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March 2020 How to Fill Your Heart With Love DAAJI A Silent Revolution YOGRISHI SWAMI RAMDEV From Mediocrity to Greatness NANCY SUMARI We aOrene

Uniting Humanity CREATIVE TEAM Editorial Team — Meghana Anand, Elizabeth Dear readers, Denley, Emma Ivaturi, Vanessa Patel, Mamata Venkat There are moments in human history that define change. Design & Art — Emma Ivaturi, Uma Maheswari, And today, people with vision have already perceived the Rahul Singh Parmar, Ananya Patel, Jasmee shift in consciousness that has been brewing for some Rathod, Rujuta Sinha, Ramya Sriram time. A new era has been ushered in. An era for humanity Writers — Eva Du, Michele Dongmo, Diya to unite, for people of all cultures to honor and value each Muralishankar, Ankur Naik, Aline Nicolai, other, and for us to respect and love our Mother Earth Kamlesh Patel, Mamata Venkat, Ravi Venkatesan who sustains our very existence. This movement toward Interviewees — Mary Gordon, Sukriti Vadhera unity and harmony is building all around the world, like Kohli, Yogrishi Swami Ramdev, Nancy Sumari an unstoppable rolling snowball. People from all walks of life are wishing for the change to come, especially today’s ISSN 2455-7684 youth. And it is time that the rest of us give them a future by supporting it. One of the first divides is religion – and CONTRIBUTIONS people continue to fight wars or hold prejudice based on [email protected] their religious beliefs, shameful as that would be to a God ADVERTISING who is universal for everyone. [email protected] SUBSCRIPTIONS So in this edition we celebrate the movement towards [email protected] unity and harmony. It starts with each one of us, and with every group that is willing to unite. Yogrishi Swami EDITOR − Neeraj Kumar Ramdev celebrates unity, Daaji celebrates unity, and PRINTED BY − Sunil Kumar together they have brought their two organizations Kala Jyothi Process Pvt. Limited, 1-1-60/5, RT C together to support and complement each other. Each of Cross Roads, Musheerabad, Hyderabad-500 020, our young contributors celebrates the breaking down of Telangana barriers and preconceptions so that everyone’s genius is recognized in a world that has outgrown prejudice, labeling PUBLISHER − Sunil Kumar representing and peer pressure. There is a courage brewing that bodes Spiritual Hierarchy Publication Trust on behalf of well for our future civilization, even though there is still a Sahaj Marg Spirituality Foundation, Chennai. long way to go. © 2020 Sahaj Marg Spirituality Foundation May these articles inspire you to initiate unity and Printing, publishing, distribution, sales, harmony in your own communities. sponsorship and revenue collection rights vests with the Publisher alone. All the best, The editors All rights reserved. ‘Heartfulness’, ‘Heartfulness Relaxation’, ‘Heartfulness Meditation’, ‘Sahaj Marg Spirituality Foundation’, ‘SMSF’, ‘www.Heartfulness. org’, the ‘Learn to Meditate’ logo, the ‘Heartfulness’ logo are registered Service Marks and/or Trademarks of Sahaj Marg Spirituality Foundation. No part of this magazine may be reproduced in any form or by any means without prior written permission from the Publisher. The views expressed in the contributions in this publication do not always reflect those of the editors, the Heartfulness Institute, or the Sahaj Marg Spirituality Foundation.

contributors KAMLESH PATEL Also known as Daaji, he is the YOGRISHI SWAMI RAMDEV current Heartfulness Guide. He offers a practical, experiential Yogrishi Swami Ramdev is an approach to the evolution of Indian Yoga Guru known for his consciousness that is simple, easy to work in Ayurveda, Ashtanga Yoga, follow, and available to people of all ages and walks of agriculture and business. He co- life. Daaji is also a prolific speaker and writer, and his two founded Patanjali Ayurveda Ltd. with books, The Heartfulness Way and Designing Destiny, are his colleague Balkrishna. He has also both #1 bestsellers. campaigned assiduously against government corruption. From 2003, Aastha TV has featured his programs in their MARY GORDON morning Yoga slots and he has since become instrumental in Yoga’s surge of popularity around the world. He walks Mary is recognized internationally the talk, living a simple life, eating only sattvik foods and as an award-winning social sleeping on the floor. Despite being such a successful entrepreneur, educator, author, businessman, he owns no shares in his company. He is an child advocate and parenting inspiration to many. expert, whose programs are informed by empathy. In 1996 she NANCY SUMARI created the Roots of Empathy program, which is now offered in many countries, and in 2005 she Nancy is a Tanzanian author, created the Seeds of Empathy program for 3- to 5-year- businesswoman and social olds in childcare. She is also the founder of Canada’s first entrepreneur. She is the Managing and largest school-based Parenting and Family Literacy Director of Bongo5 Media Group Centers. Mary speaks and consults to governments, Ltd, the Executive Director of The educational organizations, and public institutions, Neghesti Sumari Foundation and including the World Health Organization, the Skoll The Jenga Hub, as well as a published World Forum, and the United Nations. author of the children’s book series, Nyota Yako. In 2017, Africa Youth Awards named her among the 100 Most SUKRITI VADHERA KOHLI Influential Young Africans. Sukriti is the founder of Doctor of Happiness. She is an artist who is helping young people with depression and other mental conditions through her art and online platform. Her Instagram account tagline is “A Reservoir of Hope & Encouragement.” She helps youth handle peer pressure, and the burden of being politically correct all the time, feeling it to be the need of the hour. March 2020

inside in the field thought in A New Era action innerview Mamata Venkat 06 The Heartful Strategist From Mediocrity to - Part 2 Greatness focus Ravi Venkatesan Interview with Nancy Sumari 20 30 THE HEART IS THE KEY A Silent Revolution In Pursuit of a Dream Interview with Yogrishi Aline Nicolai Swami Ramdev 24 12 You Are Your Only Where Do You Want to Be? Competition Anjana Ramesh Diya Muralishankar 14 26 Your Anchor Lies Within Ankur Naik 16 Heartfulness

what's up 78 taste be inspired of life it changes A User’s Guide to Living - Doctor of Happiness everything Part 3 Art Essay and Interview with Kamlesh Patel Sukriti Vadhera Kohli Roots of Empathy - Part 2 52 66 Interview with Mary Gordon 40 Meditate … Listen! The Gift of Today Michele Dongmo Eva Du 62 74 Elsewhere Ramya Sriram 76 March 2020

