New Meditation Center and Vegetarian Restaurant in Zlin

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Recently a huge new Meditation Center has been inaugurated in the Czech town of Zlin. Included are rooms for lectures, a Madal Bal Shop, a Gallery with Sri Chinmoy’s artwork and a vegetarian restaurant called “Pranaya”. The building and shops belong to Czech students of Sri Chinmoy. Photos by Ashish Zubaty.

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“Happiness” in the Amazing Stength Restaurant in Zurich

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“These sweet gems of wisdom by my dear friend Sri Chinmoy
are timeless truths full of encouragement, love and goodness.”
– Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Since the opening of the new vegan Restaurant AMAZING STRENGTH at the Müllerstrasse in Zurich (not far from the main station) I was fascinated and attracted by the enterprise owned by the Soyana company, a very dynamic production place for organic tofu and related products. It all started with a Vegelateria, the first Swiss ice cream shop serving ice cream with natural and organic ingredients, not using milk products and white sugar, end of of January of this year. In the meantime the next step could be reached in offering 25 seats in the restaurant adjunct to the Vegelateria. And yesterday the third in a series of exhibitions and events opened: color panels with quotes by Sri Chinmoy on happiness.

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A.W. Dänzer at the opening of the “Happiness” Exhibition in Zurich

The book in connection with the exhibition is called “The Jewels of Happiness”. Author, creative artist and renowned peace visionary Sri Chinmoy offers timeless wisdom and simple exercises for readers of all backgrounds. The complete audio book was released on March 12th with a launch on March 19th in New York City. Luminaries from all walks of life reach read a chapter from The Jewels of Happiness – including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Addwitiya Roberta Flack, Narada Michael Walden and Sudhahota Carl Lewis! Perfectly suited to our fast-paced lifestyles, The Jewels of Happiness includes short, insightful sections full of uplifting wisdom, charming aphorisms and easy to learn exercises. Each section stands on its own-with the entire book forming a tapestry of inspiration. “You can have the most joy just by imagining a child infinitely more beautiful than any child that you have seen in this world,” writes Sri Chinmoy. “You have inside you a child who is infinitely more beautiful. Just imagine it. While imagining it, you will get utmost joy.” Each of the 13 chapters in The Jewels of Happiness is on a different theme, such as peace, joy, patience, enthusiasm, sincerity, love, self-giving, humility, compassion, self-trascendence, simplicity and forgiveness.

At the opening of the exhibition there was also a screening of the film “happy” by Roko Belic. The movie takes us on a journey from the swamps of Louisiana to the slums of Kolkata in search of what really makes people happy. Combining real life stories of people from around the world and powerful interviews with the leading scientists in happiness research, the film explores the secrets behind our most valued emotion.

Viewers’ Comments: “Happy is one of those movies that will make you a better person for having seen it! An excellent, thought provoking movie that will grab your attention and your heart. This should be required viewing for everyone… There is a well done piece also about what doesn’t make kid’s happy. A great movie that will warm your heart, stir your soul and hopefully make you think about a practical application in your own life.”

“Important movie for the young. This is a movie where the subject matter is far more important than the quality of the movie itself (which is good). Had I received messages like this when I was young, I am sure I would have made fewer mistakes. Young persons understand that happiness is a life goal but they are often confused among conflicting messages on how to get there. By illustrating those who have achieved happiness as well as those who have not, the movie could potentially be very useful in helping young people make responsible and fulfilling life choices. So hopefully this little movie will be recognized as a motivational tool for the young and used in our classrooms and in other venues where teens might be receptive to its message.”

“Amazing. This film will make you happy! What an amazing feeling I had after watching this film. Film may not be the correct term in describing this passion project of genius, Roko Belic… I think the word experience is apt. Funded and executive produced by comedy directing legend Tom Shadyac (Ace Ventura, Evan Almighty), Mr. Belic takes us around the globe in a search for what it means to be happy…and we find it! It is hard to put into words what he has accomplished in this riveting and eye-opening documentary, but we see and feel that true happiness is pretty easy to attain. Do yourself and your loved ones a favor.” 

The exhibition will be on display at Müllerstrasse 64 in Zurich until October 17th 2013 and is available daily during the opening hour of the restaurant from 11 am to 9 pm from Monday through Saturday. Check it out and don’t forget to taste the “best ice cream of Switzerland” as many say…

2012 Spiritual Planetary Summit in Mexico

The 2012 Spiritual Planetary Summit (December 18-23) in Yucatan, Mexico, is the celebration of the closure of the Long Mayan Count, and with this, the end of a cycle where the learning was held by the means of fear and its effects: sorrow, disease and death. It is the end of a long learning of humanity’s soul. It is the celebration of the beginning of a New Planetary Time, where the learning through love shall emerge, and with this, freedom, plenitude, regeneration and life. During the Winter Solstice of 2012, key date of Mayan Wisdom, where the perfect galactic alignment projected powerful rays of christic golden light, transforming rays that penetrate the Planet Earth in order to elevate its vibrational frequency and impulse this humanity and the whole planet into a New Spiral in Time/Space.

