Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Launches NonVio Movement From Chicago In Response To The Growing Culture Of Violence In American Society

Posted on: Thursday, April 4, 2013 | Posted by: Art of Living Universe

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CHICAGO: To counter the rampant culture of gun violence across the US, Indian spiritual guru and Art of Living Foundation (AOLF) founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar launched an ambitious movement called Non-Violence: No Higher Calling (NonVio) at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont. Calling for individual pledges to acts of non-violence to counter the growing violence in society, the NonVio movement aims to collect one billion such pledges -  which means 100 pledges for every one act of violence recorded in the US each year.

Since Chicago is one of the most violence prone cities in the country, many local grassroots civic organizations grappling with the pandemic, politicians and bureaucrats participated in the launch ceremony. On this occasion, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn’s resolution to declare  March 28 as `Non-Violence: No Higher Calling’ Day was introduced by long-time Art of Living Foundation teacher Debra Poneman.  Teresa Marr, the Governor’s representative, read out the resolution and presented a plaque to Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (9th District), Congressman Danny Davis (7th), Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, and 47th Ward Alderman Ameya Pawar were also present at the kick-off ceremony. Addressing the gathering, Ravi Shankar said the root cause of societal violence is individual stress that can be relieved and avoided with deep relaxation through meditation and a practice of regulated breathing (Sudarshana Kriya) taught by AOLF. If negative emotions such as stress remain bottled up, they suddenly get unleashed in irrational and destructive acts, he said.

Sri Sri recounted his experiences in war-torn Iraq and mentioned points from the recent Huffington Post article where he was quoted as saying that “inside every culprit is a victim waiting to be heard” and “a joyful person will not commit acts of violence.” In the presence of the ideal human of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, others simply lose their animosity, the spiritual guru said.

“Keep a big smile on the face and let it percolate the whole body and every cell,’’ he said, putting everyone present through a profound experience of deep meditation. What lent immediacy, and practicality to his message was the presence of both victims and perpetrators of gang violence from the worst neighborhoods in the greater Chicago area.

Acknowledging the despair and helplessness of the young, MC Juliet Gutierez, counselor at West Town Academy, said they cannot wait for authorities to initiate a non-violence movement. She introduced community leaders present who exemplify the possibility of individual and social change. Having signed the pledge for 365 days of nonviolent acts, Congresswoman Schakowsky focused on the Violence against Women Act that was renewed last year and insisted the US must be a leader against violence inflicted on women around the world. Congressman Davis said connecting with our “brothers and sisters” was the way to finding both oneself and God, which was echoed later by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s remark that “what about me?” is the mantra for depression. Nilesh Patel then introduced Sri Sri Ravi Shankar with a brief video on his initiatives transcending race, nationality, and other barriers. Sri Sri’s vision of nonviolent transformation is being implemented through service projects in over 150 countries worldwide.

Groundbreaking work is being done through AOLF’s sister organization, The International Association for Human Values (IAHV), with veterans suffering from PTSD, local prison inmates (including those at Stateville Correctional Center and the Cook County Jail), and with students through the Youth Empowerment Seminars (YES! for schools) now being taught at numerous schools throughout the Chicago area.
As an ambassador of peace and a respected neutral figure, Sri Sri has been invited by governments throughout the world to play a key role in conflict resolution. He has brought opposing parties to the negotiating table in Iraq, the Ivory Coast, Kosovo, Kashmir and Sri Lanka.

Source: News eastwest

Teresa Marr, the Governor’s representative, read out the resolution and presented a plaque to Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

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