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From Almost to Heaven – a Boon(e)


Almost heaven, Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah River, Country Roads, Take me home, To the place I belong… As a youngster who grew up in Bangalore humming the classic country music of late John Denver, little did I know I would actually have a home in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

The mountains of West Virginia were “Almost Heaven” to Denver. If Denver were to be  in our midst, he would have known what “heaven” truly is.

The Blue Ridge mountains of North Carolina have come to life and truly turned into a “heaven” with the inauguration of International Centre for Meditation and Well Being in Boone, on June 30, 2012. Enjoy the story and pictures of the Centre tucked in the lap of the Blue Ridge Mountains:

The International Center for Meditation and Well Being in Boone

The gala inauguration of the International Center for Peace and Well-Being, was led by Gurudev His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankarji.  Sri Sri was joined by leaders from Christian, Buddhist, Hindu and Jewish communities.

Inauguration of the International Center for Meditation and Well Being in Boone

In the inaugural address, Gurudev shared His vision of “One World Family.” He said, “It has been the dream of many to open a place like this in the United States where people can discover how beautiful they are on the inside through the beauty of nature. This Center will tend to each individual’s physical, mental and spiritual needs and turn tears to smiles, dullness to creativity and hatred to love. It is a place where reason becomes sharper, faith becomes deeper .”

Gurudev at Navagraha Homa during inaugral celebrations at Art of Living Boone Ashram

The story of this stunning Centre sprawling across 381 acres is dotted with miracles.

Apartment Kutirs at Boone Ashram

It seems, the Art of Living Foundation initially couldn’t get the property since it could not offer the highest bid at the auction of this place. Gurudev told the US team led by Nilendu ji not to be disheartened and to keep their sankalpa (intention) strong.  Miraculously, the highest bidder defaulted on the terms of the purchase and as the second highest bidder the Art of Living was able to get the property in October 2011.

Gurudev’s Kutir at Boone Ashram

Renovating the numerous buildings at the site seemed an impossible job in the beginning. But miraculously, the weather turned mild, the local contractors went out of the way to support Nilenduji’s team and the impossible became possible in just six months!

Beautiful view of the International Center for Meditation and Well Being in Boone

Keeping in with the tradition of the other international Art of Living Centres in India, Canada, Germany, the Boone International Centre is likely to generate more than estimated $7.2 million in economic impact on the local economy during its first year of operation.

The Dining Hall at Boone Ashram can serve up to 3000 people at one time.

The Boone Ashram is a real boon.  It is the most beautiful home for  world-wide seekers of inner peace, that forms the basis for long-lasting outer peace.

The Ashram itself started with the most wonderful boon – that of hosting Guru Poornima 2012 on July 3rd in the presence of beloved and venerable Gurudev.

Gurudev doing Guru Puja during Guru Purnima 2012 celebrations at Boone Ashram

Gurudev with devotees at Boone Ashram

Here is the amazing video of Guru Purnima 2012 with Gurudev at Boone Ashram:

Wishing you a Himalayan Experience in the Blue Ridge Mountains!

Address: 639 Whispering Hills Road, Boone, North Carolina, United States
Web page: http://www.artofliving.org/us-en/boone
Email: boone@us.artofliving.org

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Posted by on July 14, 2012 in About Art of Living, Yoga and Meditation

 

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Inner Journey!!!


Kids are always fun and are all smiling. They are very generous with their 1000-watt smiles. Smiles work wonders!

Yes, kids will grow up while smiling less and less, and some eventually stop smiling, appearing all business-like. Like the ones that have already grown up and are now college-going teenagers or have graduated and have taken up jobs somewhere just like ME.

I used to wonder – why do we smile less as we grow up? Why is it that we have made our smile so expensive like Petrol? 😉 A smile certainly meant a lot more once i grew up!

Smiling and Frowning faces

Everybody, whether he/she believes in God or not, lives for happiness. Is there anyone who does not like to be happy at all? We build big bank balances, invest in stocks and shares, mutual funds or property, etc , because we do not want to be in trouble. Trouble only induces sadness. So dukha-nivritti is nothing but sukha. This samsara goes on in a quest to be happy.

A big smile!

I always believed that making people laugh (LOL’s and ROFL’s) was easy and it is a lot more difficult to bring on smiles. Can we bring on the smiles on the faces of people who are suffering, neglected and deprived, I used to ask myself?

YES!!!!, was the answer. There are people who are doing just that.

On a lovely weekend, it was a privilege to take the Art Of Living Part 1 Course. Not in search of peace, not to forget the stress but just to give company to my friend. After the Sudarshan Kriya, a feeling of happiness and a BIG SMILE was pasted on my face, and I don’t know from where. I was in a different world. No thoughts, no tensions… A genuine smile was on my face. Realised that – A genuine smile can come only when one’s inner journey starts. (Sadhana, Seva and Satsang)

On Last day of the course, I met my Gurudev, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji for the first time. He smiled and spoke to me as though HE knew me from ages.

Gurudev says – “When you wake up every morning, look into a mirror and give yourself a good smile. The smile is the sacred gift of life.”

As a kid/teenager, I used to experience Happiness by eating an ice cream/chocolate, by watching movies and freaking out with friends. But this ananda/happiness had a ‘vikara’ i.e. it depended upon other person or an object which is not permanent.

After undergoing Sudarshan Kriya, I felt my mind lighter, calmer and filled with peace and love. Guru’s love is deep and everlasting. Guru loves everyone unconditionally.

In today’s age of anxiety, stress, tension and excessive competition, it is extremely necessary to live a Spiritual Life (of Prayer, Surrender and Meditation). I feel extremely lucky and blessed to have a Living Satguru in my life.

Love & Pranaams

Ashwin Belagodu

 

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