The organizers are motivated to generate an authentic spiritual space, where different lines, traditions, schools or leaders of diverse spiritual sides of the world will converge. All within a respectful, loving and integrative coexistence. They wish to contribute with the creation of a more harmonic world, with the instauration of a culture of peace that allows us all to experience the joy of living. We are driven by the creation of a New Humanity, in a better connection with its spiritual essence; in order to inaugurate a New Planetary Time, the Golden Ages.The Spiritual Planetary Summit has the mission of generating an encounter of soaring Spiritual Level in order to generate a vortex of authentic light able to expand the transforming energy of the New Planetary Times. The purpose is of shaping an event of marvelous ecumenical and universal spirituality, on the sacred space where Ancient Maya, in the predestined times to open the gates into a New Age, the Golden Time of Humanity.

In the Spiritual Planetary Summit, a great energy which does emerge a powerful vibrational field where all the participants were to be connected with their divine essence and be capable of absorbing the waves of galactic shines that are currently reaching the Earth. And thereby, we all together achieve to generate a sacred space where the divine light can be present and, from this center, expand it towards every corner of the Earth. The 21st December Ceremony to be held in Uxmal, Yucatan will be performed during the winter solstice with the purpose of being in a mystic synchronization with the mighty galactic rays that enter primarily through the pyramid of AK-HE-NAH-TÚN: spot of maximum injection of galactic energy for Planet Earth. The objectives of the Conference are:

* Setting up the codes of the New Time.
* Creating a powerful space of genuine transformation.
* Bringing the spiritual values to maintain a Consciousness of Unity.

And finally elevating the spiritual consciousness of humanity in order for every human being to be tuned in with its self-Divine Essence and to experience life with harmony, happiness, sake and peace. Within a new respectful peaceful coexistence. This, without any doubt, would take human experience into an upper sphere of existence, where LIFE is a sublime space of harmonic creation and recreation. More info and registration: 2012spiritualplanetarysummit.com.

World Festival of the Heart in Melbourne in 2012

So many truly remarkable things are happening in our world today across the entire spectrum of human endeavour. But it is easy to lose sight of this fact when we wake each day to news of more outbreaks of war, civil unrest, economic challenges, natural disasters and loss of life counted in many hundreds and thousands. We seem to be living in times of great change and uncertainty, marked by substantial issues at both local and global levels and yet at the same time by amazing advances in science, technology, humanity and the arts.

The vision for the World Festival of the Heart is to explore some of these developments in three program-packed days in Melbourne, Australia, on 9, 10 and 11 November 2012. The Festival will bring together some of the foremost world figures in spirituality, the sciences and the arts, to celebrate their work and achievements in a spirit of oneness, openness and enquiry and to participate in their remarkable creativity. Many forums have highlighted these current developments but the organizers wanted to do something a little bit different . . . they don’t just want to talk about them, they want to experience them in as many ways as possible with the power of the heart. Their aim is to create a program full of activities: workshops, music, dialogue, devotions, performance, concerts, an expo and a grand forum. Their hope is to transcend our everyday concerns for three days and explore new dimensions of living and wellbeing. The program is designed for anyone who has a passion for life, the world and our future. These are the three major themes for the Festival to explore the interplay and convergence of these disciplines:

The Great Mystery: life, consciousness and the universe
The Universal Heart: recognising the oneness in diversity of all life
Creative Living: making right choices for a healthy, happy and harmonious life

Some of the program activities and topics will include:

  • “Whole-of-festival” sessions where everyone gets to enjoy the morning in the Plenary Auditorium
  • Facilitated discussions where participants and presenters can share their experiences in smaller groups
  • Workshops to get more “hands-on” with ideas, issues and materials
  • Themes based around “living in the heart”:
    • The Great Mystery: life, consciousness and the universe
    • The Universal Heart: recognising the oneness in diversity of all life
    • Creative Living: making right choices for a healthy, happy and harmonious life
  • “Art from the Heart” exhibition of local and international artists
  • Music-making, performances and concerts throughout the Festival program — stay tuned for announcements
  • Forum for the Future feature event with leading figures sharing their vision for the world and bringing together ideas and inspirations for daily living
  • Special childrens’ and youth program
  • HeartMart Expo featuring ideas, products and services for better living
  • State-of-the-art venue at Melbourne Convention Centre

