Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Meeting Mikey

Michael Fischman, the President of Art of Living Foundation USA, has written a book titled 'Stumbling Into Infinity' where he shares his life story and various experiences with spirituality, meditation, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and the Art of Living Foundation. The book is wonderfully written, very sincere and honest, yet heart-warming and uplifting. Mikey, as he is affectionately called, is an excellent story teller and he writes with candor and good humor.

I first met Mikey in September 2004. I had registered for my first Art of Silence Course and he was conducting it. I had heard that he was a senior instructor and a long-time practitioner of meditation. Also he had had the good fortune of meeting Sri Sri and spending much time with him in the early days of the Art of Living Foundation. Last but not the least, I had heard that he had a fantastic sense of humor.

I enjoyed the course thoroughly and Mikey had much to do with it, I suppose. I went on to sign up for an Art of Meditation Course right afterward. He initiated me into the Sahaj Samadhi meditation technique, so simple and effortless and yet so powerful. I loved the way he incorporated science into his explanation of meditation and the various levels of consciousness. Mikey's love for meditation came through his teaching clearly and it inspired me to meditate regularly. I ended up sitting in on more Meditation courses with him, and loved all of them. He demystified meditation and drove home the fact, in his charming and humorous way, that meditation was the simplest and paradoxically, the most meaningful action one could ever do.

There are so many beautiful programs offered by the Art of Living Foundation. But I have to admit that the Art of Meditation Course is one of the programs I really adore. To this day, it amazes me how a skill as precious as meditation is taught in a matter of hours. Learning to meditate is a blessing and I count myself incredibly lucky to have received it. To Mikey, I owe this immense enthusiasm and love for meditation.

One course after another, and soon after I found myself on a Teachers Training Course - Phase 1. Mikey was our friend, philosopher and guide for those two weeks. Patiently he led us through the days, sharing his knowledge and experiences, helping us get over our supposed boundaries and pain points, rejoicing in our laughter and happiness. Over the years, Mikey has trained hundreds of teachers in the Art of Living Foundation.

As I read the book, I was touched by how honest Mikey was about his struggles and challenges on the spiritual path. He has laid bare his personality with all its idiosyncrasies and inconsistencies. It is this achingly transparent narrative that draws readers into Mikey's life and world with all its mishaps and happy adventures. Absolutely recommended reading! 

Watch an introductory video to the book here.

Order a copy of 'Stumbling Into Infinity.'

Sunday, October 24, 2010

It all begins with...


A few weeks back, I woke up to a gorgeous summer morning. Finished my yoga, Kriya and meditation, and left for work. It was one of those magical mornings when everything seemed just perfect. My meditation was peaceful and I felt a deep sense of rest and calm inside. As I was driving to work, such happiness soared inside of me. The sheer joie de vivre, simply translated as the 'joy of living' bubbled up in my heart. Soon after, my mind began its regular litany of doubt and scolding. "What are you so happy about? Don't you remember how much needs to be done? You need to answer that email to your adviser. The prospectus draft needs to be sent out. And what about that article you were supposed to finish? The kitchen is such a mess. And that bathroom really needs to be cleaned." And so on it went on.

This is a familiar cycle. Whenever I experience this wonderful happiness - a feeling that truly comes out of nowhere really - my mind begins to question it. It is almost as if I need a legitimate reason to be happy or else my mind will not be satisfied.

This time, I thought about it a little more. I could not discern any source for this wonderful feeling; it really came out of nowhere. There are so many moments in life when we experience this beautiful joy and we know not where it comes from. Yet it is a powerful emotion (if that's what you want to call it). Out of happiness is born creativity, compassion, generosity, beauty. We often believe that happiness lies at the end of something. After completing a successful project, after acquiring a job, at the completion of an assignment, at the culmination of a responsibility and so on. What we typically experience at the end of these events - hmmm, I would probably call it relief, maybe? But joy and happiness are those lovely emotions that really don't owe their existence to any event or happening. They just are. 

So the next time, you experience that sheer joie de vivre, don't let your mind poke holes in it. Enjoy it, fly with it, share it freely... and see what miracles spring out of it.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Life: A Pure Celebration of Joy and Gratitude

Posting on behalf of Asha Mulchan (Hoschton, GA, USA) (

I have read hundreds of books, listened to hundreds of lectures, and visited many religious and spiritual places in my search for my personal spiritual path. But I've discovered that that intellectual knowledge is not enough. I think many spiritual teachings remain an intellectual exercise, concepts, words - until one has an internal experience which links the knowledge to the deepest level of his heart. Little by little, I am able to go beyond intellect and mind to experiential knowledge through Sudarshan Kriya.

Through the simple process of purging the toxins of negative emotions, physical toxins, and the toxins from life stress, I feel myself move gradually from disharmony to harmony and synchronicity of mind, heart, body and spirit. Even in those moments when I feel helpless and out of control, there is still a quiet space inside which reminds me that everything is fine and that life is unfolding as it should. It is an amazing thing to experience such calmness in the midst of disharmony and chaos. I think that once we’ve moved from the head space to the heart, we know with absolute certainty that we are greater than the sum total of our emotions and senses. From this state, we can experience the blossoming of wisdom, the outpouring of divine love, the manifestation of love and peace in relationships, with nature, and with the world around, and life becomes a pure celebration of joy and gratitude. I have been abundantly blessed with this unfolding experience since meeting Guruji in 1998 and doing Sudarshan Kriya and other spiritual practices regularly.