Diversity and Spirituality

Now what does Diversity has to do with Spirituality? Is there a connection? If so what it is? To know this, first we have to understand the meaning of Diversity

The literal meaning of Diversity is “A range of different things”. Now, what are these different things?

Different race and ethnic people riding the subway
Does diversity means different color, race religion?

Of course these differences are part of diversity, which defines an individual. These differences are at the gross level and I call these Hard differences

But diversity is not just related to color, race, religion but it is also the difference in Philosophy, Life style, Opinions, Thoughts, Political ideas, Social strata. I call these Soft differences.

The Hard differences are difficult or impossible to change. While the Soft differences constantly changes according to time and place.

For example lets say an Indian immigrated to United states may alter his/her culture and change the clothing style, festival they celebrate because of the change in the country of residence. Lets take another example. Lets look into rise of communism and capitalism. The ideology of people changed in different times and created the rise of communism and capitalism at different times. In the same manner subtle differences like ideas, concepts, opinions and thoughts among people also keeps changing according to time and place.

After a long time my current employer decided to run Diversity training across all branches of company. I had no option but to attend this training :-). Surprisingly this time training wasn’t just talking about tolerating the difference. I noticed a shift in the way our corporation is handling the diversity topic. This time company was embracing and appreciating the differences. That rang a bell about what I learned from Art Of Living Happiness program about “Accepting People” and “Accepting Situations”. The training was talking exactly about that but in corporate terms. In different situations how to Accept and Appreciate the differences.

This was nothing new for me as I have been learning and practicing this in Art Of Living programs. I learned that accepting people and situations when there is difference makes you centered and helps you make right decisions. It helps you to respond rather than react. By accepting the situation you will gain enormous strength to deal with the situation rather than tolerating and loosing the strength eventually or avoiding the situation completely.

The diversity training at work was providing a frame work on taking different steps to move from avoiding the differences to accepting and appreciating the differences. It talked about awareness activity and how there is huge ROI for the company if differences are appreciated. It emphasized on talking in a positive tone, redirect thinking with alternative perspective and apply the alternate behavior. But something I noticed that was lacking in this whole training is the tool to attain the state of acceptance and appreciation. Whenever there are differences in the ideas, concepts, opinions and thoughts between the different parties. The usual emotions are anger, sadness, dejection, hatred, lack of interest and depression. How can someone create a positive tone? How can someone come up with alternative approach and apply that alternate approach? when they are going through these bundle of negative emotions. How can someone become aware that they are going through these bundle of negative emotions without any tangible tools?

I feel so grateful for learning these tools (Sudarshan Kriya breathing technique) from Art Of Living. Now it has ingrained in my system to naturally accept and appreciate the differences.

The corporate training I attended missed one of the core concept of appreciating difference. That is LOVE. The founder of Art Of Living Sri Sri Ravi Shankar says “We are all made up something called LOVE”. Only through LOVE can one overcome the differences and move into the state of appreciation and embrace the differences. Eastern philosophies always embraced the differences hence the saying goes

Different creeds are but different paths to reach the same Divine

But having practicing these tools and techniques one can tap into the inner source of love and happiness and can naturally embrace the differences.

Does diversity means