The full program and schedule will be announced later in 2012. Check out the website: www.festivaloftheheart.org and subscribe to the Newsletter to be up-dated and informed. The organizers of the “World Festival of the Heart” extend an invitation to everyone with an interest in improving happiness, health and wellbeing to attend the Festival. The program will develop exciting ways for people of all ages and interests to participate and interact with our presenters, exhibitors and performers. Invited will be exciting presenters, artists, musicians and elders from around the world to participate in a program that will highlight exciting developments in:

  •   World Festival of the Heart Spirituality — heart-based living
  • The Sciences — cosmology, wholistic health, ethology, environment, nature, quantum physics, technology
  • The Arts — music, literature, visual arts, performance

Tomorrow is the San Francisco Earth Day Festival 2011

New on the Earth Day scene this year is Earth Day San Francisco, happening tomorrow April 23rd: a free public event focused on helping our community take action steps toward creating eco-sustainable solutions to our local and global ecological challenges. This robust new educational festival and multi-cultural entertainment event will keynote pressing environmental issues & promote solution oriented community action. Music, performance and well-known speakers & activists will grace our three stages, Earth Day Main Stage, Speaker’s Stage and Earth Mama Stage. Exhibitions, hands on workshops and solution-based talks on eco-green topics are major components of the event in our Permaculture Zone, Alternative Energy Zone, Holistic Wellness Zone and Youth Zone. Join leading members of the business and indigenous communities, artists and artisans, civic community leaders, local “eco-green” politicians, traditional ceremony keepers, workshop leaders, eco-green & youth activists and environmental & social justice organizations in an inspirational day of hands-on local solutions. Founders of Earth Day SF are Green Zone Productions and One World-One Voice, co-producing the event in cooperation with the National Organization for Women, Living Mandala, Solar Living Institute, Raw Bay Area, Visionary Culture, Sustainable Living Roadshow, and with the support of Harmony Festival, Global Exchange, Earth Island Institute, 350.org, Green Kids, Teens Turning Green, Grind for the Green / Green For All, Hope and Beyond and more.

The public will experience interactive learning and art projects, green jobs info, organic food offerings including a Sustainable Feast Raw Food Chef Demo, organic beer and wine tasting, green film festival, cutting edge eco fashion shows, alternative vehicle showcase and much more! Participants have the opportunity to learn how we can all become more connected by creating solutions to pressing environmental issues and learn to live more sustainable, regenerative and meaningful lifestyles…while having FUN!

Early pictures of Sri Chinmoy

During his lifetime, he was hailed as an apostle of peace and a visionary humanitarian whose simple but powerful programmes inspired millions. An artist, philosopher, poet, athlete and musician, Sri Chinmoy was a renaissance man who channeled his profound creativity into the upliftment of his fellow brothers and sisters. This slideshow consists of early photos of the master, taken in the 1970s.

Raw Spirit Festival in Arizona

The Raw Spirit Festival, a three-day educational inspirational celebration, is happening at spectacular Watson Lake Park, in the Granite Dells of Prescott, Arizona, September 24 – 26th, 2010. This non-profit community event features two main stages – Lake and Meadow – with uplifting musical performers and dynamic health-eco-peace research presenters amidst stunningly-beautiful natural backdrops. In addition, the Cliffside Rejuvenation Area, featuring an eclectic array of yoga, chi kung, tai chi, pranayama, poetry, prayers, meditation and beyond, is perched atop the lakeside cliff with panoramic vistas of the surreal jagged lake, it’s sheer-rock shores and many enticing islands. Meanwhile, delicious, nutritious organic live food demos and tastings are in the Hilltop Pagoda every hour on the hour with sweeping vistas of the surrounding mountains. Plus, enjoy the Children’s Program, Native Cultural Teepee Program, acoustic music areas, spontaneous sharing circles, dancing, hiking, bicycling, canoeing, kayaking, sailing, healing and massage areas,  organic farmers’ market, Raw Talent Show, Job Fair, Open Mike, quiet temple space, and an exciting display of innovative vendors with a focus on healthy living-eco-art-science-music-spirit-peace including an impressive organic gourmet raw vegan restaurant court. Why focus on natural food, exercise, rest, proximity to nature, communication, creativity, spiritual connection and community service? A few of the commonly reported consequences of living a healthy lifestyle, including adding more fresh organic vegetables and fruits into our diets include: increased energy, joy, stamina, laughter, contentment, clarity, immunity, connection, homeostasis, and strength. More info here: www.rawspirit.com

