts because we insisted that we want to go in there. But today that is not the case.
Today yoga is being accepted in many of the prisons. People have accepted it and they find a big difference in the way they look at life.
What is meditation? While doing meditation here, I followed the instructions, but my mind wandered. But I did not feel that it went on for 25 minutes.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: That’s it. So this is the first experience. 25 minutes passed by and you did not feel the time. All the hovering thoughts somewhere became calmer, and you feel relaxed in the body. These are signs of meditation.
You know, it will take longer than just one session. There are several CDs on meditation. In the beginning you can take those CDs and sit and listen and practice. Then you may not require CDs later on.
At what point does someone begin to feel that ‘I am going in the correct direction, that I am achieving some level of consciousness’, or whatever you call it?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It will be as obvious as a pain in the leg. So when you have a pain in the leg, you don’t have to go and ask someone, is my leg paining? No!
It is a personal experience. So the same thing will come up with you. You will feel absolutely at home, totally energized, like every cell of your body is vibrant with energy.
In fact, you don’t need a yoga teacher if you observe any kid. Every baby from the time it is born till the age of three, has done all the yoga postures, breathing, meditation, everything. So by birth we are all yogis. We have done it, but somewhere later on we just forgot it. We dropped it, that’s all. This is only going back to where we began.