January 2014 by Shivi Verma and Aparna S Sharma For two days at the World Trade Centre, Mumbai, the air resonated with the power of positivity as seekers converged at the Life Positive Expo. Shivi Verma and Aparna S Sharma report From the outside, Mumbai would appear to be a city devoted to mammon, but those who live in it know that despite its fast and furious pace, this city’s soul is sublime. Here, almost anyone, beggar or billionaire, can be confident of getting a meal before he goes to sleep. Even dogs and other animals are looked after by a multitude of animal lovers. Mumbai, a recent report said, has the world’s second best reputation for returning lost wallets. Why would not such a city take the Life Positive Expo to its heart? Mumbaikars came not just for the workshops, but in far larger numbers to drink in the wisdom of the gurus, and to attend the exhibition with its fascinating display of spiritual products and services. For two days in November, the Expo had all the colour and chaos of a spiritual carnival, as seekers from everywhere came to get their annual dose of goodness and positivity. Day 1 Inaugural address by Jaya Row on Inspired Living The Life Positive Expo began with a scintillating discourse by Mrs Jaya Row on how to lead an inspired life. She said that despite the comforts and amenities of the modern age, people are filled with inertia and lack of motivation. Children do not want to go to school. Men and women are loath to go to their offices, and people kill time in unnecessary diversions, seeking respite from their spiritless routine. Whereas in ancient India, children were brought up on a diet of inspiration. Throwing light on the secret behind leading inspired life, Mrs. Row said that as long as our highest goal did not go beyond self-gratification, lack of inspiration would plague us. When people are more concerned about how much they can take, boredom, distraction and a sense of purposelessness sets in very quickly. When people are driven by the desire to contribute, inspiration flows freely. When you realise that the talent you have been gifted by God is meant to be used in service, then the source of inspiration never dries up. Illustrating her point, she quoted the example of a Hollywood movie called the Legend of Bagger Vance. Based on the Bhagavad Gita, the film is about a famous golfer who stops playing golf and takes to drinking. When he attempts to go back to playing golf again, he is diffident and unable to perform. It is then that he encounters Baggar Vance, a caddy played by Will Smith, whose wisdom and compassionate guidance helps him find his game. He tells him, “There is a perfect shot waiting out there for you, simply take your focus away from yourself.” And the golfer was able to hit an ace shot. Expand your mind, opt to act out of a desire to contribute, to serve, this is what will ultimately take you higher. Elucidating further, she said the best inspiration comes when people are who they are, and not keeping up pretences. She urged the listener to identify their swadharma, their own inner talent, and devote themselves to polishing it. Emotional Freedom Technique by Sangeeta Bhagwat Feeling upset, unhappy, let down, or inferior? Is your physical health being challenged? Want to feel calm, controlled and balanced despite being at the centre of a storm? Then Sangeeta Bhagwat’s workshop on Emotional Freedom Technique at the Life Positive Expo was the place to be. She first asked participants who were in any sort of physical pain to raise their hands. She applied the EFT technique to the five or six people who responded, and amazingly enough, all of them reported a decrease in pain within minutes. After that, Sangeeta introduced the participants to the magnificent world of Emotional Freedom Technique, and how practising regularly could not only eliminate stress, and heal pain, but also increase good health, improve performances, and even lead to a state of deep spiritual bliss. The reason why EFT has gained universal popularity is that it can lead to amazing results in no time and with an extremely simple technique. Sangeeta gave evidence of its efficacy, and won several hearts to EFT that day. Says one participant with moist eyes, “I was going through a difficult phase. I am so glad I enrolled for this class. I can see the universe conspiring to help me.” The Sound Journey By GL Sampoorna Sound has the power to heal everyone. It is the connection between body and mind. Barely a minute into the workshop, Sampoorna instructed participants to utter “Ah!” Though simple, most people found that it had a deep effect when done repeatedly. All one has to do is to take a deep breath and let it go, exclaiming “Ah!” But it’s important to stay relaxed and quiet after making