by Punya Srivatsava
Telesummits and other web-related spiritual events are transforming the world cheaply, efficiently and effectively, says Punya Srivastava
Ping! A notification in the mailbox announcing a webinar on Global Oneness Day caught my attention. One click, and I was travelling in the virtual world, listening to Global Oneness speakers from across the world in the comfort of my home.
Telesummits and webinars are the next big thing in the world of spirituality. A long chat with Meta medicine and Meta-healing trainer in India, Anu Mehta, on the prospect of these tools exposed me to an intriguing look at how interconnectedness is shaping up these days. Anu has been a part of these online activities since her association began with Meta healing. Swift and efficient, telesummits and webinars today present an alternative and expansive platform to propagate awareness.
Ever expansive technology
Telesummits, podcasts, and webinars have been around for a while. But their foray into the world of spiritual growth and healing is quite recent, especially in India. Many renowned organisations around the world like Hay House and masters like Brandon Bays, Dr. Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra, Bruce Lipton, Oprah Winfrey and Eckhart Tolle have gone virtual in order to light many more lives with their knowledge through this limitless approach.
A step ahead of podcasts, telesummits and webinars give you the freedom to interact with the speaker, and have an added advantage of conducting a visual live streaming of the whole session. All you need is a web connection, a Skype account, a pair of headphones and microphone attached to your computer.
“You can start with Google hangouts that are absolutely free,” says Mona Dutta, an HR Professional with 17 years of experience in the corporate world. She has been a part of many online events but all of them were Western initiatives. “Tele seminars in the spiritual and conscious sphere started with ‘The Shift Network’ that hosted a bevy of spiritual leaders around the world,” she elaborates. With around 248,887 global members, it is the largest online movement of people seeking an enlightened society. Similarly, ‘Awakening with the Masters’ is another online event presented by Live Big Media that provides free instant access to talks by global masters like Alan Cohen and Brad Yates.
Perhaps one of the biggest events which also introduced Skype to the spiritual word, was in 2008, when approximately 35 million people came together for 10 world webinars by television host, Oprah Winfrey and spiritual master, Eckhart Tolle, as they discussed the latter’s book, A New Earth.
Life Positive editor, Suma Varughese, who participated in some of the talks, calls them electrifying and uplifting, and says that they brought to view for the first time, the dimensions of a world community united by spirituality.
In India, things are catching up too, albeit a little slowly. Mona has started her own online talk show, Conscious Conversations with Mona Dutta, which is a video summit on Google plus that allows participants to watch and listen to the speaker, and then direct their questions to him/her. Her first guest was the Divine Feminine facilitator and a writer with LP, Sukhvinder Sircar. According to her, people have started showing interest in online events like these, following ads on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. “It is high time that we in India started recognising the vast potential of the virtual world in bringing a conscious shift on the planet,” she says.
Some of the biggest advantages of hosting an online event over a face-to-face workshop are that they are time- and money-efficient. Says Anu, “There are no travelling or lodging expenses. Moreover, imparting knowledge becomes easier and at much reduced costing. This enables us to distribute recordings of the sessions to the participants, which they can later replay at leisure.” Anu has been a regular part of many online events since the past three years. One such event was the recently held Online Meta Health Summit in November 2013, which boasted 30 global speakers, and was attended by 15,000 people.
“I have personally attended around 50 teleconferences, seminars, webinars, podcasts or online gatherings in various forms over the past five years,” says Anna Brijbala, who is associated with Organic India. According to her, online seminars are an easily accessible way to hear what the world’s experts have to say on a topic. “Just recently, I learned so much listening to the Enlightened Business Summit. It was like a coaching from many of the world’s leading conscious business entrepreneurs inspiring social change,” she adds. A resident of Australia, she is an integral part of the production team that organised the global event, UPLIFT 2013, in Byron Bays from December 12 to 15.
For her, the most significant advantage of participating in these online gatherings is that she gets to attend them from the comfort of her own home without leaving her family, and yet she still gets to experience ‘live’ the message of the experts. “It’s economical, and time saving, and ultimately makes far more ecological sense than travelling around the planet, investing energy to attend conferences in person,” she adds. Moreover, having the talk available on replay is a huge advantage.
Mostly online platforms provide a lot of good supporting resources related to what is presented, and calls to action, especially when there is follow up and staying in touch about subsequent initiatives. It’s directly engaging, in an online kind of way.
