On 5th - 7th May, 2009, Hong Kong will be visited by Shivani Vishal Verma
"…engaging, down-to-earth, and spiritual – that’s what 10 million viewers of Indian Cable TV say about her — whether it is a program on Aastha, Sanskar, Sahara, Zee Jagran or Sony TV. Find out why more than 10 million viewers are glued to their TV sets whenever she is on air..."
1. Can you tell us a little about your personal spiritual journey?
I was introduced to the teachings of the Brahma Kumaris (www.bkwsu.org) through my parents. The journey began with the basic Raja Yoga Meditation course which is also known as the Foundation Course.
The main philosophy in Raja Yoga meditation, is to realize our true identity as spiritual beings (or an eternal spirit or soul) expressing through this physical body, and recognizing the true nature of each soul as a peaceful, pure, loveful and blissful being.
This realisation helped me to re-discover and strengthen my inherent worth and thus began the process of spiritual awakening. Raja Yoga helped me to understand the importance of thoughts and feelings as the seeds of actions.
I started to know the Supreme Power, God, as that soul is, and not just as a concept or a belief. This helped to begin develop a living and dynamic relationship with that soul.
Understanding myself and connecting to God started to bring about harmony in my thoughts, words and actions.
It has been 13 years now since I embarked on this spiritual journey and I feel that it just gets beautiful every day and I get to know God even more closely and intensely. I am getting to experience what it is really to be on God’s path and to have that one as my constant companion.
2. Was there a seminal moment where you decided to commit yourself fully to your spiritual path?
There wasn’t any one particular moment but the whole process of realizing my true self and connecting with my true soul mate i.e. God, resulted into a personal relationship with God, and I am fully committed to this relationship to the extent that it is the top priority in my life.
Spirituality is not a separate path, it is a way of life. With Raja Yoga I understood that you do not disconnect from people or work to understand yourself, but it is a process you continue within while performing your roles and responsibilities outside.
So the commitment is internal – an awareness of the self and attention on creating each thought, word and action based on our original nature of peace, love and happiness.
3. Where do you meet God in your daily life?
Everyday at 4:00 am in the morning I sit in silent meditation; this is the time I take out to be exclusively with God. It is an appointment that I have every day. This is followed by the study class, where students gather to learn and reflect on the teachings of the Brahma Kumaris. I feel this is a very special time as I get the opportunity to listen to what God has to say to me for my personal progress.
Also, throughout the day while performing actions I invite that Supreme Power to be with me, just like any other relationship. It’s like using the extra energy in the tasks I perform, so that the performance is of that level or capacity and I am simply an instrument. So, I can meet God anytime. The Supreme Power is just a thought away.
4. How do you combine your IT career with you spiritual path? In particular is there a way that helps you to remember your spiritual practice as you work?
Any work can be done with spiritual awareness.
As I work, every one hour I pause or a moment and remind myself of who I am and stablize myself in my true identity of a peaceful, loveful, joyful soul and connect with God. This helps in maintaining my true awareness throughout the day.
The attention is to meet the challenges, pressures and deadlines without getting disturbed. The awareness that every thought I create develops the environment of the workplace.
5. Do you have tips for reducing stress in our life?
The key belief that keeps most of us stuck in our stress cycles of thought, emotion, action and outcome is the belief that generally runs the world today i.e. "It's not ME, it's THEM! It's not me that makes me feel this way; it's them that makes me feel this way". Actually, no it's not. It's not them, it's me! In other words it is not the event, the other person, the deadline, the environment, the state of world etc that 'causes' your stress, it is how you respond to them. And your response is entirely 100% your responsibility. That means the components of your response i.e. your thoughts, emotions, words and actions, are entirely 100% your creation.
We may have realised that all our stress in life is self-created. We may have realised that our stressful thoughts and feelings are of our own making as we respond to people and events. We may have therefore decided to take full responsibility for our 'ability to respond'. But still certain people and situations are able to 'press our buttons' and we react emotionally, pushing our self off balance again. At this point many give up the process of empowering themselves by restoring self-responsibility, and they revert to old patterns in which they allow the pain that stress is, to habitually recur. But if we can practise recovering our stability we might eventually find our self stress-free in what were previously stress-triggering situations.
This means that when we do react negatively and 'lose the plot' we then take time to sit quietly and centre ourselves. Where there is stress, where there is any form of 'reactivity', it means we are not in control, our emotions are controlling us. There is some form of emotional disturbance, which can be likened to a storm within our consciousness. But if we can learn to return to the centre of our consciousness, to the 'eye of the storm', we will always find our peace and our power. Today that may take 10 minutes, tomorrow 8 minutes, the next day 5 minutes, and so on until one day it becomes natural to stay centred.
Every morning we can practise this and also remind ourselves of the same during the day: Tell the mind very slowly -
1. I am a peaceful being.
2. Peace is my nature.
3. Peace is my property.
4. I like peace.
5. I am a peaceful energy.
6. Today in the whole day, I am going to remain peaceful. Let anything happen, I will not give up my peace.
6. In your spiritual counselling what really helps people to move out of feeling stuck?
One of the deepest patterns which we all learn to create within ourselves is to blame others for what we feel. Many of us seem to spend a large part of our life looking for reasons to be offended. This comes from the deep belief that the world should dance to our tune.
It doesn’t matter what happens, regardless of the nature of the event or the sharpness of the words intended to insult, your response is always your own creation. Someone who has restored their personal power cannot be insulted as they know themselves so well they are unaffected by others negative vision of them.
