Demystifying spirituality

Posted on: Saturday, March 16, 2013


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He’s the son of a Holocaust survivor, a former advertising executive at Ogilvy and Mather, a founding member and a former president of the US Art of Living and the CEO of the corporate training division of the International Association for Human Values. Meet Michael Fischman, the author of a multiple-award winning spiritual memoir, Stumbling Into Infinity: An Ordinary Man In The Sphere Of Enlightenment, which was released here recently.
The book, written in an autobiographical format, chronicles Fischman’s wide-ranged experiences with Sri Sri Ravishankar, the founder of the AoL foundation, and with whom he has been associated since 1979.

Question him on his multi-faceted personality and the link between his career and spirituality.  Pat comes the reply, “Spirituality is a way of life; one could be in any profession and yet maintain a spiritual outlook. The more spiritual you are, the more natural you become.”

He also reveals that the urge to get a better understanding of spirituality and answer the questions over human existence were some of the early catalysts for him to write the book.  Stumbling Into Infinity is a silver award winner at the 2012 Nautilus Book Awards, as well an Eric Hoffer Award winner and an award-winning finalist in the 2011 USA Book Awards.
Accolades have poured in from literary circles as well, from noted motivational speaker Deepak Chopra, and best-selling authors Carol Kline and Philip Goldberg to name a few.

It was an experience early in the author’s childhood that arose curiosity about the spiritual realm in him. At the age of 5, he experienced an apparition of his grandfather visiting him. “I also wanted to know about intriguing experiences such as what happens to life after death,” he says.
The author also adds that he wanted to highlight the importance of the Guru Parampara, a concept central to Indian philosophy, through his experiences with Sri Sri Ravishankar. “Much like the dialogue between Lord Krishna and Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita,” Fischman – an orthodox Jew who grew up in New York – adds in a lighter vein.

Unconditional love, Fischman states, was what stood out in his experiences with his guru. “There are also those who claim to have seen him for only a moment, and feel this quality of his as therapeutic.”
He adds that Sri Sri was the one to help him restore a troubled relationship with his father, following which his filial ties harmonised. “I feel that I have been sent to him to obtain a greater insight to life. He has been a great emotional and mental stabiliser.”
Awards apart, the public response to the book took Fischman by surprise. “Following the book’s release, I’ve had random people contacting me to state that they identified themselves very much with the book. They have admitted that the book’s content struck a chord with them,” the author narrates. He adds that people have claimed it to be entertaining and inspirational.

His experience as a teacher of courses at the AoL Foundation, which also involved teaching the rhythmic breathing technique Sudarshan Kriya, played an influence in his career. At a book release function later in T Nagar, he admitted Sri Sri had told him that the conversations between them were meant to be read and understood by many.
Talking about his experiences with Sri Sri, Fischmann reminisced how he developed cold feet at being invited by an organisation in Mangalore to deliver a guest talk. “I was nervous; I instantly met Sri Sri and asked which speech of his I should memorise for the occasion,” which elicited peals of laughter from the audience.

Source: Indian Express

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