The Truth Shall Set You Free: Transformational Freedom of Living retreat led by One World Academy
By Greg Reitman
A few years back I had the opportunity to interview and meet Ananda Giri for my feature documentary film, ROOTED in PEACE, to be released in the Fall of 2016. After an inspirational talk with Ananda, my crew and I left the Malibu Mountains with a sense of awe from this young wisdom teacher who refused to be called a guru. Occasionally I would receive emails from Ananda and One World but thought nothing of it. This August I coincidentally ran into my old friend in an unusual place; at the Feldmar watch store in Beverlywood. As I turned to my side, I noticed my old Indian friend smiling, and coincidentally asking me what it is. I don’t think he meant figuratively either. We smiled at each other remembering our experience in Malibu. He was quite eager to learn how my journey for inner peace was achieved knowing that I had spent five years of my life in the pursuit of making this film. After talking for a few minutes, he cordially invited me to India to visit the One World Academy campus as a participant in the Freedom of Living seven-day meditation retreat.
When I arrived in Chennai, India, it took about two hours to arrive at the One World Academy campus, which lies adjacent to the Bay of Bengal in the southern part of India. I had no expectations for this trip and found myself sitting in a room with twenty-two other individuals who were all aligned with the idea of being happy and finding inner peace. As we all sat in our yoga chairs, we were introduced to the founder of One World Academy, Krishna Ji. I was a bit astonished that he appeared to be no younger than 30 years of age, and spoke quite intelligently. He explained that his self-realization occurred as a very young child, to be exact, 12. He had an epiphany, a life-altering conscious experience in Big Bear Lake, California, which led to the creation of his mission to lead and foster this wisdom education founded as One World Academy.
He began his discussion with three major principles that led to human suffering: 1) obsession of thoughts, 2) self-centric thinking, and 3) the illusionment of separateness. He later concluded with the notion of a higher conscious field, or a Brahman field, that connects us to the life force or the universal field, which he has been able to access, and is accessible to all human-kind. He later explained, that at the end of the class, once we completed the journey, we will all create a new consciousness, that will consist of Great Peace, Great Wisdom, and Great Compassion. I was a bit skeptical in the beginning, but as we approached each day, we were led thru a process of meditations, beginning with the most troubling human condition, that of jealousy, and then proceeding onto anger, contentment, fear, indifference, and other human emotions. He explained that the way to be established in this new consciousness is through repeated application of right wisdom and repeated direct experience (meditation). There are only two states of mind, awareness or unawareness. This was a critical point in understanding my inward journey.
As we continued throughout the days, the meditations would gradually go longer and my ability to focus seemed limitless. My old friend Ananda returned to center stage guiding us through the wisdom teaching and then concluded with a meditation. He explained the idea of an awakened state of consciousness. The first stage one needs to recognize the thought. The second stage one needs to observe the thought, and then third or final stage, one must realize the thought. This was the most profound teaching for me
I knew I was angry, but I could never really discern the root of my anger. Ananda explained, “The psychology of the mind is like a river, a constant river, it never stays the same, constantly arising, and ceasing and moving, never staying complacent.” Thoughts are the same. They come and go all the time. It was here where I had my biggest revelation. I could see for the first time in my awakened self, how my thoughts trigger me. I noticed how they affected me physically, emotionally. I could see how the anger could be all encompassing. I could finally realize the absurdity of these thoughts and how they consumed my life. This was liberating!
As the wisdom teaching expanded, we set a new course for our new consciousness learning the principles of right action and right wisdom. Right action is rooted in awareness observing the entire situation. It is performed from a place of connection. It is not moral or ethical nor does it follow a book. It’s not founded in ideals such as love, equality, justice, or forgiveness. It does not serve oneself. Its action is born of spiritual vision. As your awareness grows, your reactions will slowly dissolve and you will act from a place of awareness. This is a new way of living, the way of right wisdom and compassion. Awareness plus action that emerges from a spiritual vision is right action. It creates a news consciousness that is life-changing and impacts the world.
There were many other wisdom teachings that followed which I highly recommend, but in short, the One World Academy’s biggest gift, is the idea that the truth shall set you free. We are all one. We are all connected. We are all part of this great cosmic universe. Awareness applied with the principles of right action with right wisdom leads to a beautiful state of consciousness and a world worth living.
With gratitude I thank One World Academy and my dear friend Ananda for allowing me to be a participant and sharing this knowledge.
Greg Reitman is an director, producer, writer, and active member of the Director’s Guild of America. Described by Movie Maker Magazine as “one of the top ten filmmakers producing content that impacts our world,” he is the founder of Blue Water Entertainment, Inc., an independent production company.
Greg produced the Sundance Audience Award-winning feature documentary Fuel (“A vital, superbly assembled documentary." -- Gary Goldstein, Los Angeles Times). Fuel played at dozens of film festivals, won numerous awards, was released theatrically and aired on CNBC. It currently streams on Hulu.
Prior to producing Fuel, Greg wrote, produced, and directed the feature documentary Hollywood’s Magical Isle - Catalina (“A charming and nostalgic slice of Americana that beautifully recreates a sense of place.” -- Andrea Harrison, American Public Radio). The award-winning documentary was shown at over a dozen film festivals before being shown nationally on PBS.
His latest film is the feature documentary Rooted in Peace (“Reitman’s authenticity is what makes the film worth seeing!” -- Herbert Paine, Broadway World). The film, which features interviews with many renowned personalities including David Lynch, Ted Turner, Deepak Chopra and Neil Young, has been screened at numerous film festivals including the Hollywood Film Festival, Montreal, and Sedona. A theatrical release is currently planned for Fall 2016.
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This article appears in: 2016 Catalyst, Issue 16: 11 Days of Global Unity & International Day of Peace