Multiple vectors including COVID-19, systemic racism, and climate change are forcing all of us to open our hearts and our minds to fundamental realities. Stress and anxiety are reaching unprecedented levels and threatening the mental health and wellbeing of the human infrastructure. This is a defining moment that requires us all to be grounded and at the same time, being able to empathize and energize others through our presence and actions.
We are all forced to re-examine our purpose, values, and impact that we want to make in these turbulent times. By building our own capacity to transform ourselves, we can bring the change that we seek in our organization and communities.
This course is designed by Mandar Apte, former Shell Gamechanger and currently, Executive Director for Cities4Peace, a non-profit initiative to promote peace and nonviolence.
The course utilizes the power of an unscripted documentary film as a teaching aid to develop our capacity for becoming stronger advocates of compassion and nonviolence. During this film, we follow the journey of six victims of violence from across America who embarked on a transformational journey to India, inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who had also visited India to study nonviolence. The common denominator that binds them in this story is their unique exposure to violence and their desire to heal the wounds of trauma and reinvigorate the conversation about nonviolence in America.
The group included: a single mother whose son was brutally murdered in a tragic school shooting (Sandy Hook, Connecticut) and her best friend, a former gang member (Los Angeles, California), an educator (Newark, New Jersey), a social entrepreneur and a music scholar (both activists for the Movement for Black Lives Matter from Oakland, California).
The film showcases how the immersion in the culture of India empowered them with tools, wisdom, and inspiration to find healing, solace, and rejuvenate their commitment to becoming stronger ambassadors of nonviolence in their communities and neighborhoods.
At the end of the documentary, Mandar explains the theory of nonviolence (Ahimsa) and how the practice of meditation can help to transform ourselves and be the change in our communities & organizations. He guides us through a meditation that will help participants develop a personal daily habit to develop self-care & self-compassion.
The course also exposes participants to the teachings of one of India’s great gurus - global humanitarian leader, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, who has helped bring peace to many regions of conflict including Iraq, Colombia, through his powerful Sudarshan Kriya (SKY) breathing and meditation techniques, taught worldwide in the SKY breath and meditation workshops by the International Association for Human Values & the Art of Living Foundation.