Doreen Soans, a hairstylist and a Meta health practitioner from Mumbai, has a motivating story to tell. “I had attended a four-day teleseminar on Advance Clearance Energetics (ACE) by Richard Fluke in December 2012. It feels great to say that my bipolar disorder was healed in a single two-hour session of the teleseminar, over Skype.”
One of the huge advantages of this genre of events is that it gives you access to masters and coaches you would normally never have had the remotest chance of encountering. How many can afford a workshop by Deepak Chopra or Tony Robinson? How many can get a chance to ask a question of Oprah Winfrey or Louise Hay? Telesummits are making the world flatter, and ultimately bringing the mountain to Mohammed.
For people my age, cyber technology has been a part of life since the time we attended middle school. But for older generations, the reluctance to easily accept it is stark. “People fear technology,” says Anu, adding, “We Indians have that mindset of shunning anything that we don’t know about. People fear to admit that they are not comfortable registering themselves for a webinar.” To add to the apprehensions of the older generation are the oft reported incidents of cyber crime. “Ignorance about cyber security discourages them from investing their time and energy into something so useful,” remarks Anu.
Global summits of 2014
The Shift Network: This is a one stop-shop for all kinds of consciousness-related online summits. Visit www.theshiftnetwork.com/events to witness a plethora of free online summits and webinars. You can choose your pick from spiritual awakening to inspiring women, from breathwork to youth and peace, from conscious parenting to healing your heart. You’ll be spoilt for choice as most of them are for free. Some of the summits even offer freebies like pre-recorded videos or bonus sessions on registration.
Hay House World Summit, 2014: This free online summit from May 31 – June 9 brings together world renowned experts from the personal growth field to share the practical, applicable ways in which they incorporate their teachings in their own lives, and how you can do the same. Last year’s speaker list included Louise Hay, Wayne Dyer, Esther Hicks, Suze Orman, Cheryl Richardson and Doreen Virtue. Log on to www.hayhouseworldsummit.com to register.
Brandon Bays’ Masterclass 2014: This online global event offers you soul-awakening healing sessions designed to help you live with absolute clarity, enlightened awareness, and unconditional love. It is a six-month long programme, starting from December 18, 2013 to May 10, 2014. The participants will be offered live question-answer sessions with expert Journey practitioners after each monthly video session with Brandon. Log on to www.brandonbays.tv/global-gathering-2013/special/ for more information.
Evolving Wisdom: It is a global e-learning community that specialises in transformative education. Log on to www.evolvingwisdom.com and get access to free audio seminars on topics like integral and evolutionary spirituality, love and relationships, women’s spirituality and empowerment, and many more.
Meta Health India: Log on to www.metahealthindia.com/events.html to keep a track of online events offered throughout the year.
Another challenge that is hampering the growth of telesummits in India is the Indian preference for live events. “We prefer face-to-face interactions than interacting through a screen,” says Anu. Brijbala feels similarly. “The main drawback is that you aren’t as fully present and sensorily engaged as you would be if you were in person. Energetically, we receive a lot from in-person interactions,” she says.
It is a live seminar with speaker(s) and audience members, but is conducted on the phone or over the Internet. It usually involves a series of calls or sessions over the same day, or multiple days, almost like a conference with different sessions. It is mostly done to cover a single topic for indepth discussions.
It is similar to a teleseminar, except that you typically have several speakers, from 3-4 to as many as 20 in some cases. It could run over several days or weeks, with the participants tuning in at certain times. You can record and transcribe the info.
These are typically PowerPoint-style presentations, with the host and/or guest speakers narrating the content. You can combine this with the above formats.
Another disadvantage of telesummits is that you don’t get to network with others. It is more interesting when a telesummit includes live forum discussions going on simultaneously during a telesummit, or when questions are answered live. “It is life-like when you have audio, video, live broadcasting, together with the live forum. You can see and connect with people who are participating, as well as those who are at the event,” elaborates Brijbala.
“Honestly speaking, I won’t bother with telesummits if the speakers are not that popular,” says Doreen. However, echoing Anu and Mona, she is positive that the virtual world of online spiritual events will soon see a paradigm shift. Hopefully, just like social media platforms have made their strong presence felt in households, this initiative will also find a permanent place in the lives of seekers and facilitators.
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