IN THE FIELD The Ushering In of a New Era MAMATA VENKAT shares her On a cool, windy morning the 75th anniversary of its first experience of attending an on Tuesday, January organization, Shri Ram Chandra extraordinary event near 28, the Hyderabadi sun Mission, with the inauguration Hyderabad, India – the slowly cast its light over 40,000 of the world’s largest meditation inauguration of a vast new Heartfulness practitioners quietly center. This was to be the first meditation center in honor of sitting together in meditation at of three separate seminars – the 75 years of Heartfulness. Kanha Shanti Vanam Ashram. first from January 28th to 30th, the Heartfulness was celebrating second from February 1st to 3rd, 6 Heartfulness

IN THE FIELD and the third from February 7th the audience, explaining the purpose of each, and encouraging the to 9th. All in all, 100,000 people practitioners to utilize them in times of need. He later expressed his attended the three seminars. enthusiasm and joy to be part of the celebrations. Seekers from around the world had been eagerly awaiting At the end of his visit, he said, “Though I am leaving physically, Shri the arrival of this momentous Ram Chandra Mission will be in my heart, mind, and soul forever. occasion. In the days prior, they And those who have not yet come to this spiritual path, they, too, will came in waves, filling up the eventually find this because it is the very goal of life.” newly-constructed dormitories with suitcases, laughter, and a readiness to absorb the subtle meditative condition that was pervading the dusty Indian air. On the inauguration day, Daaji was joined on stage by Yogrishi Swami Ramdev, the co-founder of Pantanjali Ayurved. Swamiji Ramdev sat peacefully with Daaji as he conducted meditation sessions over the course of the three-day celebration, and also demonstrated his extensive knowledge of Ashtanga Yoga to the audience. He shared a few yogic techniques with March 2020

IN THE FIELD During the second seminar, Raja Yoga, meditation in the gardens, medicinal gardens, the ashram was graced by modern world. This campus, the HFNlife shopping area, the presence of a number Kanha Shanti Vanam, presents Fausto’s Italian Restaurant, of government dignitaries, a model of holistic living.” the extraordinary children’s including the President of India playgrounds, the cottage and the First Lady, Ram Nath Kanha Shanti Vanam Ashram industries, and Books & More, Kovind and Savita Kovind. has experienced significant Kanha’s central bookstore. In the A long-time practitioner of evolution in the last year, evenings, everyone was treated to Heartfulness, President Kovind evolving into a beautiful and musical performances from both expressed his appreciation for peaceful utopia that is enjoyed classical and modern artists. the growth of the Heartfulness by all. Visitors not only have movement: the chance to utilize the meditation facilities to deepen “I am glad to see that Shri Ram their inner condition, but they Chandra Mission has been also have ample opportunity promoting both individual to explore each part of Kanha’s change as well as social change. 1,400-acre grounds, including The Mission is promoting the Yatra Garden, many the great ancient tradition of organic vegetable and herb Heartfulness

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Everyone is born a genius, but the process of living de-geniuses them. RICHARD BUCKMINSTER FULLER


A Silent Revolution In January 2020, YOGRISHI SWAMI RAMDEV visited Kanha Shanti Vanam to celebrate 75 years of the Heartfulness organizations, along with Daaji and 100,000 practitioners from around the world. Here, ELIZABETH DENLEY interviews him about what he is doing for youth in the field of education. Q: Namaste Swamiji Maharaj. I am delighted to interview you today. With education in mind, what would you like to offer young people, and what does Yoga have to offer the youth of today? The youth today have three main challenges: To maintain a fit body, without which we cannot fully achieve all that we set out to do. Our body has to support us. A fit body doesn’t just mean a healthy body, it means improving our physical capacity to its fullest. 12

FOCUS The second challenge for youth Life is like a seed: there are two yourself. There is Yoga related to is to work very hard on the types of seeds, bad ones and meditation, which is a solitary development of their mind and good ones. The bad ones must practice, and Yoga related to emotions, and ensure they are be squashed, and the good ones conducting your daily life going in the right direction. This must be allowed to blossom. This immersed in a meditative state. can be accomplished through is what we mean by purification. Ashtanga Yoga and Heartfulness Q: So you also include the practices. Q: Tell us about your character work of Yama education syllabus. What and Niyama. Ashtanga Yoga doesn’t only are you offering the youth promote a fit body, but through of India with this syllabus? Yes, they are included. Ashtanga its eight steps it also promotes Yoga is not merely one thing, regulation of the senses, the We have developed the syllabus not only exercise, not only brain, our emotions, actions, for students up to Year 12. meditation, not only breathing total behavior and character It includes different levels of exercises, not only spiritual – essentially our entire life Yoga practice, and we already things. In Ashtanga Yoga the cycle is affected. We stand to have government accreditation. eight steps are complete Yoga gain all-rounded development Behind the development of this practice. This is what we want to through Ashtanga Yoga, so that syllabus is a single goal – that highlight. our thoughts and our nature will the culture of Yoga is imbibed be transformed. by children in childhood and Q: So, this is what you do in a way that they can relate with students. There are so many obstacles to, including physical activity. in life which have to be There’s some confusion that For students’ internal surmounted to bring about Yoga is only about physical development, Yoga is absolutely inclusive and sustainable growth. activity, but what is Yoga? crucial. In economics and politics we Doing each and every action use two terms very often – of our life, whatever it is, with Finally, I would like to say that overall and balanced growth purity, with perfection – this is here, with the Heartfulness which is permanent, inclusive, Yoga. Meditation is different. practices, there is a silent sustainable, non-violent, and Everything is not meditation, revolution happening – a full of justice, for our overall but there is meditation in revolution that will influence the development. This can be everything – in your studies, spiritual life of the individual, realized through Ashtanga Yoga your actions and thoughts, in of the country and of the whole and the Heartfulness system, by everything you do. So, there is world. This is a massive work in fully regulating our body, mind, meditativeness in everything. progress for this century. thoughts, emotions, and our very But to meditate is different nature. – it is that which you do by

