TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) holds their conferences worldwide and attract thousands of innovative thinkers in these fields.
In a recent TED conference in Taipei (Taiwan), on 15th January 2011, Swami Veda Bharati was asked to do the closing session. Each speaker in this conference is limited to 18 minutes. The speakers were asked to present their views on any one or many of the nine questions:
1. What is it like to learn like a baby again?
2. Is our culture controlled by media?
3. What makes a life worth celebrating?
4. How close are we to sustainable energy?
5. Is simplicity gone forever?
6. How far is our imagination frontier?
7. What world will we live tomorrow?
8. What is the price of clean water?
9. Do we have room for disappearing cultures?
Swamiji started his presentation with the usual short and intense meditation which need not be reproduced here. His closing of the meditation was:
Maintain the flow. Observe how the mind, the name and the breath are flowing together as a single stream.
Maintain the feel of the flow and gently open your eyes without breaking the stream of consciousness.
As he led the audience to open the eyes from meditations he continued:
Now you look with your eyes as a baby looks at the world. Everything new, everything fresh, nothing warped out from imprints and impressions, everything new.
One who learns the art of contemplation and making the mind flow as a smooth stream negates nothing excludes nothing.
He sees the world as a baby sees it. At the same time sees the world as an adult sees it.
Such a one does not abandon spirituality, the inner happiness, in favour of technology, does not abandon technology in favour of spirituality.
What can be obtained by technology -- do obtain that. What can be obtained by contemplation –- do obtain that.
I’ll give you an example. Mr. Gunter Pauli (who spoke before me) is so impressive. He talked to us about how the heart may be made stronger with very simple technologies.
But, without the technology what can you obtain? I was doing some MRI experiments in Germany in Bremen University testing what kind of brain waves are generated through different techniques of meditation. After the test, the gentleman moderating called me and said, “Look at the computer screen, the picture of your brain. How old did you say you are?” That was four years ago. I was seventy four. He said, “This brain the picture shows is fifty three years old.” Without technology.
So, with technology, without technology,operate in life with both options.
In the exterior world and in the interior world, both, a contemplator will look at the production quotient, will also look at, as the King Wangchuck of Bhutan has proposed, the national happiness quotient.
One of my yoga students went from India for the first time to Germany. They took him out to show him the big malls, shopping malls, supermarkets, very impressive. He came back. They asked him, “What did you think”? He said, “Fine, but nobody was laughing.” So big malls and laughter – can both go together?
Not only the worship of youth. The worship of youth, the worship of modernity together with the stories of the ancients. What the youth can create and what narratives the elders can give - listen to both at the same time.
Sometimes I dream of a global TV network that only broadcasts traditional cultures. People sitting in a village square by the bonfire through the night and singing the songs in those six thousand languages which are about to disappear by the end of this century.
Why can we not enjoy those songs, those epics, those narratives while we also enjoy all the modern Hollywood-Bollywood stories and whatever else that we can create, both at the same time? Interior and the exterior, spiritual and the physical, gross national product and gross happiness product.
This you can obtain not by negating, not by canceling your busy business life. You can create also by finding those few moments in the day that are kept concealed by your lack of observation.
Five minutes before leaving your bed, you have time. Two minutes before breakfast, you have time. Two minutes after sending the children to school, you have time. Two minutes after coming home from work, you have time.
Wash off that which you have gathered of the tensions and stress. Come back home to your interior self and make your brain younger and look at the world with the eyes of a baby and speak also the wisdom that your elders could give you.
Do both at the same time.
It can be done.
A contemplator negates nothing, excludes nothing, is both ancient and modern. He recites the texts as I do from the third millennium B.C. and also reads the modern newspapers, both, at the same time enjoying both, and imbibing wisdom from both.
Ten seconds are left out of 18 minutes.
As he always does, Swamiji closed the session with a short meditation:
Bring your attention to yourself again. Relax your forehead. Feel the flow and the touch of your breath in your nostrils with whatever name of divinity, flowing in each breath. Continue feeling the breath flow in your nostrils.
At this point, Swamiji gently slipped off the stage but the audience did not know that he had left. They continued in contemplative absorption.
To see and hear the video of Swami Veda at TEDxTaipei 2011, please go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qs7jNNlfEcQ