Canada Pavillon in Shanghai focuses on sustainability

The design and construction of the Canada Pavilion at the Shanghai Expo 2010 (until October 31st) reflects Canadian values of inclusivity, sustainability, and creativity. This three-story structure is the product of collaboration between the Government of Canada and Cirque du Soleil, with building expertise from SNC Lavalin. The curved design creates a large public space that encourages interaction and a community feeling. An angled accessible ramp invites visitors beyond the interior courtyard into the pavilion. A 15 metre by 40 metre green wall of evergreen seedlings is a backdrop to the courtyard. In addition to illustrating a universal desire for green space in urban centres, the green wall also operates as a natural bio air filter. The exterior skin of the pavilion is composed of 4000 m2 of Canadian red cedar, certified by the Canada Wood Association and Canada Wood China. This is an important sustainable aspect of the design. The cedar boards are individually fastened to a steel frame, which allows easy dismantling so the wood can be reused in construction projects following Expo 2010.  The Canada Pavilion public presentation offers visitors a feeling of life in a vibrant, diverse, and green Canadian city. Each individual experience is unique. Every journey through the Living City is personalised by visitors’ imagination and creativity, much the way urban lives are shaped by each individual’s decisions and contributions to the city. The animation and interactive elements of the public presentation are complemented by music and a rich soundscape throughout.

As a thoughtful finale to the journey through the Living City, visitors are immersed in a unique cinematic experience created by Canadian film-maker, Jean-François Pouliot and the National Film Board of Canada on a 150-degree screen. Glimpses: A Human View of the Living City pays visual homage to an ordinary day in the life in a Canadian city. A panorama of images takes visitors on an incredible journey across four seasons. These Canadian moments were captured by Serge Clément and Claude-Simon Langlois, who travelled the country with a small crew in order to capture close to 57,000 unstaged images of people and places. The film evokes a personal story, unique to each viewer.

Nick Brandt: Photography Show in Brussels

The Young Gallery, Brussels currently shows the amazing photographic work of Nick Brandt. Here is what the artist writes on his pictures: “Few photographers have ever considered the photography of wild animals, as distinctly opposed to the genre of Wildlife Photography, as an art form. The emphasis has generally been on capturing the drama of wild animals IN ACTION, on capturing that dramatic single moment, as opposed to simply animals in the state of being. I’ve always thought this something of a wasted opportunity. The wild animals of Africa lend themselves to photographs that extend aesthetically beyond the norm of 35mm-color telephoto wildlife photography. And so it is, that in my own way, I would like to yank the subject matter of wildlife into the arena of fine art photography. To take photographs that transcend what has been a largely documentative genre. Aside from using certain impractical photographic techniques, there’s one thing I do whilst shooting that I believe makes a big difference: I get extremely close to these very wild animals, often within a few feet of them. I don’t use telephoto lenses. This is because I want to see as much of the sky and landscape as possible–to see the animals within the context of their environment. That way, the photos become as much about the atmosphere of the place as the animals. And being that close to the animals, I get a real sense of intimate connection to them, to the specific animal in front of me. Sometimes a deliberate feeling that they’re almost presenting themselves for a studio portrait. Why the animals of Africa in particular? And more particularly still, East Africa? There is perhaps something more profoundly iconic, mythical, mythological even, about the animals of East Africa, as opposed to say, the Arctic or South America. There is also something deeply, emotionally stirring and affecting about the plains of Africa – the vast green rolling plains punctuated by the graphically perfect acacia trees. My images are unashamedly idyllic and romantic, a kind of enchanted Africa. They’re my elegy to a world that is steadily, tragically vanishing.” More of his work can be seen at the portfolio page of the gallery who also sells his original prints.

“Lights on” – a visual performance in Linz

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“Lights on” is an audio visual performance created for the Ars Electronica Museum in Linz, Austria, which has a facade that contains 1085 LED controllable windows. The windows’ colors are changed in real-time with music that’s broadcasted on speakers surrounding the building. Visuals are coded in openframeworks by Zachary Lieberman, Joel Gethin Lewis and Damian Stewart, music is by Daito Manabe, with support from Taeji Sawai and Kyoko Koyama. The performance is approximately 10 minutes long. It is an edit. Special thanks to the awesome ars electronica / futurelab crew, (maria, wolfgang, andreas), also Iris Mayer, Carolina vallejo and Rhizomatiks for helping make this possible. also a huge thanks to the technicians of Multivision who helped install the LEDs and made this possible. Some additional info about the install are mentioned here: is.gd/BkP2</p9