ILLUSTRATION BY ANANYA PATEL Where Do You Want to Be? Do you have a strong calling from within? How can you convert this calling into reality? ANJANA RAMESH shares the pursuit of her innate passion – the challenges faced and the lessons learnt on the way. When I was three, my mother enrolled me in a dance class. Be it the school cultural program, college fests, or outstation programs, dance has always been a part of life for me. You don’t quite realize the actual value of something you love until you lose it, or you are on the verge of losing it. When I started seriously studying at college, dance took a backseat. I almost lost it, for there was no time for dance classes or performances – nothing. But this nothing is what actually drove me to find my something. I felt like a part of me was dying, and if I hadn’t saved it back then, I would have been completely lost by now. 14 Heartfulness

FOCUS I took an overnight decision entire approach to dance – my dance for what it is. It helps me to pursue what I love. Dance outlook, the way I dance, and identify with the inner calling had a completely different the way I think, and the quality and find a new dimension each meaning that night; I had never of reasoning and going beyond. time. I have realized that dance experienced this bond that I Peace and quiet are things that not only helps the dancer find share with the art before. It was dance brings. It is something I joy, it is also a language that can an awakening, an inner calling, will go into at a deeper level. help overcome stress, agony, and and that has kept me alive ever depression, taking the audience since. The moments I cherish most are to another plane. those when I dance for myself, With a busy travel schedule, lost in the moment, lost within. In life, there are certain performances every month, These moments help me explore decisions that you will take. teaching classes, managing an There is a voice from within institution, and studying, life calling out, a constant nudge to has surely become challenging listen to yourself. Hear yourself in a very beautiful way. There are out. Society may tell you what to no weekends, no partying, no do, but you are the only one who socializing, and no 10 a.m. to 6 can tell yourself what is right for p.m. work timings. My schedule you. Do you want it? is unpredictable and physically demanding, but mentally I’m Life is too short to make wasted content and happy. Performing decisions and live with regrets at different venues enables me later on. If you know you can to travel across the globe, meet create something out of your different people and share ideas, passion, then give it a shot. visions and my art. It may be challenging, but if you are committed and true to Teaching dance fills me with yourself, your life will become a rejuvenating energy, as my meaningful. Try overcoming students are so full of positivity, your fears with your passion, happiness, love, and an undying and you will be surprised at the enthusiasm to learn. I teach with enormous strength and energy an aim to have them understand that comes to you. the dance form as a whole, not just as a performing art. You are enough for yourself. But I never stopped being a student. I always wanted to study, and enjoy reading and learning new things. This innate desire led me to pursue a Masters in Fine Arts, and the course has changed my March 2020 15

Your Anchor Lies Within ANKUR NAIK Despite studying engineering, I chose Yoga than on the days I am not. Once you fall into a as a career, so that I could take the benefits rut with bad influences, it becomes increasingly that I experienced to other youth, and difficult to say no and come out of that rut. Yoga contribute to the development of our collective boosts my willpower to listen to the little bird human consciousness. inside me that always knows the right thing to do. To me, Yoga means to be free from the influences After completing my engineering degree, I was of the mind and to be in the here and now. It has placed in the very first company that came for many applications in daily life. Saying no to bad campus recruitment. influences is easier on the days I am doing Yoga 16 Heartfulness

FOCUS Everything was going very smoothly, but six Once we start going down the path of self months into the corporate setup I began to loathing, it becomes difficult to be happy with question the whole system. I started looking for who we are, and we tend to think of ourselves alternative careers that were more meaningful. as underachievers. The education system and the While exploring, I came across a postgraduate society in this era don’t help in this regard either. liberal arts program called the Young India Fellowship offered by Ashoka University. Having In contrast, when you find something that allows written the CAT exam, I had two options in hand: you to connect to your inner self, you no longer one was to choose the regular route of pursuing look outside yourself for validation. You channel an MBA after engineering to climb the corporate whatever it is that wants to make an appearance in ladder, and the other was to choose an off-beat the world through you. Once I started meditating, path by pursuing a liberal arts education and I could choose things that were good for my exploring other options. I chose the latter and it growth. I became more comfortable with who I turned out to be very soul satisfying. I met students was, and didn’t need to prove anything to anybody from different streams of education, with different else to find happiness. thought process, and amazing teachers. All this opened and stretched my mind to new dimensions. We have immense potential to achieve whatever it is we set out to achieve. And given the state At Ashoka, I met a Heartfulness Meditation of things in the world today, I am interested in trainer and my life took a turn for the better. making wise choices that are good for us and for I started meditating with her very frequently, our progeny. Now! sometimes twice daily for many days. I took many friends along also – those who wanted to experience meditation – and all of them had profound experiences. I saw the impact Yoga and meditation were having on other youngsters and decided I should pursue them further and get a deeper understanding. Coincidentally my trainer introduced me to the Heartfulness Fellowship Program, which has a Yoga branch. What more could I have asked for? I decided to go for it. And now the journey continues. I consider that giving way to peer pressure and competition is because of a lack of self-worth, which happens when we lose touch with our inner self. When we don’t have a practice that allows us to connect with our inner self, we easily fall prey to our shortcomings and negative thought processes, and that can be detrimental for growth. March 2020 17

It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities. J.K. ROWLING

thought in action

THE HEARTFUL STRATEGIST PART 2 In part 1 of the Heartful Strategist, RAVI VENKATESAN introduced a framework to map how our consciousness manifests into strategies that have consequences and interact with our ecosystem. In this second article, we will explore three cases of strategic choices that illustrate this framework.