Once a person realises this, they reawaken within their consciousness, the awareness that they have a choice in their every response. They realize they can maintain a calm, positive, stable attitude, regardless of what happens around them. They then go through a process of self analysis such as:
Question: Why do you blame others, what is the deepest reason?
Reflection: Why are you not accepting responsibility for your mental and emotional suffering? What would the world look like if no one blamed anyone for anything?
Action: What will you do instead of blaming, what do you replace it with? Visualize yourself responding in the above relationships in a positive, proactive way.
7. In Hong Kong everyone seems to be busy continuously. Any suggestions for how to slow down?
In some parts of the world there is famine. But it's not a shortage of food. It's a shortage of time. Time pressure comes when we try to do more in less time, than it would take if we did not create the need to hurry! Time pressure comes when we perceive there is too much to do in a given time. But it's just a perception. The feeling of time pressure is always entirely the result of our own perception.
Time seems to speed up the moment we try to do more, faster. We forget that each one of us has our own natural rhythm of thinking and doing, and we allow the rhythm of others, and the frantic pace of technology, to drag us into the future, hence the frequent feeling that we have no control over our lives.
In reality, time is not a manageable commodity, it has no independent existence. In life there are only events, and events are what define how time passes, and that means that time management is really event management. Most events in our life are other people, or involve other people, which means time management is event management is people management. However we cannot manage other people literally! We can only manage our own response to other people. So time management is nothing but self management.
Time is life is energy. At every moment we have the choice of how we spend/use the time/energy of our life. That choice begins in our heads, with our own thoughts and feelings. If we spend our time in front of the TV is this a good use of our time and energy? If we spend time just thinking about others all the time, is this a good use of our life? If we spend our time complaining and blaming others, is this the best use of our time and therefore our energy and therefore our life? If we spend the time gossiping about others is this a good use of our time? Can you see how easily we allow time, and therefore our life, to slip away, without using it in the most fruitful way.
Tips: Everyday morning meditation for at least 20 minutes, a minute of silence every hour and 15 minutes before going to sleep – these simple practices will cleanse your mind of all wasteful and negative thoughts and keep only the necessary and positive thoughts.
8. How can we live more conscious lives?
A few moments of reflection reminds us that everything we create in our life from the relationships we form to the work that we perform, begin as thoughts/decisions within our consciousness. The inner skills of 'self-management' are many. But on a day to day basis, when faced with the onslaught of a thousand influences, all vying for our attention, many seeking to shape our lives for us, these two skills are probably the most important to get started.
Detachment does not mean we don't care about what is going on in the world, or that we avoid what is coming to us from the world. Detachment does not mean coldness or hardness. It just means we learn to stand back and observe for a moment where before we would have allowed ourselves to be instantly sucked in to the dramas of others. Detachment gives us that 'space of time' to create a measured response and not be overruled by a habitual reaction. It allows us to check our perception of what is coming to us and what is happening around us. And that can be as simple as seeing a situation as a problem or as an opportunity.
This inner observational ability, sometimes known as 'detached involvement', means the world ceases to crowd our mind and randomly shape our thoughts and feelings. In learning to take time to just be watchful prior to the creation of our decisions and actions we can see with a deeper awareness, think with greater concentration and make our decisions with greater clarity.
In the age of information overload it becomes essential to filter out what is of value and what is not. We find it hard to remember what was in the newspaper or on TV two days ago simply because it had no value to us. Discerning what has value, which usually turns out to be very little, helps us not to waste time and energy. So much of the information that catches our attention 'out there' is simply stories of others lives, a form of local or global gossip, which we don't need to know. By filtering out only that which is truly of value to us and not consuming or being consumed by it, we help our self to remain mentally fresh, emotionally stable and use our time and energy in the most worthwhile way.
Take a moment to sit quietly and become aware of your self. Exclude all external stimuli as much as possible for just a moment. Ignore all internal chatter and any emotional waves that may pass through you, and just … notice. Just observe. Become aware. Self-aware. You will notice two things. One is your self, not as an object but as a being that exists. Simply existence. Pure awareness. Nothing more. Notice how every thing and every one in your life comes and goes. But you always remain. And you may also notice the primary and natural impulse of the being that you are, is to create a connection with others. It is to generate thoughts and actions with the purpose of connecting to others.
9. How can we affect the environment for the better?
Our thoughts have an effect on the external environment. When the turmoil inside our minds will settle down and peace will prevail, the same would be reflected in our external environment. So, if we constantly remain peaceful and positive we are contributing in creating a better environment.
10. Is there anything else you would like to mention?
Let’s not miss this chance of experiencing a beautiful relationship with our Supreme Parent our true soul-mate, who is the only one who can give us everything that we are looking for.
For more information about events with Sr Shivani or the Raja Yoga Foundation Course in Asia, please email
The Hong Kong events will be:
Exploring Inner Powers
Tuesday 5th May, 11:00am–1:00pm (in English)
Venue: Parc Palais, L-5 Club House, Function Room, 18 Wylie Road, Kowloon
Enquiries: 9800 3000 or 9056 8375 or 6681 0651
Wednesday 6th May, 10:00am–2:30pm (in English)
Venue: Estoril Court, 55 Garden Road, Mid-levels
Enquiries: 9459 9070 or 9755 3261 or 9056 8375
Facing Challenges in the Time of Uncertainty
Wednesday 6th May, 7:30pm–9:00pm (in English)
Venue: Tsim Sha Tsui Community Hall (Kai Fong), 136A Nathan Road, Kowloon
Enquiries: 6581 1982 or 9490 0371