April 30, 2015
Even as the world gears up to mark the maiden International Day of Yoga, US Congressional Representatives yesterday acquainted themselves with an authentic experience of yoga and meditation with Sri Sri.
On Thursday, April 30, 2015, Congressional Representatives began their morning with a meditation led by global thought and spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. The unique event served as a platform for the nation’s leaders to discuss the importance of meditation in resolving the nation’s pressing concerns, particularly PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) symptoms among the country’s veterans and youth.
Sri Sri addressing the US congressional representatives at the Capitol Hill
“The secret of meditation is in letting go,” Sri Sri told the gathering, which included war veterans and policy makers. “Stress arises when we have too much to do, and not enough energy or time to do it. We can neither change time nor the number of things we need to do. So, the only option is to increase energy levels. And this can be accomplished through yoga, breathing techniques and meditation,” Sri Sri elaborated.
The Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar with US congressional representatives
“It is just wonderful to have Sri Sri come to Congress and remind us of the power and beauty within us,” said Congresswoman Katherine Clark. “Clearly, the meditation was the very best part. The feeling of self-control and empowerment got reinforced. I feel so good right now, after 20 minutes of meditation. I think it’s a really beautiful and self-empowering experience and I’m so excited about the impact that it can have on veterans and school students,” said Illinois Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky.
“We now know as a matter of science that [meditation] produces empirical benefits to our society, to our country, to the world. There is no better spokesperson for it than Sri Sri,” added Congressman Steve Israel.
Sri Sri with Congressman Steve Israel at the Capitol Hill in Washington DC
The Art of Living’s ‘Project Welcome Home Troops’ (PWHT) program in the US has helped more than 1000 war veterans experience reduction in PTSD symptoms, and re-adapt to civilian life, through breathing techniques and meditation. “I struggled for 10 years. I looked to medication, and I was at a point where suicide seemed like a really good option…. until I found PWHT and that was a life-changing event.” shared Tom Voss who served in the infantry in Iraq during 2003-2006.
Congressman Tim Ryan, who is also a long time meditator and PWHT supporter, commended the effectiveness of Sri Sri’s techniques, and his commitment to social causes. He said, “Sri Sri has an approach that can solve a lot of problems. He is very much an inspiration.”
Congressman Ryan thanking Sri Sri Ravi Shankar at the Capitol Hill after Sri Sri addressed the US congressional representatives
The inspiration for programs across 152 countries is Sri Sri’s message which focusses on individual transformation through a peaceful, stress-free mind as the basis for societal peace.
Last week, Sri Sri addressed a series of events in Europe, including a talk on Yoga at the European Parliament and a discourse at UNESCO in Paris.
Prior to the Congressional event, on 29th April 2015, the Embassy of India in Washington, DC, hosted a talk by Sri Sri on ‘Nurturing peace through Yoga and Meditation’ wherein Sri Sri launched the series of events to welcome the International Day of Yoga. On Wednesday, he also addressed All Souls Church in Washington DC.