Ecosystem THOUGHT IN ACTION Outcomes Information from Consequences the external world Prior Knowledge Choices Desired outcomes Strategies Ecosystem of stakeholders Consciousness (Mind, Ego, Intellect) Diagram 1 Heartful Strategist Let us take three cases of strategic choices made by leaders: The first one is a strategic choice made by Pope Benedict XVI. He resigned in 2013, becoming the first pope in modern times to do so. The last pope who resigned on his own initiative was Celestine V in 1294. Many things were surprising about his decision. He gave up one of the most powerful positions available to humanity. He resigned knowing that he would likely be succeeded by Pope Francis, a man who had views opposed to his own in many areas. He resigned knowing that the church would go through significant reforms and transformation. His choice had significant positive consequences for a large portion of the world’s population. March 2020 21

THOUGHT IN ACTION The second one is a strategic choice made by these decisions? Were they the same as the average Henry Ford. In 1914 Ford decided to more than person? They all achieved significant outcomes, double the basic wage for workers. This decision but they were driven by different motivations, and was unprecedented and shocking. The trend in operated with different levels of consciousness. capitalist America had been the rich getting richer, and the lot of workers staying the same. Ford also Pope Benedict’s choice was most noble, it reflected reduced the price of his Model T car from $800 to sacrifice, altruism and courage. The level of $350, so that many of his workers could afford a consciousness to make such a choice takes a lot of car. refinement. Ford said, “We believe in making 20,000 men prosperous and contented rather than follow Henry Ford was after all a businessman, and no the plan of making a few slave drivers in our doubt he sought ways to grow his wealth. However, establishment millionaires.” he made a choice that combined his interests with His decision had significant positive consequences the interest of his workers and ended up making for many, and also made him a billionaire. car ownership in America affordable for common people, thereby changing his ecosystem forever. The third decision is a strategic choice made by Captain Hernan Cortes. He landed in Vera Cruz Hernan Cortes was motivated by conquest. His in 1519 to begin a conquest and his first order was consciousness was at a different level. His decision to his crew to burn their own ships. Two years later forced his troops to do or die in their battles. The he conquered the Aztec empire. His decision was consequences were again significant. not just surprising, it was one that took significant courage. These examples illustrate the relationship between the consciousness level of one individual and These were all big decisions, courageous decisions, how it flows out in terms of strategic choice, that decisions that had significant consequences for a leads to consequences, that lead to outcomes, that large number of people, consequences that led to can change a whole ecosystem. In subsequent outcomes that impacted history, outcomes that articles we will explore how a Heartful Strategist changed ecosystems forever. What were the levels can work on refining their consciousness level to of consciousness that allowed these men to make make strategic choices that not only benefit them, but also deliver the best possible benefits to the broadest possible set of inter-related ecosystems. 22 Heartfulness


In Pursuit of a Dream ALINE NICOLAI Ihave French genes, but my appearance is the only European factor about me! I was born in Tamil Nadu and have spent most of my life in the south of India being chased by cows. I think I have had a very “blended” upbringing – a concoction of European and Indian influences that has shaped my worldview in a unique way. My passion for languages probably developed first from the fact that I lived in a bilingual household, and also in a country where most people speak at least two or three languages. The environment 24

THOUGHT IN ACTION sharpened my ear to hearing, don’t have fixed career plans, and balancing out that spiritual side interpreting and recreating I am open to living in any country with my everyday life, so much unknown sounds. When I and culture. Given that, there is so that the discrepancy between started interacting with a sea of one thing that I know I couldn’t the two has sometimes shocked international people, it irked me do without, and that is meditation. me into stopping my practice. not to be able to communicate Keeping that part of my life has That isn’t the solution though, with them in their own languages, proved challenging, especially in as I have found that being less and it seemed unfair that they the West – being a 20-year-old centered makes it harder to were the only ones putting in who is vegetarian and doesn’t deal with conflicts and stressful effort to be understood. So, I drink is already enough to set situations. started picking up any language I me apart. I have had a hard time could get my hands on and ended So, although I don’t have a up trying Spanish, Tamil, Hindi, specific dream to follow, I know Mandarin Chinese, German, it will pan out in time. I try Russian and Italian. I have varying to remind myself to focus on grasps over these languages and it developing myself in the present is tough to remember them when so that I will be ready for any there is no one to practice with. situation that arises along the way. When I do have the opportunity to practice, I enjoy it so much, and when I don’t have a class or language partner, I use websites or texting applications to practice with native speakers. I really need to feel the drive from inside to sit down, learn and improve myself. My current vision is to work at the UN, a multicultural and multilingual environment. It took me a while to realize that I could use my passion for languages as more than a hobby, and now I’m ecstatic that this is a possibility. I haven’t really felt a compulsion towards any one career path, so I

As teenagers, we’re plagued with questions about our existence, but all I’ve ever known for sure is that I was created to express myself freely. At some point in my childhood I picked up a crayon like every other child, the only difference being that I couldn’t put it down after that. My love for art later translated into a love for baking because I see cakes as edible art. You Are Both of these started as random flashes of inspiration, either from a book, a movie or an incident in my life, and gradually turned into a Your Only form of self expression. But it didn’t start out great. I burned numerous batches of brownies, as well as my mother’s favorite tablecloth, and once I dyed my cupcakes a sickly shade of green so that no one could bear to eat them. My hands were stained with paint multiple times and we once extracted dried glue from my hair. COMPETITION DIYA MURALISHANKAR shares her love of painting, baking and generally being confident in expressing herself and her feelings.

