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If you are given an opportunity to make a positive difference in your community, would you take it? I certainly would. If the positive difference is the need of the current hour – even BETTER. Right now the violence in our society and world in general has seen new heights that it is unimaginable sometimes. Be it the Sandy Hook shooting or the Colorado shooting or the Delhi gang rape. Before trying to address this issue, lets take a step back to introspect where does it violence or what are its causes. Violence is the result of a combination of biological, social, and psychological factors, especially those that increase exposure to vulnerability, shame, and humiliation. Preventing violence must involve the opposite: making sure people feel safe, cared about, and connected, while ensuring they have a healthy and realistic sense of self esteem and self-worth.

Recently I was talking to a friend of mine where she was suggesting some changes in the law and educational system to remove violence. I was arguing against it citing many people have tried that before and it has never worked because it couldn’t be implemented in mass. Just one person trying to create a revolution against the government to bring about laws can create awareness about the issue but bringing about a change in the underlying attitude requires something more. A “X” factor that will change people’s core values itself. A change so basic that changes their total outlook towards violence. We finally agreed upon that currently there is no way of doing this. But we were so wrong!

It seems that we have solved this problem so many times in the history of man kind. Only that we have forgotten our history and the different ways of doing it. Core values against violence like Love, Affection, Compassion have always been imbibed in spiritual teachings and practices and this is the missing ‘X’ factor according to me. Everyone has to cultivate these core values from a very young age in them and make it a second nature in order to not fall into the trap. Spiritual leaders are here to help us but the problem is help comes after the event in form of disaster recovery or personal counseling or service project to help the victims. Very few proactive steps have been taken to avoid a problem and its sustenance and success trivial in a global scale.

Not anymore! 🙂 Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, a global humanitarian and a spiritual leader who started the largest non-profit volunteer based organization, The Art of Living, has started a movement called Campaign for a Stress Free Violence Free Community where every individual can contribute towards the idea. The campaign emphasizes on bringing about the change that you want to see in your community in YOU first.

The Wright brothers appeared crazy before they flew. I have this crazy idea – a world without violence.  With all the violence in the world this idea may appear to be hoping for a Utopia, but we need to dream, and we will get there. -Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

The campaign has got two main components in it. Go Inward and Take Action.

Go Inward

Any change that needs to be brought outside starts with you. Keeping a balanced state of mind and body is important. This is the first step in the campaign. Going inward. It is about how to get that peace and clarity inside of you. How do you do that? Meditate. Sit silently. Art of Living programs, etc.

Take Action

This is the step which needs action. All of us need to come together to bring our peaceful voices and make it louder than that of violence. It starts with doing good to others individually and as a group. The campaign has got a lot of options for these.

Go Inward & Take Action

Go Inward & Take Action

The idea here is to take a pledge to do an activity from each of these components for at least once a week. The campaign will run for 6 months from March until October and each week will have a different theme and a featured organization with whom we can work with or you can work with an organization of your choice. Anyone can get involved in only three easy steps

  1. Join the campaign in their web site stressfreeviolencefree.org
  2. Attend the campaign event kick off along with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar(Yay! He is coming to the Bay area. Info in another post!) and other community leaders. You can buy the tickets for the event here – http://stressfreeviolencefree.org/launch/. It is only 25$!
  3. Follow the campaign and stay engaged.

What is your excuse?

The main excuse that I had for joining such a campaign was TIME. The most famous excuse we all have. Who has got the time to do all these? Well, the campaign has answers to that too. You can make a change even if you have 30 seconds of free time! You can effect a change based on how much free time you have – 30 seconds or 7 minutes or 30 minutes or a whole day. It is totally your choice how you engage yourself. Here is a list of activities you can do – http://stressfreeviolencefree.org/campaign/

It is that simple! Just 3 simple steps to build a stress free and violence community. Can it get better than this?

Will it work?

I had this question in me – Can a small act of kindness by just one individual bring a change in a community of so many? This got answered by this beautiful video that I saw today. Enjoy!