this sound a few times, as it’s also during the silence that the healing takes place. “Ah” has no rules; you can say it the way it comes naturally to you. It’s the sound of our first breath, and last exhalation. It’s the sound of the heart chakra – it’s the sound of love. The workshop included over 10 exercises with different sounds, most of which can be practised on a daily basis: “Hum”, for instance, balances and centres you. Its purpose is to vibrate the body. Next, making the “viz” sound felt good. It helps in releasing overwhelming fear or past traumas. There was a “gibberish” exercise that was liberating. Participants had to actually talk in gibberish with their partners – it allows the right brain to process the emotional garbage without getting into the trauma of analysis. Sampoorna concluded the workshop with a moving exercise, during which everyone chanted their own name, and then the name of one person from a group of five, mentally focusing on the intention the person chose: happiness, peace, forgiveness. As it combined the power of sound and thought, this exercise had a deep, calming effect. So what’s your sound diet? Book Launch: Harnam Sethi’s Journey to Self Discovery In a glittering event marked by the presence of celebrities like Suresh Oberoi and Shekhar Suman, author PS Wasu’s book, Harnam Sethi’s Journey To Self Discovery published by Life Positive Publications, was launched at the Mumbai Expo this year. PS Wasu spoke about the protagonist’s search for success in life, and later for happiness. And that it was only after he gave up effort that he found not just happiness, but also love. He realised that life flowed from effortfulness to effortlessness. Said Guest of Honour, Shekhar Suman, “I believe that this is everyone’s story. I too am Harnam Sethi. I strongly feel that I am here at this book launch for a reason.” He also read out a few excerpts from the book. Said Chief Guest, Suresh Oberoi, “To arrive at the state of effortlessness itself involves effort. But that is the whole human journey. We identify too much with the body. Initially I used to think I, Suresh Oberoi, have a soul. But now I function from the premise that I am a soul with a body. And I have trained myself to think that others too are basically souls possessing a body. This has really helped me to overcome my anger.” Day 2 Emotional and Spiritual growth by Nilima and Vijay Bhat Combining the tenets of psychology with that of spirituality, the Bhat couple made the participants realise that instead of being controlled by their emotional impulses, it was they who were in the driver’s seat. “Psychology without spiritual practise is arid and ultimately meaningless, while spirituality without grounding in psychological work leads to vanity and illusions. Therefore our approach is psycho-spiritual,” they said. “Emotions are part of our energy body, and emotions are basically e-motion, ie, energy in motion,” said Nilima Bhat. “But they are not the real you and by knowing our real self we can bridge the gap between our humanness and our divinity. This union can be brought about by reclaiming our lost half, to become the whole person.” She shared three dimensions of addressing this wholeness. 1) Psychological i.e. integrating, the inner masculine and feminine 2) Ecological: balancing one’s humanness with nature and 3) Uniting the human with the Divine. Later, the couple taught three types of meditations which involved centring the spirit, expanding the mind, and transcending to the Source. They ended the workshop by stressing that spiritual growth was a heroic journey, yet at the same time there would be people to help you in that journey. A small skit too was performed by the participants reflecting the gradual growth of human consciousness. Said Shilpa Venkatesh from Vashi, “This workshop was extremely good. I liked both the facilitators very much.” Said Anish, a theatre person, “I feel I have taken a leap in my evolution today. People get pulled in by the energy of the Expo itself.” Thought Yoga by Krishna Iyer The practice of Thought Yoga conducted by facilitator Krishna Iyer on behalf of Tejgyan Global Foundation, laid emphasis on being aware (of your thoughts), being connected (to the Source), and being happy. He offered seven sutras (or axioms) that, when understood and applied, bring inner peace, spiritual growth and harmony in relationships. 1. “Before anything is created in the physical plane, it is first created in the mental plane.” 2. “What you think consciously and feel passionately about will manifest.” 3. “Focus on what you want; not on what you don’t want.” 4. “The world is not as it appears to you; the world is how your thoughts are.” 5. “There is enoug
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