THOUGHT IN ACTION My art teacher was one of the main reasons I never lost hope in my work, even in the face of high competition. He saw something in me that I didn’t, so I held on to that and trusted his judgment. Tapping into my own potential has always been challenging, because creative hobbies are often accompanied by self doubt. However, it gets easier once you realize that comparing your work with that of others is pointless. Their work reflects who they are and not who you are. Every experience in your life shapes you into the unique person that you are, so your true competition can only be with yourself, helping you learn from your mistakes to make yourself a better person. So be proud of that lopsided cake, that funky painting, because confidence is 10% work and 90% delusion. With some practice, art and baking went from being mere hobbies to a way of life. I found comfort in my brush strokes and satisfaction in the happy smiles of the people who ate my goods. Having just one hobby is never enough – the world is too exciting a place for that! However, all my hobbies, including art, baking and singing, revolve around creating something from nothing, something unique that portrays my individuality. As I got older, doing all this for myself wasn’t enough, so I started hosting Bake Sales along with a couple of my friends. We raised money for a charity that helps less fortunate young women of my age to lead a life of dignity and freedom by providing them with a year’s worth of sanitary pads and hygiene products. As for my art, I started painting for my loved ones, because gifting them a painting or a sketch felt like sharing a piece of myself with them. I’d like to thank all my loved ones for keeping my artwork no matter how strange it is. March 2020 27

Nothing liberates our greatness like the desire to help, the desire to serve. MARIANNE WILLIAMSON


From Mediocrity to Greatness

INNERVIEW NANCY SUMARI, former Miss Tanzania and Miss World (Africa), is also a published author of children’s books, a businesswoman and social entrepreneur. Here she speaks with PURNIMA RAMAKRISHNAN as part of the GLOW Webinar series, on her roots, being crowned Miss World, the work she has been doing with children and youth, and the role of the heart. Q: In 2017, Africa’s Youth programs and applying I have very fond memories of Awards named you one of design making methodology my childhood. the 100 Most Influential to create value. Africans. You are a Today you are going to Beyond that, I went to school business graduate from inspire all of us to break in Kenya, graduated from the University of Dar es out from mediocrity to high school and came back to Salaam and the managing greatness. Welcome Nancy. Tanzania, and did my bachelor’s director of Bongo5 Media degree here in Business. I hope Group Ltd, which focuses Thank you so much for having to still continue with my studies on digital media creation. me, this is a great honor. at some point, soon hopefully. You are the founder and the I’m married with a daughter executive director of The Q: Likewise. Tell us a little who’s wonderful. I feel like I’ve Neghesti Sumari Foundation bit about yourself, Nancy. had an interesting journey so far, and the Jenga Hub that and I’m very thankful for that. runs programs to teach I’m the third-born of five But I often reflect and feel that kids from marginalized children. One of my parents is it’s almost like an out-of-body backgrounds how to do a farmer and the other runs her experience where I couldn’t software coding. You are own hotel business, she’s into imagine having the love that I interested in improving the catering. I had a very interesting have right now and the work state of your community childhood, I grew up on a farm that I’m doing, the opportunity by working towards digital and as you can imagine it was to meet people. To offer what literacy for all. And your full of adventure, mischief, and I have been given throughout foundation has transformed just joy and love. My parents my life is something I’m very learning outcomes for were very keen for us to get a thankful for. So, that’s a bit of youth and little children good education, and to also grow who I am. through its digital literacy up in a close-knit loving family. March 2020 31

INNERVIEW Q: Thank you. How has it naturally – the same way people go to school with a curriculum been since becoming a have been there for me, I feel I that is outdated, they are able beauty queen to becoming should be there for others, and to gain skills through our hub a philanthropist working for be there meaningfully. That’s and its program to allow them the education of children? why our work in providing to be a lot more competitive. Can you tell us a little bit and widening the education They are able to take advantage about that journey too? emphasis in Tanzania is very of the opportunities in the important; education will unlock technological industry and Yes, I think the journey through the potential in young people, so sector, and then come up with the beauty pageant was almost that’s what I want to work very ideas of value to serve their by chance. It was an opportunity hard at. communities. that just happened to me. I suppose it was meant to be Q: So, you have been part It’s also about part of my journey, but it was of these educational character a very big surprise, because I programs, and that has building, it’s had just finished high school shaped your life. Can you and I was hoping to pursue my tell us a little bit about the about building university education at that initiative of transforming self, about point in time. By chance, at a children, of transforming local restaurant here in Dar es the ways of education training children Salaam, I met a young lady who in Tanzania as you see it through values felt that I should be part of the today? competition, that it was a great like being opportunity. It felt like it was The education system in respectful, an opportunity, and when an Tanzania has a lot of challenges, honorable, loving, opportunity comes knocking, everything from an outdated caring, being of I’ve always been one to make the curriculum to not having well service, and most of it, so I did. enough trained teachers, to knowing who the overall infrastructure. So, they are and But beyond the beauty pageant, we thought to do something reflecting that to which was great and left a big meaningful and long-term, but the world. mark on my life, I’ve always felt also to be more future-ready, that it was my purpose to give and so we started programs back as much as I have been that will empower and equip given. There have been many children with the skills and opportunities where people held knowledge necessary in an ever my hand, where people helped transforming technological me. A lot of people were there world. And so, our programs for me through my journey, to are focused primarily on giving help me to be the best that I children these very important could be. They saw the potential skills, as we continue to work in me. So giving back through towards the fourth industrial the work that I do comes revolution. Thus, although they 32 Heartfulness

Q: How have you been able fact that we pay extra attention really important to focus back to make this difference to character building, and I on ourselves. This is especially so for children? What do you feel that is quite important with children and young people think is the key factor which in today’s world to be able to who will be the force in the can help them in decision- build self, and acknowledge next generation. I think it’s very making and wisdom? self, and another person. We important to instill these values have a saying here – it’s from in them. I think we try to have a more South Africa but it’s also applied holistic approach. It’s not just here a lot, and it is the spirit of Q: When speaking about about technology, because that’s Ubuntu. It speaks of the fact character building, what do not enough. It’s also about that you are able to see yourself you think is the role of the character building, it’s about in someone else or, rather, heart in transforming the building self, about training you able to see someone and child’s growing process, in children through values like empathize and acknowledge transforming the learning or being respectful, honorable, them, their self and their spirit, educational initiatives? loving, caring, being of service, and just be equal in that sense. and knowing who they are and I think we’re moving more than To be honest, everything starts reflecting that to the world. I ever into machines and artificial from the heart, everything think what sets us apart is the intelligence and robots, but it’s emanates from the heart and March 2020 33

INNERVIEW the soul. I think the heart plays to approach learning and each I think we can definitely practice a central key role in learning other more from the heart. I a lot more. Children look at the overall, in seeing our place in think that would change the older generation as a mirror, like the world and what our world world, to be honest. an oracle, and the more they see means. I think the heart is a us applying this, constantly and window and a reflection of the Q: Yes, the world can be consistently, that is one way to world, and what the world is changed if the role of do it. It’s like parenting – when to us and what we are putting the heart is understood a child is growing up, the first out into the world. A lot of properly. So how do you people they look up to are the the time, people are not able to think children can be immediate family surrounding be intentional enough when it encouraged to use their them. These types of habits comes to matters of the heart heart as often as possible; begin in the home, so I feel that and learning, or feeding the how can we help them to is the game-changer right there heart. It plays a central and learn this art of using the – the importance of the role of crucial role in learning, and heart? the heart in the home, in the definitely requires us to break family. Then we move beyond down those walls and be able that to schools, to education

institutions on all levels, and to governments, to how we lead our people. I feel it will be a multiplying butterfly effect. But it really does begin in the home. That is the most powerful place where values are instilled, where behavior is taught, and where love is shared. Then it multiplies to all other broken down or vanished to teachers is very important, areas of our lives, but it begins completely, and we are like you mentioned, because at home. We can all have a role moving towards the nuclear a teacher can use the first or to play when it comes to leading family and single parenting. the last five minutes of class to with the heart, teaching from Such is our age. When we simply share whatever is going the heart, and learning and speak about the family, on in the heart, or hear from feeding our heart when we are the home being the center, other people’s hearts. We are around our children and our where the role of the heart able to reach out to a lot of young people. Then it will take is nurtured, children spend religious institutions as well, for hold. For now perhaps it can more time in day care, in instance, here we have a lot of start in all corners where people school where other people families going to the mosque, who believe in it can start small are primary care givers. So, to church, and to the temple. and then multiply and take how can teachers or the They all preach about the heart the effect within our circle of school impart this, when it but perhaps to break down the empathy. cannot happen at home? silos and have a more relatable approach is also important. It Q: I totally agree with what I feel that we can utilize a lot can be styled in a manner which you say, but when you look of these platforms that young young people find a lot more at our society today, we people access. Reaching out relevant. It needs to be dynamic, are becoming more and more dispersed. Single parenting is on the rise, parents are not together in many families, and even when they are together they have very little time with their children because both are working. Even the role of grandparents is becoming less these days. We no longer have families with uncles and aunties around, the joint family has March 2020 35

INNERVIEW it needs to be true to our time, and it needs to be The role of the heart plays a central role for staying reflective. It could be available on a platform that true to our self, staying true to our purpose, and young people access, like Instagram or Facebook, following our calling. That ultimately takes us or these social platforms that have a lot of traffic then from mediocrity and elevates us all the way of young people. It can be packaged in a way that into greatness, because there is nothing greater they will find interesting and then, before you than being able to walk our own path, heed our know it, it’s cool, and it’s being applied, and it own calling and be the highest, truest expression sticks, and it goes on and on from there. of ourselves, of who we are meant to be in this world. I think being mediocre is turning away from Q: There is a question from a participant: that, turning away from the journey and applying “How can this role of the heart help something that does not necessarily fit you. I in breaking free from mediocrity to feel that the only way is to switch back from that greatness?” entirely and take heed of one’s heart. I would say it starts with our own self. I think Q: Thank you Nancy for joining us and for mediocrity stems from the fact that we are not your inspiring story. able to believe in ourselves, be ourselves, and take advantage of our own purpose, our own journey. Thank you. 36 Heartfulness

it changes everything Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable. MARY OLIVER

Roots of Empathy PART 2 MARY GORDON was Q: You talked about the generations and their effect on interviewed by JUDITH children. How important do you feel generations are – families, cultures – in helping children grow up in a safe NELSON at the Spirit society or safe place? of Humanity Forum in Iceland in 2019. In part 2, Well, children grow up in families. Lucky children grow up in she shares experiences communities. But not every family is part of a community, and your from her own childhood safety net only goes as far as your community net. So families do to demonstrate how have the ability to give children what they need to grow up, which is empathy develops in unconditional love, recognition. Society is only as safe as the way we support our families. children. I always look at: What are the policies in place? How do you cover vulnerability? The most important relationship in life, which is pretty much a template for every other relationship, is the parent-

IT CHANGES EVERYTHING It is the hand that infant relationship. What are the hand we have to nurture. If un-mats the the policies that allow that you nurture the nurturer, you relationship to be nurtured? Do will have a nurturing society. bubblegum in the you have a parental leave policy? I can’t emphasize enough the hair. That is the We have some participants here importance of holding the from the United States, one of family in the palm of your hand, hand you’ve got to two countries in the entire world and then the family will be the hold. The invisible without a parental leave policy. strength in the community. hand that really You need policies that say, yes, So here we have a gap or a the family is important, yes, cares for and does disconnect between what we education is important. And if the hard work of know from research, the policies you get it right in the family, child-rearing, we make, and the programs that education is easy. It’s challenging happen. I think if we recognize if you don’t get it right in that’s the hand we the capacity of every person the family, and it is of course have to nurture. If in a democracy to participate children who pay the price. in a meaningful way, we need you nurture the people to stand up and claim Q: We live in an age where nurturer, you will their rights in the society – the families can be quite have a nurturing right to belong, the right to have fractured, and children are a voice. And you develop those often brought up by single society. things in the family. parents. Is there any help you feel children need in The university of the kitchen those circumstances? Or table is where you enable life. do we apply the same ideas It’s where children develop their and expectations? values. It’s where the wallpaper could tell decades of stories, My expectation is that the tears and the laughter, the every child grows up in one capacity to enjoy one another, relationship where the adult to see one another, to feel says, “I will lay down my life for one another. And I think we you,” and it’s usually a parent. sometimes overlook the power Research says it doesn’t have to of the family: it is the enabler. be two parents, it doesn’t have When the family is in trouble, to be a mother and father. It’s society is in trouble. about dedication and devotion and putting that child before It is the hand that un-mats the yourself. It’s wonderful and bubblegum in the hair. That is liberating to know that a single the hand you’ve got to hold. parent can do an excellent The invisible hand that really job in raising a child, but you cares for and does the hard must have policies in society to work of child-rearing, that’s support that single parent. March 2020 41

IT CHANGES EVERYTHING Helping children learn to I don’t think there’s any one relate only happens when formula for healthy childhood they can understand how development. I mean if you look at an individual child, they all you feel. They have to come from a different basket. have empathy. You can’t order, “I’ll have these traits please.” And then you’ve got epigenetics: the gene pool you’re born with interacts with the experiences you have, to create the person who is. And shame on us if we don’t orchestrate experiences for every child so that they will have an appreciation for whom they are, what they are capable of, and have the ability to reach out to others. I think we have a crisis of connection in society. If you don’t have empathy you don’t have the ability to be in a relationship. I was asked some years ago by the UN on World Literacy Day to speak with the wife of the former president of the United States and two other people on a panel. I said, “What would you like me to speak about?” and they said, “We have heard that you said ‘As important as it is for children to learn to read at school, if they fail to learn to relate we will have failed societies.’” Helping children learn to relate only happens when they can understand how you feel. They have to have empathy. I think we live in an emotionally-illiterate world. 42 Heartfulness

IT CHANGES EVERYTHING I think the secret You have to learn to read people watching. Apart from to ending all the “traditionally” to pull yourself all his wonderful writings and out of poverty, but if you don’t philosophies, his capacity to be “-isms” in the learn to read emotions you’ll present and to connect to others world, the secret never learn to pull yourself out is even more impressive. He of isolation. And I think the invited me to a meeting in India to peaceful secret to ending all the “-isms” in and the meeting was on how coexistence, is to the world, the secret to peaceful we end suffering. He believes be able to see the coexistence, is to be able to see that we need empathy to end the humanity in the other. And suffering. humanity in the this Spirit of Humanity, this other. And this beautiful concept, is based on Coming to your question about empathy. spirituality in the world, I think Spirit of Humanity, it’s an untapped source of power this beautiful Q: The Dalai Lama has and joy. Sometimes we are so praised the work you are busy getting on with life that concept, is based doing. Have you been we almost miss the inner life. I on empathy. inspired by him? And do you think every person has in them think there’s a place in the the kindling to burst into a flame world at the moment for and to have a spiritual life which spiritual leaders? doesn’t have to have a name, a stamp or a brand. It doesn’t Yes, the Dalai Lama is hugely need to be part of a team. To inspirational. The lovely thing realize the essence of humanity about being with him is that he you can’t just put it in bottle is so present in the moment with and sell it. It’s something that’s you that you forget all the other incalculable, it’s something that March 2020 43

IT CHANGES EVERYTHING I think when you defies description, but without it Whenever I had a concern, allow yourself to you’re hardly human. especially when as a little child, there was always a lap to sit be vulnerable Q: What do you do to keep on. And when I was a teenager, you can connect so happy and positive? there was always an ear. So I learned to be vulnerable and not very readily to Well, I’m pretty well deliriously to feel embarrassed about that. other people. happy all the time, so I guess I think when you allow yourself I landed lucky in life. Coming to be vulnerable you can connect from a very big family, where very readily to other people. my dad gave most of our money away, it was multi-generational, I have a very deep chasm of so I haven’t suffered in life. Most friendships, temporary and people suffer, but I really haven’t long term. I get a lot of joy had challenges, and I’ve had from my family. I now have support. I’ve never been spoiled, four little grandbabies, and but I’ve had support. So I’m very my definition of a good week aware and appreciative of that. has changed. I have been 44 Heartfulness

IT CHANGES EVERYTHING accused of being a workaholic, I have in my and Passover, and I think it’s all particularly by my husband, but heart all the grand. it’s not “work” what I do. What good feelings I do is joyful play. The world is that came from Students at the university would endlessly fascinating and full of that nurturing, come to our house for Sunday undiscovered treasures, usually which had a dinner. On Sunday mornings, in people, but my new definition brand. I’m a “no- my dad would take one of us of a grand week is if I get to give name” now. I’ve to visit people in the hospital one bath to one little grandbaby. lost my brand, – elderly people who had So wherever I am, I always try but I’m quite nobody to visit them, because to get home to have at least one happy for that Newfoundland is an island and weekend day to give a bath. as I can fit in there wasn’t a highway. Those with anyone. who came from far away for the I think my spirituality is through hospital in St. John’s had no one relationships with others. I coming to visit them. It was a don’t have a formal spiritual good chance for me to hang out practice. I grew up in a convent with my dad, so I’d often go. school, so I guess I had very traditional religion as a child. And my dad would say, “Now Every time I left my home, one Skipper, would you like me to of my grandparents (both my pray with you or would you like grandmothers lived with us) me to recite?” would bless me with holy water We called all the elderly men and say, “Jesus, Joseph and Mary, “Skipper” because it was a we pray be with us always on fishing society and Skipper was this day.” So I got a kiss and was a term of endearment. And my blessed. I mean, how could you father could recite Shakespeare. go wrong! “Or would you like the little one to sing a song?” I don’t have that formally, but I They would always say they have the essence of it. I have in wanted the little one to sing a my heart all the good feelings song. You know, I would hide that came from that nurturing, behind the charts at the bottom which had a brand. I’m a “no- of the wrought iron bed and name” now. I’ve lost my brand, sing the song to the Skipper. It but I’m quite happy for that as really showed me that we’re all I can fit in with anyone. I can the same, whether we’re old or fit in with a Sufi experience and young. enjoy and appreciate that. I have good friends who are Muslim. My mother would take me to My husband’s Jewish so I run deliver food, coal and clothing a Jewish home. I can do Easter to people who didn’t have them. She’d pack a couple of us in the

IT CHANGES EVERYTHING car and collect clothes for people and coal, because in those days coal was the way we heated the house. We would go and deliver them to people who had a lot of children, as we had very big families then. She would be so respectful – she would stay and have a cup of tea with the lady of the house, no matter what the squalor, no matter how dirty the dishes. So if you were the child who was there, you would stay and have a cup of tea. I remember one time I turned the cup around because it was quite stained. It doesn’t mean it was dirty, but I guess I was being judgmental. Well, as I got into the car afterwards my mother said, “And Missy-moo, what makes you think you’re better? What makes you think your germs are better? Do you know how insulting that was?” I thought I’d been very quiet, but her point was that we are all a step away from trouble and it doesn’t make you less human because you’re poor, or you’re sick, or you’re old, or you’re in jail. Why are you in jail? Because something bad happened when you were a kid and you got into a bad trajectory, right? 46 Heartfulness

IT CHANGES EVERYTHING I think life is just So though I never suffered, I I had a chance to learn from my about being in saw life much bigger than most father. The other thing he did relationship. children. I had a comfort level was on Saturday nights: he would working in prisons when I was prepare an envelope, cut down When you close older. After school I would the middle, for the church the the curtain on volunteer with the women next day. Half of it was to keep your life, you’re prisoners and play Crazy Eights the church going locally, and the not counting card game with them. I could other half was for international dollars, you’re go to anyone’s home and feel donation. He’d take the globe out comfortable because they were just and say to whoever had come, counting loving like me, except different in their “Okay,” and we’d choose a place. relationships. luck. We’d choose, and he’d tell us My whole strategy in Roots of about that place: “In that country Empathy is different from most they don’t have democracy,” or organizations. You should see “There’s great poverty,” or “There the business schools fall about in are floods,” or “There’s famine,” or gales of laughter when I tell them whatever it would be. We’d find a what my strategy is. We’ve been charity in that place and he would very successful with no long-term make out the check, and he’d say, strategic plans. I call it “strategic “Mary, you’re not going to get serendipity.” If good stuff happens, your party shoes, because there’s go with it. If so-called good stuff a little girl in India who doesn’t happens and you have a sneaking have any shoes.” suspicion it’s not, don’t go with it. It’s not in any business school, I never had new clothes ever. I but it works for me because what had my sister’s clothes and there I have is a very good gut. I know a was nothing wrong with them. good person. I can’t tell you how I I didn’t begrudge it because I know, but I can tell you there are felt the money was being used a lot of good people here in this in a really meaningful way. I had Spirit of Humanity Forum. names for all those people – we created a whole scenario of who I don’t work with anybody with the money was going to – and it whom I don’t share a purpose, even gave me the sense that I was this if they want to give me millions of little “squeak” in a great big world dollars, which has happened. And of people who were just like me. I attribute that to my childhood. Nobody taught me anything We did our bit. It allowed us in particular. I was the middle to feel connected with a sense child, so nobody paid me much of empowerment that we could attention, mercifully. I never had do a little bit of something. It any huge expectation on me, but makes you happy to be able to be March 2020 47

IT CHANGES EVERYTHING in relationship, and it makes you At the time I didn’t think so! And criticize politicians. We also happy to volunteer. sometimes looking at the globe couldn’t talk about people being ill, and deciding “where,” and learning as my dad would have to leave the I was surrounded by volunteerism about it, got a bit tedious to tell table, he had such empathy. all the time and never thought of you the truth. But I had the sense it as volunteering. It was just what it was important. And my parents So we talked about ideas. It was a we did on Sunday morning – we – they weren’t teachers, but they wonderful nurturing of children, went up to the hospital or to the were “reachers” and they knew to listen and to ask questions. old age home, and we delivered how to reach people – were both It sounds formal, but it wasn’t clothes. I think all of us were very modest people, who would formal. It was pretty clear that happy, because we appreciated the be embarrassed to hear me saying when we came together, there opportunity to be in relationship this. They’re both gone now. was an opportunity to talk about with others. something bigger than ourselves. There was a recognition of each Nobody thought they were I think life is just about being in person in the family as a person. important is what I am saying. relationship. When you close the I remember when we graduated And I think that’s a good thing. curtain on your life, you’re not from the card table (there were so counting dollars, you’re counting many of us) to the real, big dinner loving relationships. To have the table where we could be part of ability without any effort at all, to the conversation, we were not have that learning, is a gift. It can allowed to talk about people or come to you through suffering, but things, so that the dialogue could I skated through life, I must say. I not become critical. We could talk never really had any suffering. about politics, but we couldn’t Q: It does sound like you had an incredible dialogue with your parents, and they were thoughtful about educating you in what really mattered. That must have been quite a privilege in many ways.

ILLUSTRATION BY JASMEE RATHOD be inspired Prayer is communication. It can range from the superficial to the profound: it can be a simple conversation, it can evolve to progressively deeper levels of communication and, eventually, it can become a state of communion. KAMLESH PATEL

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